The Danish writer Isaac Dinesen claims: "The cure for all diseases is salt water: it is everywhere - in tears, sweat and in the sea." When one hears about salt, the first thing they associate it with are white granules of sodium chloride, which we use in our daily lives, or in simple words - tiny powders of iodized salt.
Salt is the last trace in the ocean where life was born. It influences the whole story and its name is associated with hundreds of geographical locations.
For centuries, humans have benefited from salt therapy to strengthen their immune systems and relieve respiratory diseases. Salt has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Scientists have proven the benefits of salt in people suffering from chronic diseases, such as seasonal allergies, sinusitis, bronchitis and skin diseases. From ancient times to the present day, various doctors and medical experts have proven the incredible impact of salt therapy called "Halotherapy".
Nakhchivan is one of the oldest regions not only in Azerbaijan but also in the world. Here on its territory is the magical salt cave Duzdag (Duzdag). The name is made up of the words "Douz" - meaning "Salt", and "Dag" - meaning "Rock". In the area there are huge natural salt deposits formed millions of years ago. They have over 130 million tons of natural salt and is 12 km from the city of Nakhichevan. The salt cave of Azerbaijan is known not only for its pure and soft salt, but also for its healing properties.
Ever since the Stone Age, people have learned to extract salt. One legend tells that 6000 years ago, during the time of Noah, salt was being mined in the area. Even before the legendary "Silk Road" appeared, the "Salt Road" laid the foundations and reached the Middle East, starting with Nakhchivan. From there, salt was exported all over the world, mainly supplying one of the most ancient civilizations - that of Sumerians who worshiped salt and considered it sacred.
During 1970, a large salt cave was discovered during archaeological excavations and excavations in the Nakhchivan salt mine area, which, after careful study, was found to be the most ancient salt bath in the world. French and Azerbaijani scientists have found that people in ancient times inhabited the territory of Nakhichevan, have long been aware of the benefits of salt therapy, while in Europe only in the 19 century, people began to process salt. There are so many salt deposits in the area that salt production is still active. Salt mines were found to be free from bronchitis and asthma. The axes, tools and picks found in the mines were sent to museums in Nakhichevan, St. Petersburg and Tbilisi.
The salt found in the Nakhchivan mine differs from the sea salt because it is environmentally friendly and is therefore used in the treatment of many diseases. The magnesium contained in the salt is used in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease. Duzdag's unique salt caves are located at 1173 meters above sea level. There is a modern center for physiotherapy without analogue in the world, which treats respiratory diseases.
The sanatorium in Duzdag was built in 1979 and is located in the heart of Salt Mountain, where salt has been extracted for centuries. Under the mountain are the tunnels of the sanatorium, the walls are covered with a thick layer of salt, reaching up to 8,2 m, the temperature is between 18 - 20 C, and the humidity between 24 - 50%. There are designed rooms for 300 people, at a depth of 300 meters. There are two cameras for men, two for women and one for children where they sleep, play, socialize, feed and spend between 7 and 10 hours.
Today, Duzdag is considered the best center for the treatment of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and various allergies, especially in small patients. Often, patients need only one course to treat their illness. For preventative purposes, 2-3 visits are required, and even just 10-12 hours in a salt chamber help to clear the lungs and bronchi. This helps blood circulation and the heart resumes normal functioning. The sanatorium is the best and most effective treatment center for various diseases, especially the most severe forms of bronchial asthma.
Recent studies have shown that salt can also be used in cosmetics. Countries such as Germany and Italy are developing new trends in cosmetology. Several procedures in the salt cave have been proven to aid in the postoperative period in cosmetic surgery. The construction in 2015 of a modern 5-star hotel with 150 rooms gave a boost to tourism in the country, as the flow of foreign tourists who came for rest and treatment increased dramatically. However, stay at the sanatorium is free for the citizens of Azerbaijan. Each year, the number of youngest visitors coming for treatment from different countries, such as Turkey, Iran, CIS countries (former Soviet Union), Germany, Poland and other European countries, is increasing. Recent observations and studies have found that the majority of patients visiting sanatoriums are from coastal or high humidity countries.
The Duzdag Cave is a magical place that everyone should visit to touch the "magic of salt" and its healing properties.