Expensive and cheap thermal water in Lankaran
Everyone can afford to come to the rehabilitated Soviet sanatoria in Azerbaijan
Lankaran District is situated at the foot of the Talish mountains in south Azerbaijan. Surrounded by the mountains and the Caspian Sea, the district is famous for its thermal water. The Isti Su ("hot water") sanatorium and the Ibadi Isti Su ("Ibadi hot water") recreation center have operated here since Soviet times.
The village with seven springs and two sanatoria
Both sanatoria are situated in the village of Haftoni, which, translated from Talish, means "seven springs". Local residents call thermal water from these springs "wonder water" and believe that it can resolve all of their health problems.
The village does not look any different from a regular Azerbaijani village. You will not find souvenir shops here. Local residents grow crops and keep domestic animals.
“We have known since ancient times that there are hot medicinal springs in Lankaran. In Soviet times, there was a sanatorium here in which tourists from Russia and other republics holidayed. People arrived here to receive treatment for their illnesses, joint pain, rheumatism. There were separate pools for men and for women," says local resident Zabil Najafov.
Isti Su opened in 1958. In 1974, a four-story building was built in the area to house the sanatorium. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Isti Su sanatorium kept operating until 2010. To be exact, local residents continued to use the pool, into which thermal water continued to flow. In October 2018, a new nine-story Lankaran hot spring and health center opened in the place of the sanatorium.
“Top-level” expensive services at Isti Su
Isti Su is currently guarded, and you will be sure to be asked about the purpose of your visit at the entrance. The main building resembles a ship that sails through greenery. In the lobby, there is a mockup of the iron tree which is considered a jewel of the forests of Lankaran.
It is quiet and spacious inside the sanatorium. Visitors do not jump out at you too much at the sanatorium. One night in the sanatorium in a standard room with a balcony and two meals a day will cost you 215 manats (126 dollars) on weekdays and 235 manats (138 dollars) at weekends. Hot baths are not included in the price.
“Ibadi is cheaper and better quality”
Local residents also recommended us budget treatment in thermal water at the Ibadi health center. In Soviet times, there were several thermal pools here, and their number was increased recently.
Overall, local infrastructure is very different from Isti Su and leaves a lot to be desired. The road to the recreation center that is situated in a mountainous area and at a relative height is not asphalted. The prices, however, are very low. It will cost you three manats (2 dollars) to use the pool.
Jamil Amirov, a member of staff at the center, warmly welcomes arriving visitors and directs them to the pools. Amirov has worked here since 2016. He recommends coming to the thermal water every year in order to obtain a tangible result: "People arrive for treatment of rheumatism, calcium crystal disease, and colds. There are a lot of minerals in the water. We have tested the water."
Water comes into the pools directly from springs in the forest. The center was not granted permission to build a large building here, for which reason it does not operate as a sanatorium or a resort but as a center at which people can take baths. Nevertheless, there are more holidaymakers here than in Isti Su.
"This water is very good for your joints. We recommend coming here to everyone. It is both cheap and good quality here," a visitor to the center tells us over a cup of tea after taking a bath. "We have been coming come here for 15 years now. I no longer have pain in my legs or in my arms. My arms and legs used to get numb but they do not get numb anymore. The water is also good for the gastrointestinal tract and women's diseases," says Ofelia Allahverdiyeva, 85.
She is pleased with both the services rendered here and the prices: "We are pleased. It is cheap but so good. Three manats for services this good is nothing." Allahverdiyeva arrived from Baku and is renting one of the guest houses. She says that she likes holidaying like this in the open air even better than the sanatorium. She finds receiving treatment to be more important than recreation.
Health complexes are being rehabilitated in the country under the motto "demonstrate the country's economic potential and attract more foreign tourists". However, we did not get to see and talk to foreign tourists in Lankaran.
With the support of "Media Network".
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