The terms balneology and balneotherapy are derived from the Latin word balneum (plural balnea). In Ancient Rome “balnea” was used for the public baths buildings, where Romans used not necessarily only mineral water. However today “balneotherapy” refers specifically to the use of natural subterranean mineral waters. 

Evidences for the use of mineral waters on the territory of Bulgaria date back to hoary antiquity  (prehistoric ages). The biggest bloom in warm and hot mineral waters use took place during Thraco-Roman period (4-5 century a.d.). This was the period when balneological buildings were the milestones of the rise of balneological towns at that time, numerous remnants of which can be seen nowadays  in Sofia (ancient Serdica), Hisar (ancient  Augusta), Kiystendil (ancient  Pautalia), Sandanski (ancient  Dezudava) etc.

There are around 160 significant mineral waters on the territory of Bulgaria. Warm and hot waters prevail, followed by hypothermal waters. The hottest (100° С) mineral water gushes out from the spring «Gazer» in Sapareva bania. Cold  mineral waters are rare – only 1%  from the overall hydromineral flow.

Weakly mineralized (83%) waters are prevalent in the country. They include not only akratotherms, but also significant number of radon, hydrogen sulphide, silicon and fluorine waters. Most uncommon are carbon waters. A number of chloride and sulphide waters are at the same time iodine-bromine mineral waters. Some sulphate waters are in the same time iron rich and arsenic waters.

The prevailing part of mineral waters is with low solidity, which is a very favourable drinking water property.
Bulgarian mineral waters are characterised with various chemical composition, mineralization, temperature, gases and microorganisms. Bulgaria ranks among first in hydrothermal waters variety and bioclimatotherapy.

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