THIS PRE-REVOLUTIONARY (built 1905) hospital primarily treated cases of consumption. Razliv is a little town on the Gulf of Finland. The fresh breeze off the water has historically made the area a popular spot for different resorts and sanatoriums.

The hospital fell into ruin in the early 1970’s and—despite a later attempt by an eccentric Doctor Sokolov to turn it into his private clinic—has stayed that way. Dr. Sokolov managed only to do a little roof repair and to build part of a very ambitious wall around the building before going bust. Strangely enough, this wall has since practically vanished. I imagine it was used as building materials by the locals, something which happens frequently with ownerless buildings in Russia.

The 1997 film “Purgatory” (“Chistilishche”) was shot here, with the building standing in for a hospital complex in Chechnya during the worst of the fighting. The movie is pretty poor, but through all the explosions you can see that just a few years ago the hospital had several architectural features (such as floors) which it now lacks. At that time the building still had some of its original doors and windows, which were made from diamond-shaped sections of glass and were very nice looking. Most of the vehicles blown up in the movie are still scattered around the hospital grounds.


Location: Russia / St. Petersburg / Razliv

Photography: Summer 2001, Summer 2002