Hamam The Turkish Bath

One of the truly unmissable experiences of a trip to Turkey is a visit to the hamam. Like the harem, this Roman and Byzantine tradition was adopted and then perfected by the Selcuk Turks, for whom the public bath took on an important role. It was not merely a place where believers could fulfill the Islamic precept of cleanliness. It was a place in which to mingle, socialize and gossip. Women would proceed from their harem to the hamam with great ceremony, accompanied by servants heavily-laden with delicacies to tide the ladies over the hours they would spend lounging in the steam. The young women used this opportunity to show off their ornately embroidered towels and ivory inlaid slippers, not to mention their youthful figures, while older women would spot potential wives for their sons. Men would discuss the latest court scandal or talk business and politics. Contrary to popular ideas, hamams have always been either permanently designated for one of the sexes, or have a separate schedule for men and women.
Nowadays, especially in touristy regions mixed hamams have come into fashion, but this is clearly the influence of a western easyness concerning sexuality which is not really sharde by the local majority.

Upon entering a hamam, you will find yourself in a dressing room, or camekan, which is surrounded by private cubicles where you dress. You should have - or rent in the hamam-  a cotton wrap, (turkish: pestemal), and a pair of slippers, (turkish: terlik).

Once you have removed all your clothing and wrapped the cotton cloth around you sarong style like a skirt, you are ready to go.

It is good advise to bring your own soap, towel or shampoo - some baths do offer them for rent or use, but mostly they are pretty expensive and may be not the high quality you expect.

Turkish bath or hamam

Turkish bath or hamam is relaxing

Turkish bath or hamam with a good massage

privacy in a Turkish bath or hamam