Cover Osteuropa 1/2007

In Osteuropa 1/2007

The Russian Banya under Communism
Aleksandr Nikol’skii’s Leningrad Baths

Per Brodersen

Deutsche Fassung


Between 1927 and 1930, the constructivist architect Aleksandr Nikol’skii built two public bath complexes in Leningrad. Although the Bol’sheviki wanted to break with the pre-revolutionary past, the communal economic office decided to build ur-Russian banyas. Compared with their predecessors, however, the buildings showed clear differences in function and shape. The minimalist allocation of space and the sober atmosphere express Soviet cultural ideals. These banyas thus represent a rejection of traditional leisure culture and banya mysticism.

(Osteuropa 1/2007, pp. 85–96)