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Cağaloğlu Hamam Bathhouse
Cağaloğlu Hamam Bathhouse

Get yourself ready to indulge in a wholesome, pampering experience at the authentic hammams of Türkiye

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 12:00 AM

Is there anything more relaxing and rejuvenating than lying on a warm marble in a Turkish hammam getting a full body scrub? Turkish baths, or hammams in Turkiye, are an important part of Turkish culture that has been around since the 16th century. Indeed, there is nothing better than hot steam that opens skin pores to release toxins before a loafer scrub down with olive soap that cleanses the skin leaving it looking fresh.


The hammam culture

While the hammams were first built to offer a place for having a bath, Turkish hammams evolved into gathering spots for many people. Women and men had access to hammams on different days of the week. It became a social meeting place where people can spend hours, relaxing, cleaning up, and talking to their neighbours. It’s no wonder the hammams were always full of people.

Turkish baths in Istanbul include a dressing room, a steam-heated domed hot room, and a cool room where guests may rest after their bath. In Istanbul, the best hammams are often located in ancient neighbourhoods. Baths were extremely significant in Ottoman Istanbul.

The benefits

Coming to the benefits of hammams, they improve respiratory health. They also stimulate the body to relieve exhaustion and improve mental sluggishness.

When the body is immersed in the heat, the natural cooling benefit of sweating works to detox the body by removing toxins via the skin’s pores, which leaves skin nourished and hydrated, giving it a healthier appearance.

Ağa Hamamı

If the hammam experience doesn’t get you excited by itself, perhaps soaking up the in this location may do the trick. It has only been renovated twice: in the 1980s and the Ottoman period by Sultan Abdulmecid. This hammam has a rich history dating back to the times of Mehmet the Conqueror. This is the oldest Turkish, having been constructed in 1454. Built for Sultan Mehmet and his sons, one year after conquering Constantinople (now Istanbul), this is the first Turkish bath in Istanbul.

Galatasaray Hammam

With a history going back to 1461, Galatasaray Hamami is one of Istanbul’s oldest baths. The bathhouse is situated in Istiklal Area, Istanbul’s most famous tourist strolling street, and is also popular with residents. Galatasaray Hamami, one of Istanbul’s finest hammams near Taksim Square, is in an ideal position. A complete Turkish bath package is inexpensive at Galatasaray Hamami, which is less expensive than the Turkish baths in the Old City.

Cağaloğlu Hamam Bathhouse

Many famous people throughout history, including Florence Nightingale, Omar Sharif, Tony Curtis, Cameron Diaz, Kate Moss, and John Travolta, have visited Cağaloğlu Hamam. Open since 1741 and listed in the famous travel book '1001 Places to Visit Before You Die', it is a large Turkish bath constructed on a former palace site. A unique quality is baroque-style architecture, rarely used in Ottoman buildings of that time. The steam room also uniquely has a large dome, supported by eight prominent columns. Still adhering to the traditional practice of separating women and men, two different entrances lead to the respective areas.

Kılıç ALİ Paşa Hamamı

It is named after the sailor who commissioned the most famous architect of the Ottoman era. Initially created to serve those in the Ottoman navy, the idea was that this hammam would still be standing centuries after it was built. It is known for its magnificent dome, perhaps the largest in all of the hammams in Istanbul.

Çukurcuma Hamamı

Unlike the other baths on this list, Çukurcuma hammam has a breathtaking monochromatic hararet. This gives this Turkish bath a more contemporary spa feel compared to the other baths. Once you get there, you’ll find that they provide everything from one-use bikinis to makeup remover. This hammam is within walking distance of Istiklal Street and Taksim Square, which makes this spot the perfect getaway when you are exploring the old city of Istanbul.

Mihrimah Sultan Hamam Bathhouse

As part of the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque compound, this bath, built-in 1565, uniquely tailors the customer's experience, including pre-wedding, circumcision, and childbirth Turkish bath parties. Incredibly proud of their heritage, they also note the importance of traditional architecture in a Turkish bath to maximise an authentic experience. Enjoying lots of local trade, customers undress in private cubicles before putting on the conventional peştemal, a checked cloth to wear around the waist. They then go into the heated sauna room or choose the modern addition of a private Jacuzzi centre. After receiving the loafer massage and rub from a masseur, communal rooms are available to socialise.

— Compiled by anam@khaleejtimes.com

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