Sidney Lea Le Bour


2019. For a minute and a half, in total darkness and at a speed of 4 m/s, the elevator slide along the rocky and saline walls. When it stops, a long gallery streaked with red and gray appears. Dressed with orange helmets and military vests, a small group is taking it at a good step. These odd people are the patients of the Belaruskali hospital, in the Belarusian city of Soligorsk.

In the distance, a group of volleyball enthusiasts, resonates the corridors of the mine. This salt mine, 420m underground, is inhabited. People with asthma or chronic bronchitis stays here regularly to treat their breathing problems. The air having therapeutic properties, they are advised to multiply the sports activities to take full advantage of the benefits of this unusual environment.

Billiards, ping-pong, gymnastics: each artery has its specificity. There is even dormitories. Natalia, Svetlana and Natasha, roommates, drink tea while Artyom, 10, revises his chemistry classes in one of the parallel alcoves. Artyom, asthmatic, is spending ten days in this infrastructure, accompanied by his mother, in the hope that his crises diminishes.

In addition to their daily stays underground, patients can enjoy a number of treatments and therapies on the surface in a surprising Soviet decor with old-fashioned charm.