The mineral springs resort of Băile Govora, in southwestern Romania’s Vâlcea county, is working to transform itself yet again into an attractive tourist destination. The resort, which was very popular with local tourists before 1989, has attracted EU funds to refurbish its urban infrastructure and one of the hotels, Startupcafe.ro reported.
The history of the resort goes back to the 19th century and the establishment of the first balneal facilities in between 1887 and 1889. The site drew attention with its mineral springs, recommended for a variety of ailments. The first bath construction had 20 cabins and two pools, and was inaugurated in July 1889, when the resort also saw the introduction of public lighting based on petrol lamps.
Various private investors built properties in the area, and the resort developed overall as a public park and a boulevard were set up, a cinema opened and a new baths pavilion was constructed. By 1913, Băile Govora had more than 1,300 rooms available to accommodate guests in hotels, villas or peasant houses. In 1928, Govora was declared an urban commune and two years later, a town.
The properties in the resort were nationalized after 1948, and workers’ clubs, a sport field, a camping, and new blocks of flats were built under the communist regime.
The December 1989 revolution marked the beginning of a period of decline for the resort, as the local balneal tourism industry struggled with unsuccessful privatizations and a significant drop in visitors. Most of the tourists used to come through workers’ unions arrangements, a system that fell apart after 1990.
Starting with 2002 the offer began to diversify, and wellness spa treatments were added to the balneal treatment ones. After Romania joined the EU in 2007, the town applied for EU funding to improve its tourist offer, Startupcafe.ro reported.
As such, a project with a total value of RON 27.24 million (EUR 5.8 million) covered development works such as the building of alleys and the refurbishment of lanes in the resort, the refurbishment of a fountain, the building of a small, 542 sqm amphitheater, or the building of six pedestrian bridges over the river Hința. The funds became available through the Regional Operational Program 2007 – 2013. The non-refundable financing amounted to RON 22.32 million (EUR 4.8 million), while the financing from the local budget stood at some RON 450,000 (EUR 96,775).
At the same time, the historical Palace Hotel (pictured) was refurbished, also with EU funds.
The building of the hotel combines three architectural styles: Art Nouveau on the levels one to three, eclectic at the semi-basement and ground level, and Neo-Romanian at levels four to six.
The hotel was refurbished with RON 17.6 million (EUR 3.7 million), out of which the non-refundable financing amounted to RON 6.8 million (EUR 1.4 million). As part of the refurbishment project, 132 rooms were classified as four-star, a spa facility was refurbished, as were the restaurant and two conference halls.
For those planning to add the resort to their travel list, another tourist attraction close to Băile Govora could be of interest, namely the One Wood Monastery.
(Photo: Baile Govora Spa Facebook Page)