Turkish baths are specific. Visitors lie down on priorly heated marble and hammam master scrubs and massages your skin. After peeling with scrub your body is therefore covered with aromatic foam that gives a pleasant massage.
For centuries, the turkish bath has been a magical, religious and hygienic ritual and these ancient traditions have survived to the present day. Word “Hammam” originating from the Arabic hamma which means- heating up. Baths served as health centres among the ancient Greeks and have been an important part of daily life in Istanbul since Roman and Byzantine times. Under the Romans, Byzantine baths were more than places to wash, but social clubs where people met their friends and conversed or argued over politics.
The Turkish bath consists of three sections: the cool room (soğukluk), the tepidity room (ılıklık), and the hottest room (sıcaklık or harrare). The entire interior is made out of marble slabs and turkish hammam looks very luxurious.
The procedure starts from the entrance hall- changing room, where the air temperature is around 28-34°C. In this room visitors warm up and prepare their body for further processes. After changing, visitor goes to a much hotter room (up to 45 degrees celsius and the humidity level is almost 100%) which is much more spacious and in the center of this room there is a heated marble bed -Gobektasi. While lying on marble bed, the key is to exhale deeply. As said in ancient times, “to purify the body and soul from the demons and to be born again”. When the body has been warmed up for some time, the visitor is ready for the next stage- massage.
Prior the massage, hammam master peels the old skin of with a quite rough sponge. When the old skin has been rubbed off, the procedure continues with a shower. The master takes a bucket with water and shower begins with applying colder water on head and continues towards the feet. Feet is showered with warmer water. After shower the most exciting part can start.
The bathman or masseur covers whole body with aromatic soap bubbles and begins a massage. Master pays special attention to the spine, muscle of the hand and feet, and joints. Massage is being done just with hands, meaning, that no sponges or other equipment is not used during massage. After the bubble massage the visitor gets into shallow pools with different water temperatures.
The fact that Turkey has been able to save this tradition and follow the ancient rules and beliefs for this amazing bathing experience is very fascinating and i hope that it will stay so forever!