Istanbul, the city of hamam
«A city without a hamam is an incomplete city», declared Scheherazade, the protagonist of the Thousand and One Nights. Nothing more true, especially if the city in question is Istanbul. A view of the Turkish city without stopping at one of its historic baths is a journey that is missing something. Faithful to traditions, the inhabitants of the city flock to the ancient Turkish baths and often undergo the energetic (sometimes a little too much, for Western habits) traditional massages. Many hotels also offer first-rate services, to start preparing body and mind for city spaces: bathrobe and coffee machine are already in the room, ready to be used for the sauna, swimming pool and Turkish bath. The luxurious furnishings and bright rooms of some hotels are the final touch, which prepares you for the intense spa day.
Are you ready to meet with Turkish bath culture in Istanbul? Enjoy an authentic experience at an original five-century-old bath. Relax your muscles and refresh your body!
The Çemberlitas Hamam, a special place for your holiday
The Çemberlitas Hamam is one of the most famous Turkish baths, located right next to the Column of Constantine, built by the Roman emperor in 324 AD. The complex was built at the end of the 16th century on a project by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, at the behest of one of the wives of Sultan Selim II. The interior is divided into two symmetrical parts, one reserved for men and the other for women, partially illuminated by the light that filters through the openings of the dome. The center offers, upon request, treatments such as reflexology, massages or face masks. The heart of it all, however, remains the steam room, with a large heated marble platform in the center, surrounded by private cubicles. You can decide whether to choose the basic mode, lying on the warm floor for a relaxing break, or the scrub (with exfoliation performed on the spot by a diligent masseur).
Other famous hamams in Istanbul
You completely change your genre with the Süleymaniye Hamam (Mimar Sinan Caddesi, n.20 Süleymaniye, tel 0090.212519 55 69, Mon-Sun 10-24, entrance 35), In the complex of the Süleymaniye Mosque, the only mixed public bath in Istanbul .
Admission is reserved for couples and families with children and is forbidden for singles. Inside, large rooms for massages and steam baths, with arches and marble beds. There is no shortage of relaxation corners where you can sip a good tea. The old kitchen still works today and has been transformed into a restaurant, the Darüzziyafe (Ifahane Street No. 6, tel 0090.2125118414, 20), Which serves traditional Turkish dishes, from Süleymaniye soup to Fukâra Ke Külü, a sort of local pudding.
More recent (dating back to 1714) is the Cağaloğlu Hamam (Prof. Kazi Gurkan n. 34, Cağaloğlu, Mon-Sun, men 8-22, women 8-20, from 30, tel 0090.2125222424). It is certainly the favorite Turkish bath for VIPs. Within its walls, kings and emperors have relaxed, as well as artists such as Franz Litz, Tony Curtis, Rudolf Nureyev and, more recently, Brian May, Harrison Ford and Cameron Diaz. Here, too, one moves among tall marble columns, in corridors illuminated by the light of lantern domes. After the steam bath, a gourmand break, not far away, at the Matbah Restaurant (Caferiye Sokak n. 6/1, Sultanahmet, 40-50, Mon-Sun open for lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch, tel 0090.2125146151): traditional Ottoman cuisine (with many vegetarian dishes), overlooking the historic center of Istanbul.
Discover the hamam closest to you
Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam
With this one-hour Istanbul Turkish bath experience, you’ll enjoy a traditional body scrub in the warmest quarter of the spa, with a relaxing bubble wash ritual on warm marble stone.
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