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Story of Zheleznovodsk started in 19th century, when famous Russian doctor F. Gaaz discovered two mineral springs on a slope of Zheleznaya mountain. A legend tells that first pool with healing water had been built in 1797 by local military authority. In 1812 first group of patients from various Russian regions came there, seeking for recovery. Newcomers dwelled in huts due to the lack of houses. Food was cooked on fire.

Soon after a house was built near the spring, hurdle bath construction was erected, and later several wooden buildings appeared near it. After famous academician A. Neluybin was appointed to head studies of mineral springs, his assistants confirmed necessity of developing recreation activities in this region.

In 1828 special committee gave names to all mineral springs of the area and settlements near them. In 1830s a first street near Zheleznaya mountain appeared and was called Kursovaya. During following ten years several families of military men arrived to the springs to protect patients from aggressive locals and to shelter them. Their settlement was named Zheleznovodsk. Soon after the settlement acquired three wooden bathhouses, two hurdle baths, two pavilions with five rooms and a roofed gallery for walking in nasty weather.

Many eminent Russians visited the resort: poets Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and many others. First scientific description of Caucasian mineral waters appeared in middle of 19th century and was compiled by F. Batalin, who described 24 springs and gave their temperature and location classification.

Between 1863 existing bathhouses were rebuilt using stone materials. Two wooden houses near the Spring No. 1 were reconstructed for hosting guests, pharmacy, telegraph services and a room for spring keeper. First water line appeared in 1865. Following year is notable for stone Soldier baths, built for military inferiors. A koumiss drink (fermented mares milk) tavern was also built for this purpose a horde of milk mares was kept near it. Koumiss was recommended with hot mineral water.

The end of 19th century brought changes to the resort a railway was built, connecting Mineralnye Vody station with Kislovodsk. Trains brought many visitors. City authorities developed and realized terrain-resort project many walking lanes for pedestrians.

The resort continued developing, and new mineral springs were discovered. In 1914 first Russian spring with hot hydrocarbonate-sulfate mineral water was open to the public. Water temperature reached +50 degrees Centigrade and originated from 120 m depth.

First World War stopped development of Caucasian resorts, and all works on laying rails, water pipes and sewage were postponed. Zheleznovodsk fell to desolation, and its population dropped significantly. In 1920 Zheleznovodsk gained city status and opened several sanatoriums for children. More sanatoriums (eight) opened in 1927-1928. Many guests arrived to the city for improving their health. Zheleznovodsk became balneological and drinking resort in addition to climatic health resort status.




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