Thermal baths in Albania

Albania’s thermal baths have been enjoyed since Roman times. In the 20thcentury, some of them were developed into spas and they are generally known by the Albanian word Llixhat(the indefinite form is Llixhe). The first to have the spa waters scientifically tested was Park Nosi, in Llixha of Elbasanit. The analysis of the spa water was firs carried out in 1924, and the spa was built in 1932 by a businessman from Elbasani, Grigor Nosi (the brother of the politician Lef Nosi). Detailed research into the chemical components of the water was conducted by a Czech scientist between 1932 and 1936; the main elements are sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium. The spa treats a range of ailments, including rheumatism, circulatory problems and skin complaints such as eczema. The water is said also to aid fertility. The springs at Park Nosi are 13,000 m below the surface and emerge at 56AC; the current administrator remembers as a child, his grandfather Grigor Nosi boiling an egg for him in the thermal water. Nowadays, many other spa hotels have been built at Llixha of Elbasani, although some of them pump their water from underground, rather than allowing it to emerge naturally, as it is supposed to be better for the conservation of its medicinal properties.

Another spa hotel, built during the communist period, is near Peshkopia. The water here emerges at between 35A and 43AC; its principal minerals are potassium and sulphur. People come to this spa from Macedonia and Kosova, as well as from other parts of Albania; the waters are said to be of great benefit in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.

The prices for the treatment at these spas are astonishingly low. A two-week treatment at the municipally run hotel at Peshkopia, with full board, costs about ALL200. At Park Nosi, a single bath, with an obligatory medical examination, costs AL100 and a session of mud therapy is AL 1,000.

Spas can also be found near Fush-Kruja and Leskoviku, and there are free thermal baths, open to the elements, in various places around the Albanian mountains. One of these is at Benja, near Permeti, and is a large pool fed by several thermal springs. Finally, there are numerous drinking water springs, which are also said to have beneficial medical effects; these are often known as Uji i Ftoht in English cold water.

K.Ruci

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