Traditionally famous for its unique historical and cultural places, Azerbaijan does not lack in terms of the scope or scale of health and wellness tourism offerings. It is famous for its resorts, medicinal muds, Naftalan oil, and salt caves. Azerbaijan is also home to the world famous Istisu, Qalaalti, Naftalan and Duzdag recreational resorts.
With its rich natural resources – mineral waters and mud – some of which are considered a remedy for many diseases, Azerbaijan is cementing its reputation as the healing hub of the region.
Minerals in the water, medicinal oils and mud, and world-class resorts beckon wellness tourists to the country.
Azerbaijan offers sanatoriums and hotels with a focus on health, including services for balneal and mud therapy. Azerbaijan hosts half of the world’s discovered mud volcanoes – 400 of them. The Dashgil area is wonderfully isolated and atmospheric. There’s a wide variety of regularly active mud volcanos with features ranging from the gentle to grand bursts of mud bubbles, and gurgling mud pools.
Naftalan is a unique health resort of international importance as it is the only healing naphthalene oil field in the world. Naftalan, a rare naphthenic oil that in its appearance scarcely differs from conventional industrial oils, has a unique chemical composition that affords it exceptional therapeutic qualities.
Gabala is one of Azerbaijan’s foremost resort towns. It builds on a beautiful landscape with an exceptional range of upmarket and affordable hotels. Activities are aplenty, including quad biking, skiing, hiking, skating, paintball, bowling, horse rides, spas and shooting, and visitors can choose from several fabulous swimming pools. Mountain waterfalls, large forests and the magnificent Caucasus Mountains make Gabala an ideal place for relaxation in summer, while during winter Gabala offers winter sports such as skiing and snowmobiling
Since ancient times, mineral waters have been widely used for medicinal and preventive purposes in Azerbaijan. Currently, there are more than 30 deposits of thermal mineral waters with different concentrations, sulphur levels and organic substances in the Greater Caucasus. Three of them are located in Gabala.
The Yengija and Gamarvan thermal springs are popular for their therapeutic value not only in Azerbaijan, but also in neighbouring countries, and function at the moment as resorts with hot springs.
Located 122 km from Baku, Qalaalti is a small village on the border of the Siyazan and Shabran regions and is considered one of the most authentic and attractive health resorts in Azerbaijan. Qalaalti is in a region which is rich in mineral waters, mud volcanoes and oil. It is also a place where ‘naftsu’ comes out from the bowels of the earth.
According to the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), a new source of naftsu or ‘oily water’ was discovered at Galaalti in 1969 in picturesque woodlands located 20km from the centre of Shabran. Naftsu is the only medicinal water in the world with a raised content of organic substances originating in oil, such as ether soluble organic compounds, phenols containing hydrocarbons, volatile organic acids and humus.
The water from Qalaalti, which is strong in both taste and smell, can only be drunk at the source, as the water doesn’t travel or store well. The water is low in minerals, but high in organic compounds, and has a very complex structure, as a result of which it has a unique physiological impact on the human body. It is thought to prevent early ageing, reduce inflammation, and re-balance metabolism, but its main use is in the treatment of urolithiasis (the formation of stones anywhere in the urinary tract). Qalaalti’s water also reduces and prevents the formation of kidney and gallbladder stones.
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