The lofty resort epitomized the Soviet concept of holidaying, reconciling the idea of vacation with the productivity of the homo sovieticus. Rest was valued — it was enshrined in the 1922 labour code as well as in the 1936 constitution, which guaranteed citizens the “right to rest.”
Diane P. Koenker, Professor of History at the University of Illinois, who has written extensively about the concept of holidaying in the USSR stated that, “the Soviet vacation did not provide an escape from the mobilization of citizens toward the common goal; from its beginning it was a continuation of that mobilization by other means.”
Resting was healthy, therapeutic, and purposeful — an annual sojourn was needed to recover from the hard work and to reinvigorate body and mind of the Soviet labouring person. Workers would vacation in the sanatoria once a year - bathing under the sun or in thermal waters, wrapped in detoxifying mud, or vigorously rubbed for a therapeutic massage. All under the vigilance of doctors who would also make sure the food was nutritious.
“Rest homes and health resorts would become “workshops for the repair of toilers,” notes Koenker, “offering structured rest and medical therapies that would allow workers to recover their strength and energy for the work year to come.”
Health for the body and, less so, the soul, was important, hence not only pure rest, but also medical support. The Romans forged the concept of balneotherapy, from the Latin balneum, bath, as the treatment of diseases by plunging in natural mineral springs — the Soviets shaped it around its Marxists principles.