A Turkey vacation definitely includes a visit to a Turkish hammam. While the bathhouse was formerly used primarily for religious cleansing and as a place of communication, today it is primarily about relaxation. Since you can never have enough of it, I took a few hours in Istanbul together with my colleague and went to a hammam – the first time ever! How exactly this expired, what you should take with you and if you really go out as a new person, I’ll tell you now.
Before you go, let me tell you a few words about the history of the Hamam: The Turkish Hamam originated several millennia ago. It goes back to the Roman bathing tradition. In Turkey, a hammam at that time served several purposes: on the one hand, it served for religious purification, which plays a major role in Islam. On the other hand, the hammam was also an important meeting place to exchange news and learn the latest gossip. Even before weddings, the Turkish bath was visited. As a result of the intensive cleaning, you have not only purified yourself externally but also washed away the past, so that you were ready for the future together. The bride usually went to the bathroom with her future mother-in-law so that she could get an idea of her daughter-in-law’s life. Today, of course, this is not the case anymore, the Turkish hammam is now mainly used for relaxation and less for cleaning.
This is how the treatment ends in a hammam
The process varies according to the hammam. However, components that are always present are the steam bath, a peeling, and a foam treatment. In a classic hammam, men and women are treated separately. Especially in more touristy regions, it can happen that no difference is made. So you should definitely bring your bikini or your swimming trunks. For us, it went to the Cemberlitas Hamam. After a short welcome and introduction, we got bathing shoes and a towel at the reception. We could lock bags and valuables in a locker.
1. Treatment on the umbilical stone
The main treatment takes place in a marble hall on a warm stone, also called a (göbek taşı). In the beginning, however, you first sit on a heated marble bench that runs along the wall. Here you get used to the heat and the high humidity quickly. The next step is to clean with warm water. For this, a small bowl is filled with water and poured over one. By the way, during my visit to the hammam women were asked beforehand if the hair should also be wet. Then it started really – it was the “Kese” – an exfoliation – on. The performing Tellak (lifeguard) removed with a rough glove old dander and stimulates the same time the blood circulation. After a short cleaning with the water dish, the foam treatment followed. For the following massage, we should first lie down on the stomach. The Tellak dips a large linen sack in soapy water and wrings it over the body. In the end, you are wrapped in a huge foam mountain. This is slowly massaged in and the muscles “gently” relaxed. Depending on the masseur, the massage can also be a bit stronger. Finally, it is washed off again with clear water. Attention, do not be alarmed: the last bowl of water in the Hamam is filled with ice-cold water!
2. Relaxation and a glass of Turkish tea
After the treatment, we went on to a rest room. Here we were supplied with Turkish tea and were able to have the treatment in peace on us and trace. If you want, you could also have a facial mask applied. Depending on how long you lay in between in the relaxation room, the treatment takes about two hours.
There are many hammams in Turkey. The costs are of course very different. From 40 euros you get already good offers, up there are no limits. You should definitely take a look around and compare. It is also worthwhile to ask in the hotel or at the agency on site, often have these with different bathrooms special conditions. Many hotels also have a large SPA area with its own hammam. Corresponding wellness packages can also be booked before the trip. The use is mostly included, only the treatment, ie the peeling and the foam treatment, costs extra.
My conclusion to the Turkish Hamam
Usually, I’m not a big fan of spa treatments or massages. The Turkish Hamam really convinced me. I learned a bit in advance and often read that it is more painful than pleasant. That was not the case at least in our application. Only the peeling is a bit stronger than expected, but the skin is softer than. The foam massage I found very pleasant. The stone on which one lies is nice and warm and the foam envelops one formally. I can recommend it to any tourist because as a new person, I’m not out of the hammam, but the more relaxed!