Naphthalan (Naftalan)
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Naphthalan / Naftalan - Azerbaijan - location mapThis small town is a major balneological health resort, with several sanatoria and boarding-houses. The properties of the oil extracted from Naphthalan is known since ancient times, being mentioned in the 1st century BC by the geographer Strabus and later by Marco Polo. It has city status and is enveloped by the Goranboy rayon.

While Naftalan crude oil is too heavy for normal export uses, it contains about 50 percent naphthalene, a hydrocarbon that is the active ingredient in coal tar soaps, which are used to treat psoriasis. As such, it is only used for medicinal purposes. The naphthalene in the oil has given it therapeutic properties, however it is not clear whether it is also a possible carcinogen.

For centuries the local oil has been transformed into an ointment exported all to Asia and the middle east, and patients have travelled thousands of kilometres to benefit from the Naphthalan treatments.

The main natural curing factor is a unique Naphthalan oil which is extracted from borewells and used for curing of diseases and after-effects of injury of motor and supporting organs, diseases of peripheral nervous system, skin, peripheral vessels and gynaecological disorders.

Naphthalan oil affects positively the activity of endocrine glands, metabolism and possesses local anti inflammatory and anaesthetic properties.

The area is used to be home to "oil spas", however most closed in the 1990s as they were used to house war refugees. However one still survives, the Naftalan Therapeutic Center - so if you want an unusual spa they should have space for you, it's a large place with over 1000 beds.

The town is quite plain but Naphthalan has one of the world's weirdest museums: one dedicated solely to the crutches of cured patients! There is also the more usual Naftalan Regional Historical Museum (Sh. Gurbanov Street).

(335 km West of Baku)
see also: places, Agdam, Dashkasan, Goranboy, Yevlax, Barda, Terter, health, visas, history, summary, maps, images
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