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Hamams in Istanbul: How to Choose the Best Steam Room

Real Turkish baths (hamams) are more like luxurious palaces than a place where you can wash. People come here for the atmosphere, relaxation, harmony and communication. Hamam is a long-standing Turkish tradition, because cleanliness is half the faith. Istanbul Hamam is a real temple where you will be cleansed physically and mentally. If you come to Istanbul, be sure to take a few hours to visit the hamam to relax without haste and for your own pleasure. Turkish people love this tradition very much. Colleagues come here to discuss important matters and projects, relatives of the newlyweds come here to get to know each other better before the ceremony, the birth of a child is also celebrated here.

The complex of Turkish baths always provides rooms with different temperatures, from colder to hotter. This is done so that when moving from one room to another, visitors avoid shock from the temperature regime. With the transition to each room, the temperature rises higher.

Inside Turkish Bath, Hamam

The main rooms of the hamam:

  • Changing room
  • Steam room
  • Recreation area

There are vessels with water along the walls where you can refresh yourself. A distinctive feature of the hamam is the domed ceiling, thanks to which condensate flows down the walls, and does not fall on the heads of visitors. After visiting all the stages of the hamam, it is believed that the human soul is cleansed. The walls, ceiling, benches and steps are decorated with mosaics. Hamams often have a swimming pool and a fountain. The atmosphere around is very pleasant and everything is done to make you relax. Previously, soap suds were beaten manually in hamams, but now this process is automated. With the advent of new technologies, visiting the bath has become much more pleasant.

The benefits of a Turkish bath

A visit to the hamam is very good for health, it gets rid of toxins, blood pressure returns to normal, blood circulation improves, sleep improves, stress goes away. In general, a hamam is a solid plus and benefit for the body. If you regularly visit the hamam, you can feel a surge of energy very soon. Endurance appears, headaches, drowsiness, irritability disappear. In addition to the bath, you will get peeling, massage with oils and soap massage.

Men and women visit the hamam separately, different times and days are allocated for them.

If you want to feel the whole atmosphere of the Turkish tradition, we recommend visiting one of the oldest baths. But keep in mind that they are much more expensive.

Popular historical hamams in Istanbul

Turkish Bath  | Hamam

Some of the most popular historical hamams in Istanbul have been preserved since the Ottoman Empire. They used the best quality materials, and the architects tried to make the baths the most luxurious, because their wives visited them.

Hamam Hürrem Sultan in Istanbul (Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı)

He began to build it in 1556, an architect who also built the Suleymaniye Mosque. The bathhouse, built at the request of Hurrem Haseki Sultan (Roksolana), the wife of Sultan Suleyman, is known for the fact that both parts, female and male, are absolutely mirrored. The place was not chosen by chance, there was a temple and public baths of Zeus. In 1910, the hamam was closed, and reopened at the beginning of the XXI century. The prices are quite large, the minimum price is about 55 euros, and the maximum is about 185 euros.

Suleymaniye Bath

This hamam was built in 1550, and was a favorite place of Suleyman. The complex is unique in that it can be visited by both men and women, as it was built as a family bath. The price is about 100 TL per person.

Hamam Galatasaray (Galatasaray hamamı)

This ancient bathhouse was built in 1481. It is stunning in its beauty and therefore the prices in it are high and reach 1000 euros.

Useful recommendations when visiting the bath

  • It is best to visit the baths, which are designed for locals, not tourists.
  • Before visiting the hamam at the hotel, ask to show you the room.
  • Do not hesitate to ask the locals about their favorite baths.
  • Do not always pay attention to the exterior facade of the building. Inside, it may be completely different.

When visiting Istanbul, be sure to visit the Turkish hammam, and do not save time on it, because after you will be a completely different person.

You can read this article in Russian language: Хамамы в Стамбуле: как выбрать лучшую парную

Anna Yablochkina

Hello, I'm Anna, I live in Istanbul. I love traveling and discovering new places. I share my trips on Expat Guide Turkey.

2 Comments

  1. Hi there – I been in Istanbul since Thursday night, I am staying at sultanahan hotel in sultanahmet but I find most stuff around this location very commercial and not authentic, most food is very touristy and doesn’t live up to the expectations.
    Any suggestions from you be highly appreciated

    Many thanks

    1. Hello, as a Turkish citizen and a native of Istanbul, I can give you the following suggestion: unfortunately, in areas with a lot of tourists, everything is below your expectations. In Üsküdar district, you can eat both more affordable and very delicious food. You can visit wonderful historical sites and museums in the northern parts of Beyoglu district. You can get away from the touristic areas and have much newer experiences. Have a great vacation!

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