Hammam

Sauna, steam baths

Hammam

Hammam

Hammam known also as ‘Turkish bath’ is the Middle East type of steam bath; it is a wet relative of sauna. Besides bathing, hammams always represented places socialization and religious cleansing.  

Hammam usually includes separated parts for men and women. The process of bathing consists of several phases, leading the bather to the heavenly experience. These phases are the following: First is the seasoning of the body with heat; second is the vigorous massage; third is the peeling off of the outer layer of skin, and removal of body hairs; fourth, the soaping, and fifth, relaxation.

An attendant staff working in the hammam called tellak leads you to the dressing room, where you get the cotton wrap to cover your body, a rough glove for the massage, and you slip into special wooden clogs, that will prevent you from slipping on the wet floor, your bowl and natural black soap if you wish. First, you enter the hot steam room (harara) with the large, heated marble stone platform at the centre, on which bathers are laying. In the corners of the room there are niches with the fountains for pouring the water over your body. This is the hottest room of the hammam (45 ºC), where your body will start to perspire, and the pores start to open. Then, if you wish you can experience a vigorous Turkish massage. After the short relaxation, a tellak will pour the water over you, and then rub your back with the coarse (usually horse or camel hair) glove, removing the layers of dead skin. After the scrubbing, your entire body will be soaped and rinsed with the water poured all over you from the basin.

The bathing in hammam ends up in the resting room (soğukluk) where you will relax in the comfortable couches or sofas, let your skin pores to close and refresh yourself with the offered tea, coffee or a soft drink.


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