Is Turkish Bath Worth Doing? (Is Hammam Worth Doing?)

Turkish Bath or hammam (Hamam in Turkish) is one of the most well-known things about Turkey and Turkish culture. The Turkish bath, or hammam, is a public bathhouse where people would bathe, relax and socialize. Back in the day, when most people did not have their own bathrooms in their houses, the hammam was the only place one could bathe and clean themselves. As Islam requires full-body ablution and puts a lot of importance on hygiene, hammams have always been an integral part of Islamic and Turkish culture. 

Traditionally, every village and every neighborhood in every city had at least one hammam with separate sections for men and women, and sometimes had two separate hammams, one for men, and one for women. People in the same neighborhood would go to hammam together, bathe, chat about their daily lives, and relax with a nice cup of Turkish coffee or tea after their bath in the common areas of hammams. 

Today, since most people have bathrooms with showers at their homes, many small hammams have closed due to the gentrification of urban areas. However, hundreds of hammams throughout the country are still operating because there are still many good reasons to go to a hammam:

#1 Deep Cleansing

turkish bath

The Hammam, a.k.a Turkish bath is more than just a place to shower and get clean. It is a place to get a nice bubble bath, full body scrub, oil massage, and relax. Hammam is a lot more like a traditional form of the modern-day spa, and many spas throughout the world actually include a hammam inside their complex. When you’re in the hammam, the steam helps to open up the pores, allowing for the removal of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Later the “tellak” (bath attendant), will scrub off your dead skin with a special scrubbing glove and allow your body to breathe. A deep-tissue body scrub will make you feel light as a feather.

#2 Relaxation

turkish bath

Hammams are very special places to reflect, the warm presence of steam, the sound, and the embracing touch of water, in an elegant white marble room creates such a magical soothing atmosphere that can help you to greatly reduce stress and feel genuinely relaxed. Many people find that the hammam is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and recharge their souls and body. Combine that with a nice bubble bath and body scrub, and top it off with an oil massage, you will feel like you have been reborn.   

#3 Health Benefits of Turkish Bath

In addition to deep cleansing, the Hammam can also provide many other health benefits. For example, steam and heat can help to open up the sinuses and improve respiratory health. The heat and steam of the hammam can also help to improve circulation. This can be especially beneficial if you spend a lot of time sitting or standing at your work (or in general). The body scrubbing step may also help to promote skin firmness and the heat and the steam may also help ease inflammation and muscle pain. 

#5 A Historical Experience

Hammams, just like mosques and fountains, are amongst the oldest still-in-use buildings in most cities since they are public buildings and many of them were built as charity projects of Ottoman royal family members or governors. Most residential buildings from Ottoman times are long gone, as they were private property and eventually got sold to a modern-day contractor by their inheritors, but places that serve the public, like water fountains, mosques, hammams, and bazaars tend to stay. In fact, the oldest running business in all of Turkey is a hammam, located in the heart of the historical old city, Çemberlitaş. 

The Çemberlitaş Hamam is not only the oldest running hammam in Turkey, but it is also the oldest business in Turkey and it is operating since 1584. 

Bathing in a 400+ years old hammam is not just a relaxing, soothing experience that is good for your skin and well-being, but it is also a historical experience as you bathe in the same hall where thousands of historical figures have bathed since the Ottoman times. A hammam like that has a lot more unique feel and a lot more tradition to it. 

Bear in mind that historical hammams like the Çemberlitaş Hammam are quite busy in the tourism season, so you should make a reservation in advance if you’d like to experience the Turkish bath in the oldest hammam of Turkey.