April 25, 2013

Interesting Architecture in Rogaska Slatina (Slovenia)

Hotel in Rogaska Slatina (street side)
Rogaska Slatina is a well known Spa in eastern Slovenia. Usually touristic pictures from Rogaska Slatina show some belle epoque clinics and wellness centers and would not really grab my attention. But when I ran into this old postcard from the 70's of Hotel Donat I became curious....

An new picture from Hotel Donat (garden side) from here
The Hotel still loos like a huge concrete boat and the brutalist facade was preserved. Just added housing technology and sunshades were added on the roof. Also the interiors have been renovated and is now a wellness Hotel (Grand Hotel Donat)

Cultural Center of Rogaska Slatina from here

Also the Cultural center of this Spa town got my attention: a cluster of octagonal buildings with mint green facades!  Rather daring but interesting!

A floor plan of the complex

In the Spa complex the medical center with the drinking hall (Rogaska Slatina is wellknown for its magnesium rich spa water) are another interesting buildings.
The overhauled condition of the structure needs a renovation but the starting situation is good: a neat modernist ensemble.
Maribor based architects from Styria Arhitektura d.o.o. made an inspiring suggestion in 2011 for a make over. A pergola and outdoor pools will be also added. I like that the existing vibe of the architecture will not be lost, it will be just slightly adapted.
What follows are the before/after pictures of the Styria architects (from the architects website):

Medical Center Rogaska Slatina today
Medical Center Rogaska Slatina proposition

See also a good renovation of a mid-century hotel in my post of Hotel Avala in Budva (Montenegro)

April 6, 2013

Stara Planina Mountains

Stara Planina

The Stara Planina (that means old mountains) is a part of the Balkan mountain range and lays in Eastern Serbia on the border with Bulgaria. The Balkan range runs 560 km from Vrška Čuka Peak on the border between Bulgaria and eastern Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea.

The Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna, and also with steep cliffs, the highest waterfalls in the Balkan peninsula and lush vegetation. 

Geologically, the Balkan Mountains is a 'young' part of the Alp-Himalayan chain which stretches across most of Europe and Asia. 

It can be divided into two parts: the main Balkan Chain and the Pre-Balkans to the north, which intrude slightly into the Danubian Plain. 

On top of the Serbian part is this rock called "Babin Zub" (Grandmother's Teeth).

The surrounding are part of a ski recreational area in winter and full of nice hiking trails in summer.

I just took a few pictures while cruising around. I arrived by night at Babin Zub's Hotel after a drive through dark roads and the navigation telling that theres nothing further along. I really had no idea were I landed. 

The next day I was surprised with a nice scenery while driving to see the newly errected just opened Hotel Stara Planina.

Also the new Hotel was a pleasant surprise, instead of an overstated giant facility with no relation to the surrounding, the building looks solidly adapted to the rough mountain setting from the outside and the interior is appropriately stylish.

After visiting the area in summer, I now would like to visit the area in winter. 

Eastern Serbian mountains are as beautiful as the Western Serbian mountain (I wrote about those mountains here in my posts about the unique National Park Tara "Best travel tips for Serbia - TARA/KOPAONIK" and "Tara National Park in Western Serbia", the Ethno Village Sirogonjo "Etno Selo - Sirogonjo", the posts about the Zlatibor region: "More Ethno in Zlatibor", "Mokra Gora" and Ethno Village Mecavnik "Kusturica made it!".