Most people do their research before traveling to another country about anything they want to experience, including where to bathe publicly. In this article, you will find out about the world-renowned Turkish baths and where to find them in Istanbul.
Turkish baths or “hamams” are believed to be derived from Roman Empire long before the Ottomans. They are public places for cleaning and were essential in the past when there was no waterline system in cities. The baths were not only the place for sanitizing but also a stage for public events where weddings or other marital rituals were organized. Essential cleaning items used in Turkish baths are usually olive oil soap and a washcloth called “kese” to exfoliate dead skin easily.
This bath gets its name from the famous Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s wife Hurrem, and it was built by the highly skilled architect Mimar Sinan in the 16th century. The bath is located between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, encircled by Istanbul’s most historic structures. Hurrem Sultan bath is divided into three separate parts by different temperature settings. You can visit the bath between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cagaoglu Bath is also located in the Historical Peninsula within walking distance to Hurrem Sultan bath. You will definitely feel the historic atmosphere when you enter this bath that was built in the 18th century by one of the Ottoman sultans. Just to remind you, this bath is also in the New York Times “1000 Places to Visit Before You Die” list. And once, it was a pretty famous place where many fashion shows, documentaries and movies were shot.
Unlike the jammed and modest outside look, Cemberlitas Bath is another special bath located near the touristic Cemberlitas square. It was built by the great architect Mimar Sinan in 1584 with the request of royal princess Nurbanu. Cemberlitas bath was designed as two adjoining parts that can be seen from outside by its double domes standing out. One of the parts was for men and the other for women, making it possible for them to get in and out from different entrances. Today there are different services provided in the bath, varying from traditional bath to luxury style and aromatherapy massages.
Galatasaray Bath is located next to Galatasaray High School in Beyoglu, which is famous for its important graduates. This bath was originally a complex provided to the school but later turned into a public bath. As it is separated for women and men, the bath features traditional architecture. You can first enjoy a relaxing bath and then take a walk in the long streets of Istiklal, which is home to so many shops and restaurants.