Can you think of a more relaxing way to start the new year than enjoying a good Turkish bath? The truth is that it seems like a brilliant idea to us. We are at the gates of 2023 and one of the most acclaimed wishes, when we go from one year to the next one, is to start the new year on the right foot. We all ask for health, others ask for love, others ask for money, and others ask for work. Others also propose dedicating more time to themselves. If you are one of those who have proposed the latter, you need to read this blog.
What is the history of the hammams?
The culture of the hammam dates back to the Roman Empire when the baths and public baths were part of the social life of the citizens of ancient Rome. These spaces had several rooms, in which people could exercise or play activities. But although the beginnings of the hammams are related to the Roman Empire, their tradition is really linked to the Ottoman and Turkish cultures. In fact, to this day, it is one of the most characteristic elements of Turkey.
During the Ottoman Empire, going to a Turkish bath was part of a very important ritual that symbolized cleanliness and purification, as well as being a social meeting point among the citizens of those times. Currently, going to a Turkish bath continues to represent a moment of relaxation. It is a moment of disconnection, introspection, care, and peace. It is a deserved gift that we should give ourselves more often.
Luckily, Istanbul has several special hammams. If you have the opportunity to go through any of them, you can enjoy a unique and refreshing experience. You will come out as new! Below, we explain everything you need to know about the hammams and we present the four Turkish baths that we like the most in the metropolis. We hope you enjoy your experience.
What is included in a hammam?
Get ready to enter a sanctuary of relaxation. Hammans usually offer different packages of experiences, among which you can find aromatherapy massages, bubble baths, facial masks, saunas, and body scrubs, among many others. It will give you the feeling that you are being someone who lived in an Ottoman-era palace.
In addition, normally, when you arrive at the hammams, you receive a kit with various items for personal care, which usually include bath gloves and soap made with olive oil, among others. Truly, it is an experience that you cannot miss if you live or travel to Istanbul. You will leave the hammam super relaxed, with almost new muscles and skin.
Historical Galatasaray Hammam
Galatasaray Hammam is located near the Flower Passage, about a 15-minute walk from Taksim Square. It is a historical Turkish bath, built in 1481 by Sultan Beyazit II. It is a traditional hammam, with Ottoman-style areas built with marble. The Galatasaray Hammam is a true paradise for relaxation and well-being, as it has various extras such as massages and bubble baths, among others. It is also worth mentioning that it has a separate area for women and that it is open until 10:00 p.m.
Hurrem Sultan Hammam
Between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, you can find the historic Hurrem Sultan Hammam, a Turkish bath built by the architect Sinan between 1556 and 1557. This hammam was built at the request of Hurrem Sultan, the wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. This Turkish bath was built on top of the old Zeuxippus public baths, which were open between 100 and 200 AD. Currently, it is the largest Turkish bath in Turkey, an authentic paradise covered in white marble where one can enjoy different types of massages and the traditional circuit of the Turkish bath.
Çatma Mescit Hammam
Çatma Mescit Hammam is a Turkish bath located in the Kasimpasa neighborhood, in the Beyoglu district. This hammam was built in 1533 by the architect Mimar Sinan, who turned this space into an authentic and traditional Turkish bath. Currently, this hammam is known for offering massages, foam exfoliation rituals, reflexology, ginger peelings, and facial masks, among many others. It is worth mentioning that this space is also popular for offering VIP services and luxury packages, which also include drinks and food.
Last but not least, we present you the Çemberlitaş Hammam, one of the most famous Turkish baths in the country, which was built in 1584 also by the architect Mimar Sinan. Located between Sultanahmet and Beyazit, this hammam has a double bath with 38 places to wash. The aesthetics of this hammam is impressive, a fact that has managed to captivate both residents and tourists. Today, it is said that tourists are the main source of income for this hammam, offering them the traditional Turkish ritual, masks, massages, exfoliations, and even head massages. It is a delight for the body!
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