Architecture of Turkish Baths Hamam

Architecture of Turkish Baths (Hamam)

When we have a look at their architectural forms today, Turkish baths are easily understood to have no similarity with Roman and Byzantium bath and they were influenced by some other sources. Seljuk Turks who emigrated from Central Asia to Asia minor, constructed some simple buildings to meet their needs put by the rules of the religion about body care and cleanness and according to their traditions. In the Ottoman time Murat I was the first to have Old Spa built in Bursa to a Greek architect named Christodulos. The construction of big bath started after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih (Conqueror).

  • Influence Of Religion
  • Public Turkish Baths
  • Palace Turkish Baths
  • Spas
  • Purpose of Public Baths
  • Usage Stle
  • Arrangement of Spot
  • -changing room
  • -coldness part
  • -hot part
  • -heating and the water tank
  • Heating Techinique
  • When we have a look at their architectural forms today, Turkish baths are easily understood to have no similarity with Roman and Byzantium bath and they were influenced by some other sources. Seljuk Turks who emigrated from Central Asia to Asia minor, constructed some simple buildings to meet their needs put by the rules of the religion about body care and cleanness and according to their traditions. In the Ottoman time Murat I was the first to have Old Spa built in Bursa to a Greek architect named Christodulos. The construction of big bath started after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih (Conqueror)
  • Fatih Sultan Mehmet had Ağa Hamami, Araplar, Ebuveka, Eyup, and Cukur Hamam built respectively. These five big Turkish bath were constructed between 1463 – 1471.
  • After Fatih , the construction of big bath continued and Evliya Celebi ( the great Turkish traveler and author, 1611 - 1669 ) gives the number of the Turkish bath and describes them in a detailed way in his Great Travel book ( Seyahatname). The article that Evliya Celebi wrote in 1640 about The Spas of Bursa , he increases the number of spas up to 3000 in that there were 3000 spas in personnel households. These articles show that how much importance that Turks attached to Turkish bath. He gives more detailed information about the Turkish bath of Istanbul, turkey. He says that there are 168 big public Turkish baths in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • He also says that in Cukur Turkish bath (Hamam), the fifth biggest bath built by Fatih, 5000 people were able to have bath at the same time. Of course, it seems to be exaggerated. He reports that there were 4536 private baths, 300 in Galata and 800 in Uskudar.
  • The number of baths in Istanbul reached to 300 containing the small ones. The descriptions and analysis made by Evliya Celebi has of little importance since they were not made in an architectural point of view.
  • Influence of Religion
  • The verses of Holy Koran (the holy book of Muslims) had great influence on the way of having bath and construction of public Turkish bath.
  • In Islam, it is not permitted to have bath by using the water which is not flowing. According to Holy Koran flowing water is a must for cleanness. While the Europeans have bath in a bathtub , Muslim people have bath by flowing water from a fountain and pouring it on their bodies and hands and they don’t find the other way enough for cleanness. Because of this reason, bathtubs or pools for having bath cannot be seen in Turkish Baths. Turks didn’t use the bath that they take over from Byzantines in their original forms since they all contain pools for having bath without any exceptions. Turks used spas with pool to cure various diseases. In these spas the purpose was not cleaning. Firstly, the body used to be cleaned and they went into the pool after all.
  • Public Turkish Baths
  • Turkish Baths played a very important role, even for the man on the street. Paying great attention to the verses of Holy Koran about cleanness everything around him, his village, city, and bath had to be clean. All of these buildings were far from luxury and only for meeting the needs of people about cleanness. If the bath was double, the Turkish baths hamam with two different parts one for women and the other for men, it was always open. Or if it was single, the Turkish bath ( hamam ) open to men or women in different times of the day determined in advance, it was open to men or women in different periods. In the old times, it was understood that whether it was men’s or women’s time by looking at the color of the towel hung on the door of the Turkish bath. Turkish Baths have always been constructed as detached buildings. These buildings ,which have a very simple and plain outer view, were usually built by Sultans or charitable people. They were usually next to other public buildings such as a mosque, medresseh (theological school attached to a mosque ) or soup kitchen ( imaret – place which served free food to the poor and others)
  • Palace Turkish Baths
  • The description of Topkapi Palace Turkish bath made by Evliya Celebi is very interesting. It may give us information about how much importance that Sultans attached to this part of the palace and how they decorated it in a delicate way during their ruling time. It is understood that there were gold and silver covered cold and hot water fountains, and there were sofas with gold and silver inlay works. There was a star-shaped area for Sultan to have bath and cells on the lines for mistresses.
  • Hunkar Turkish bath (Hamami), which is designed by Mimar Sinan, may also give us information about the palace bath. Of course the bath assigned to Harem was very well decorated.
  • Spas
  • Hammer employed himself with the ethimology of the word kaplica spa. This word in Greek comes from the word smoke. Turks use the word ilica. Persians call it germab, which means hot water. It is known that the word warm comes from the same root for Arabic and German.
  • Since the purpose of these bath are different, their architectural characteristic is not the same as in the ordinary bath. Besides the Turkish style bath with bathing places basins, they also have a big pool inside. Water comes from a source to these buildings, which contain different kind of minerals, and leaves them through a canal and goes towards a valley.
  • Turks demanded these bath to cure various diseases and made it a rule to go into it only after they have cleaned their bodies under flowing water. This principle was applied strictly in the sulphur spa in Bursa. There placed lots of small pools in the interior of these bath. To arrive the main pool, it is required to clean the body by passing these small pools.
  • Purpose of Public Baths
  • Usage style:
  • The door of these baths which take place in the crowded and busy parts of the city are generally closed in the old times the large bath. Towels that were hated in front of building used to sign the bath doors that were between bazaars and shops. The people coming for bath reach to the changing room after passing a windy part. In these place or at the between floor of this part as in same samples, after taking off in the changing cells, people set to the second part that is called "coldness room" from the double doors that are opposite the main gate. After spending some time here in order to get the body accustomed to hot atmosphere, you get to the "hot room” which is the third part of building.
  • Here after bathing with the assistance of the bath attendant in the basined bathing corners and separate solitude cells, you reach to the out part bye following the same place. in my opinion, Klinghard has kept this part of our issue too long and lessened the scientific value of his work.
  • Arrangement of the spot:
  • Changing room:
  • This is the place which was called Adopyterium, Spoliaterium, Vestarium in the Ancient Roman baths. Turks have named this place "glass partition”, Arabs "water towel" and the passions "Bines".there are seats 1:00-1:20 meter high, made of stone or wood surrounding the walls of the place. The width of this changing room varies between 1, 50 and 2, 50 meters. You reach through one or two step to these places. There has been placed small niches to keep the shoes and class under the seats. Generally there is a fountain-pool made of marble at the centre to adorn this place which forms the first part of the bath. The Turks had had great pleasure of the watching and listening the sound of flowing water and as a matter of the fact, also in public private houses they had created extra place to establish thus fountains, pools and drinks fountain free for public use.
  • Near the entrance, there is an administrative cell. In some samples for the place, we can see a private gallery floor which is called "Şırvan" used as changing room that was constructed on wooden columns. changing room windows have been arranged one sided in some baths and two sided in others that take place behind the changing seats ;and also in women's baths the windows have been put under the seats. The glassy partition is generally not heated. In some samples, the heat of the place is arranged by the root windows.
  • In some baths, to dry the towels some buried fire places in arched cells have been established at an appropriate place in the entrance hall and these fireplaces also keep inside warm. These fireplaces don't have chimneys so the heated gas dries the towels on the wooden frames.
  • Coldness Part:
  • Worm Part This is the place which is known as Teridarium or Aliterium in Romans Baths. In this Part, low marble seats have been placed near the walls. Here has also been used as glassy partition in winter. The channels passing from the rough room and surrounding the inside part of the bath also hat the coldness part by going around the floor and the walls. Generally at the side of this part there exist some cells for body cleaning which have been separated with sections .There is not only used to get the body used to the heating but it is also used for religious cleaning and for people bathing here who can't stand the hot atmospheres.
  • Hot Part:
  • This part which forms the inside part of the bath used to be called Caldarium or Sudatorium in Roman Baths. Separated into two part was called "harara". Inside part can be separated in two parts: separated bathing cells which generally form some small cells at the corner of the place; they don't have doors and generally closed by towels; and the second part has the common bathing niches that take place among these cells.
  • The warmth of the cells has been increased by the steam vents placed on the walls. these bathing niches or seats which are 20 cm high from the floor and 70-100 cm wide and on them some marble basins have been established that contain hot and cold water installation. Through the seats by some open pipes, the dirty water reach to a part called "hela" passing from the coldness part. the wall have been covered partially or completely by marbles whether the bath is worthy or less worthy. In some less worthy baths the walls may have been covered by cement. At the centre of this bath, there is a heated marble stone generally in polygon type 40 cm high from the ground which is used for resting sweating and massage.
  • This place is enlightened by small windows on the domes. These are also called "Elephant eyes"
  • Here is the hottest part of the building for it is close to the rough room (hell part) that is the heating centre of the inside part of the bath. The gases which passes form the rough room to inside part and to the channels between the ground and walls of coldness part heat this place.
  • Heating Structure and the water tanks:
  • Here is the part which used to be called "Hypocaust" in Roman baths. It forms the heating centre at he back point of the building. The rough part is also the placing centre of the water installation. In this place there is a cold water tank for cold water distribution, another tank for hot water and in some samples there is a stream pool. Generally, the distribution is provided from hot water tank. All these installation are widened according to the size of the bath.
  • Heating Technique:
  • The coldness part following the entrance hall and inside bath part are heated by the hot gas which comes from the channels originating from the "hell" part the place in which there is the fireplace is below the ground floor. The front part of this place is partially or completely closed. Here forms the depot of combustibles (fuel).
  • The woods burnt in the fireplace of rough room that seems like a bakery's fire heats the water thank and the water in the pipes on one hand; and also on the bath ground heats the ground floor and passing the chimneys calls "tufeklik" in the wall, goes in to the air among the domes as in Roman times. Ground floors of the bath stand on 0 to 150 high and 0,40-0,50 m wide columns. Marble boards stand on the arches that place on these columns and so the hot gases don't directly contact to the marble.
  • The warmth of the baths is generally organized without temperature. The hot room’s temperature caries between 30 - 40 C. But the warmth of the cells (solitude rooms) near the hell (rough room) is over 40 C. The warmth of the coldness room is about 20-30 C. Before leaving the fireplace, the first purpose of fire is to heat the tank and the water in the pipes ready to be distributed. A large depot has been put at the centre of place of which water be heated. And to the sides of it, as shown in the example, a wall has been constructed and some vents have been built. The bottom of the boiler forms the ceiling of the fireplace.

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