The Culture of Turkish Bath and Hamam

Have you ever been to a Turkish bath or hamam? You should definitely live this tradition that has been sunk from the splendor of the Ottoman Empire with its luminous dome, bath attendants, rubbers, embroidered walls.

How did these places, known as “Turkish baths” in the world, which are subject to movies enjoyed by everyone indigenous and foreign, have strong acoustical characteristics?

So, be ready for an endless pleasure under the bright dome.

History of Turkish Bath

The word “hamam” we use today means “to warm”, “to be warm” in Arabic. But the roots of ‘Turkish bath’ are as long as the Romans. With the capital of Bursa, the Ottoman Empire maintain the Roman and Byzantine bathing tradition. The transformation of the bath into a tradition is based on the magnificent periods of the Ottoman Empire. After the conquest, baths are being built all over Istanbul. There are 19 Turkish baths in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. Evliya Çelebi also stated that in the 17th century, there were 168 bazaar baths in Istanbul.

turkish bath-history

As can be understood from its quality, the tradition of the baths has an important place in the daily life of Istanbulites. This culture is also nourished with traditions such as bridal bath, maternity bath, feast bath, groom bath, forty bath, military bath, circumcision bath.

In the past, bathing in the Turkish bath was not just about pouring water, it was necessary to perform a series of rituals. Preparations were started the day before, the subject was told to the neighbors, pies, fruits was prepared.

Baths were particularly important places for women. Here, moms liked girls, chatted, gossips were made and spoiled verbal fun was organized. At the same time, the women were wearing new clothes and showing off each other with their clothes. Even so, women had the right to divorce themselves in front of the woman if their husbands could not give money to themselves to go to Turkish bath twice a week.

Although this tradition is not maintained today, baths are still a source of curiosity for locals and strangers.

Here’s the Heat

A slight temperature strikes the face without stepping inside the bath’s outer door. After leaving your furnishings in the dressing rooms, you will be wrapped in squared fabrics called “pestamal” and you are going to the bath section with “clogs” which are private bath slippers. The first stop is the “warmth” section, the hottest place in the bathhouse.

The temperature is about 50 cm above the floor, a room made of marble and built in an octagonal shape with a “belly stone”, which is heated at the bottom. Here, you can stretch out to relax your muscles and prepare your skin for rubbing with a coarse bath-glove. At first it may get very hot, but the body gets used to this temperature over time and all of your bones warm up and you feel relaxed. In other parts of the temperature, there are chambers called “halvet (private room)”. There is a “kurna (basin of a bath)” in the halvets for private bathing. You can soap and wash in this.

But the main event of the bath, rub oneself with a coarse bath-glove part. You lie on the belly stone and the rubber rubs you until you get the dough consistency. After that, soaping and massage begins. You are both cleansed and purified from your stress, all your troubles are steamed out. Once you have finished washing, you are sure to feel a sweet relief. Then do not rush, because you can stay in the heat as long as you like. In the meantime, you can double your pleasure with an ice-cold soda.

After The Bath

Cleaned up, relaxed and it was time to leave. Going to bath and sweating seems like a difficult situation in the first place. But people are getting used to it quickly. After about 2 hours, you will want to drink plenty of water. You will think how much you have relaxed when you go out with your pink cheeks, and when you get home you will leave yourself in a sweet sleep.

The Important Turkish Baths of Istanbul

Çemberlitas Bath

The bath, which was built by order of Nurbanu Sultan, was designed by Architect Sinan in 1584. In Çemberlitas Bath, which is a double bathhouse, there are two sections which are twinned each other. One of these sections is separated by women and men.

Çemberlitas Bath

Address: Vezirhan Street No: 8 Çemberlitas – Eminonu

Tel: +90 212 520 18 50

Cagaloglu Bath

It is not known exactly who the architect of the bath which was built by I. Mahmud. The hamam, which has an architecture blended with Ottoman architecture and baroque style, is designed as a double bath such as Çemberlitas Bath.

Cagaloglu Bath

Cagaloglu Bath is open between 08.00 – 20.00 hours for women and between 08.00 – 22.00 hours for men. In addition the total price will change if you want to get rubbed and massaged.

Address: Prof. Ismail Gurkan Street No: 34 Cagaloglu – Eminonu

Tel: +90 212 522 24 24

Suleymaniye Bath

The Suleymaniye Bath, designed by Architect Sinan during the crucifixion period, is part of the Kulliye, which includes the Suleymaniye Mosque. The hamam, which also includes a private lodge belonging to Suleiman the Magnificent, is now being operated as a touristic facility where women and men can bathe together.

Suleymaniye Bath

In addition to the entrance price of the bath, you pay an additional fee if you have a massage and rub. The price of group visits is determined by the number of groups. The hammam is open from 07.30 to 24.00.

Address: Architect Sinan Street No: 20 Suleymaniye

Galatasaray Bath

Built in 1715 as a public mosque, Galatasaray Bath has a classical Turkish style. Because of being located in a central district of Istanbul, the women’s section of the bath is very popular as a tourist attraction. It is open between 08.00-19.00 and the men’s section is between 07.00-22.00.

Galatasaray Bath

Be sure to contact the current entry price. If you have a massage and rub, you need to pay an additional fee.

Address: Turnacıbası Street No: 24 Galatasaray

Cinili Turkish Bath

The bath, built in 1640, is named after the Cinili Mosque. There are two separate sections for men and women. The women’s department is open seven days a week from 08.00 to 18.00 and the men’s section is from 07.00 to 22.00.

Cinili Turkish Bath

You must pay an additional fee on the entrance fee if you want a rub.

Address: Murat Reis Neighborhood, Çavusdere Street, Uskudar

Tel: +90 216 553 15 93 (men), +90 216 334 97 10 (women)

Great Bath

Built in 1533, the Great Bath is located in Kasımpasa. The bath which is the work of Architect Sinan has 2 sections for women and men.

Great Bath

The entrance may be different for women and men. You need to pay extra for massage and pouch. The women’s section of the bath is open every day of the week between 08.00 – 20.00 hrs. The men’s section opens with the morning crest and closes at 22.30. We still recommend you confirm.

Address: Potinciler Street, Near Great Mosque, Kasımpasa

Tel: +90 212 253 42 29

Aga Bath

The Aga Bath, built in 1454, is located in Beyoglu. The bath is open 6 days a week except Sunday. Entrance may be different for men and women. If you have massages and pouches, you need to pay an additional fee.

Aga Bath

Address: Turnacıbası Street, Cihangir

Tel: +90 212 249 50 27

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