The Infamous Turkish Bath

07:45 Alyson Tart 2 Comments

Everyone seems to know about the Turkish baths. And when people come, they all say, oh, let's try a Turkish bath!

And then I inform them about the specifics of it and then for most people the interest is gone.

These same reasons are why I haven't yet tried a Turkish bath. A stranger bathing you, scrubbing you down, all while you are almost in your birthday suit.

Finally, this weekend, I gave up my insecurities and visited my first hamam.  While I wasn't brave enough to try a really local place, I think the experience is probably similar. I'm sure I would have gotten a bit less rushed and more friendly experience at a local place, but I wanted to know what I was getting into.

So, I picked out the Çemberlitas Hamam in the old town. It has a history dating back to 1584 when it was built by the prolific Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. I figured if nothing else, I would have a pretty old building to look at.



I got the full service, bathing, scrub, and massage. So what were my thoughts? It was everything I expected and a bit more that I didn't expect. I expected the scrub, the sauna atmosphere of the room, the normal massage. What I didn't expect was the comraderie in the room. Even at a tourist place, there seemed to be plenty of locals, people talking, laughing and lounging (although I didn't do much lounging by myself). And despite being almost in the nude, everyone was so comfortable. Forget about American scruples and confidence issues, we’re all women, right?



Thinking about trying a Turkish bath? I say give it a shot. And, while the hamam I tried was nice, try something with a bit more local flavor. You'll probably get a better deal and better service.  Don't worry about being totally confused, just give in and do what everyone else is doing. You can't go wrong!

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2 comments:

  1. Love going to the hamam! I just keep on my bikini bottoms and have no issues with the rest. I also like being able to go to a spa hamam with my husband. We've had great couple experiences in Fethiye and recently at the Gönüferah Hotel in Bursa!

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    1. Joy - I enjoyed it! I think it will be better the next time now that I know the routine. We'll have to check out the couples spa

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