Ureki – a tourist destination for many Azerbaijanis

Ureki, a small tourist town on the Georgian Black Sea coast, has been attracting Azerbaijanis on vacation with its cheap and affordable prices.

epa04862556 A local vendor carries rubber floating tyres at the Black Sea beach of the seaside resort Ureki, Georgia, 27 July 2015. The Blask Sea resorts are a popular destination for summer vacations. EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

Ureki, a small tourist town on the Georgian Black Sea coast, has been attracting Azerbaijanis on vacation with its cheap and affordable prices.

According to Georgian statistics, Azerbaijanis are amongst the largest groups traveling to Georgia for vacation. This year alone, Azerbaijanis made for 49.1 percent of tourists coming to Georgia.

After Tbilisi and Batumi, Ureki is one of the most oft – visited spots.

Healing Sands

Ureki, a resort town on the shore of the Black Sea, is 60 kilometers north of Batumi. Tourists are largely attracted to this place for its ‘healing’ black sands, which take their color from magnetic particles. Though the sands of Ureki have been used to extract iron and other metals, starting in the 19th century the location and its healing sands were identified as beneficial for human health.

Medical science claims that magnetic particles in the sand may be beneficial for a number of biological processes, including the immune, circulatory, cardio-vascular and nervous systems. The sands are also said to be capable of treating spinal and back pain. Many families also come here with children who experience back pain and other problems.

Ureki’s climate is also rather unique:

Baku resident Gunel Taghiyeva says that her 4 year old daughter, Aylin, has a number of problems related to her spinal cord. She brings her daughter here every year:

“I’ve noticed a big difference in my child’s health. I saw a pediatric doctor here, who said that the sands here are very beneficial. I’ve heard that they brought a 12 year old child here for health reasons. Once the child recovered, their mother organized an enormous banquet here in Ureki. I’ve told myself that if my daughter’s health is even moderately improved, I will do the same…”

Tovuz resident Masud Mammadov comes to Ureki to vacation with his familyt:

Ucuz is both cheap and very clean. We wanted to go to Nabran for vacation, but prices there were twice as expensive. Here, room and board is much cheaper, and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves.”

Medical tourism in Georgia

Medical tourism in Georgia has also become popular in recent years. According to official state statistics, in the months of January and February alone 126,000 tourists arrived in the country for purposes of health and medical treatment. Amongst resorts and other health institutions, Ureki is one of the most preferred destinations.

Kolkhi health resort treats patients with magnetic sands, and offers residents recreational activities in a wide park, a pool and a beach. Rooms are equipped with all essentials.

Here, a two person room costs 80 dollars a night (one person – 40 dollars), including 3 meals a day and numerous medical services. Rooms may be more or less expensive depending on their view of the park or of the sea.

The director of the sanatorium , Katiya Sarjveladze, says that despite this, medical costs are included in the price of the room: “This includes consultations with doctors, analyses (including sugar, calcium and cholesterol checks), cardiograms, magnetic pools, saunas and massages.”

K. Sarjveladze says that Georgia is the second country in the world with magnetic beaches:

“Everyone knows how beneficial the sands of Ureki are. Our doctors try to treat people with these sands. We’ve had patients completely cured by their stays at our resort just because of these healing sands…”

The director of the sanatorium also said that many Azerbaijanis come here for treatment:

Most of all, we have Russians, Turks, Azerbaijanis and Armenians coming here. Azerbaijanis love our services and fair prices in particular. Even families with many children come here. We try to help them out as much as we can.”

Baku resident Etibar Mahmudov has been coming to the sanatorium for 5 years:

We pay 80 dollars for two people. The park of the sanatorium is a really great advantage, and the massages and baths are also a great way to relax. If you eat elsewhere, you end up paying quite a bit more. Here, for 3 meals a day, treatment and other services we pay just forty dollars a day per person.”

Emil Mammadov from Shamkir bemoans the fact that in Azerbaijan, there are no such prices:

“We are very happy with the prices here. In Baku, for one blood analysis you end up paying a lot! in some Baku clinics, you can be out of 25 manat the moment you step inside the building. Here, we pay one price, and everything is included. And it’s also a great plus that it’s a family place. I think we’ll always be coming back to Ureki.”

A cost – effective vacation

The other reasons Azerbaijanis come to Ureki is for the prices. Hotels lining the edge of the sea vary in price. But here, in comparison with Azerbaijan, most prices are very cheap.

The ‘Albatros’ hotel, often considered the must luxurious hotel in Ureki, has two – person rooms for 50 dollars a day, but this includes 3 meals a day, a swimming pool and numerous other services. Other hotels, such as the ‘Premium Hotel’ (35 – 40 dollars a day), offer even cheaper prices.

In Azerbaijan’s Nabran sea-side resort town, prices start at 55 – 85 manat per day. ‘El Faro’ hotel costs 180 manat per day, and only includes 3 meals a day for an additional 65 manat.

Everyone can afford to come to Ureki

People from all economic backgrounds can come here. Locals of Ureki have made hostels and guest – houses out of their homes in order to rent out to tourists. For about 10 lari per person a day, you can find a nice play to stay with all needed amenities.

Moreover, you can find restaurants all over town. In addition to Georgian restaurants, you can also find Armenian and Azerbaijani restaurants as well. Gence restaurant in the center of town is especially well known for its Azerbaijani music and delicious kababs.

Ureki, photo: courtesy
Ureki, photo: courtesy

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