Stefan Stojanović : Asylum Kovin – The last stop for many who have nowhere to go


The special neuropsychiatric hospital “Kovin”, founded in year 1924. is the largest and oldest health care center for mental illness in Serbia.  This forgotten city is the only sanctuary for about 300 patients that spend their days in some of the hospital departments, where living conditions can be defined as inhuman or degrading. High ceilings. Moist and absorbent walls covered in mold. The corridors stink on the urine. Windows and doors that can not be closed. Lack of natural and artificial light, insufficient ventilation… are just a part of everyday conditions in which psychiatric patients in Serbia are treated. – In terms of room and hygiene capacity, some rooms have up to 30 beds. One boiler heats water for 80 patients, because if two are on, the system shuts down, so everybody gets a liter of water to bathe.  Some of the patients are living “behind bars”, separated from the other Asylum inhabitants. Room for visits is open every day until 6PM, but most of the time it is empty. Few visitors come to bring groceries to the “privileged patients”, the ones that are situated in renovated private facility called the “Norwegian”. 


Text/Photo: Stefan Stojanović