Visiting Istanbul can’t be complete without visiting one authentic, historic hamam, or bathhouse. Steaming, bathing, and rejuvenating massages in one of Istanbul’s hamams is the one quintessential Turkish experience to have and an ancient amenity that has outlasted centuries of modernized social norms. The experience is easily customized, whether just for a soak, a steam, a massage, or all three. But perhaps the most notable aspect of this experience are the visuals, from massive marble slabs, to towering columns and intricate, colorful, artistic details. Don’t miss these seven note-worthy hamams while exploring Istanbul.
Istanbul’s Cagaloglu Hamam is undoubtedly the city’s most spectacular and most impressive hamam, favored by locals and drawing thousands of visitors each year. The sweeping arches and curved domes within the hamam’s gorgeous steam rooms are lavish and reveal some of the most ancient and enduring design models of the several centuries. Within the famously documented design are thousands of single tiles adorned in colorful tulips, adding depth to the already exquisite style. Cagaloglu Hamam was constructed in 1741, ordered by Sultan Mahmut I, and though originally only offered facilities for men (a long-standing tradition), today there are baths and a wide scope of services for both men and women within their own separate quarters. Treatments though, are not as long and lavish as one might hope: the basic washing, scrubbing, and range of massage treatments are fairly expensive considering they are pretty short.
During the late 1600s, renowned Ottoman architect Sinan designed and built Cemberlitas Hamam which has offered one of the most quintessential bathing experiences in the city for centuries. As one of the oldest Turkish hamams in Istanbul, Cemberitas is revered and therefore a popular haunt for relaxing, steaming, and bathing. Built during the last and greatest period of Sinan’s life, this hamam emphasizes his life-long experience, exemplified by the tranquility, practicality, and elegance throughout the entire design, which is fantastic in its simplicity: the hamam is not overly adorned yet still doesn’t lose a bit of appeal. Studied by professionals in many different fields, Cemberlitas features a massive central dome, which is especially beautiful when the sun is shining, lighting up the interior magnificently and heating up the gobektasi, a huge, hot stone where visitors can lay and soak in the warmth.
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Visiting Istanbul can’t be complete without visiting one authentic, historic hamam, or bathhouse.
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