TURKISH BATH OR HAMAM
TURKISH BATH OR HAMAM
The Turkish bath, also known as hamam or hammam, is one of the ancient world's most widely exported customs. The tradition of the Turkish bath was born generations ago, adopted from Romans and Byzantines and then perfected by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks and has continued even until today. There are three traditional and a couple modern Hamams in Cappadocia. They all offer the same Hamam facilities but we suggest the traditional ones in Urgup, Nevsehir, Avanos and Göreme which have historical buildings.
"What happens in a Hamam?" Well, the ritual is simple. After being driven to one of the hamams in Cappadocia by our driver, you will find yourself in the camekan, a hall lined with changing cubicles. In an old-fashioned hamam this is the most impressive part, with a drinking fountain in the center or sometimes a marble pool with a water jet. Before your encounter with water, an attendant leads you into the Sogukluk (cold room) where you adjust to the heat. Next, wearing only a Pestemal (a large striped or checked towel fringed at both ends and wrapped around the chest), and clanking on the marble floor in your nalins (clogs), you pass through a wooden door and reach the core Sicaklik (hot room).
Sicaklik (also known as Hararet), is a high room filled with the sound of splashing water, the scent of soap, and wafting steam through which daily concerns and worries cannot penetrate. In the gentle moist heat your body relaxes, and your nerves are soothed. You sit down at one of the marble wash basins which line the walls, and adjusting the temperature of the water to a delicious warmth, dip the copper bathing bowl into the basin and tip the water over your head and body. Waves of relaxation seem to pour right through you as the water ripples down.
Then your attendant (tellak for men and natir for women) will pour hot water on you and then begin to scrub every square inch of your body. Basically, every millimeter of dead and dirty skin is scrubbed off, even the skin between your fingers and toes.
Afterwards you are lathered with liquid soap and shampoo and given the choice of a full body massage (a little bit painful for the first time, but said to be well worth). The men and women working in the Turkish Hamams are known to give extremely invigorating massages. If you're up for it, let them work away your stress and weariness. The massage will start at your neck and work every muscle down the entire length of your spine to your feet. This is especially wonderful and guaranteed to make you feel relaxed. You will roll over, and the attendant will wash you from head to toe again as if you are a small child. One last shower and then it is time to leave the Sicaklik, steam room.
Then you are given fresh towels and again brought to Sogukluk (the cool room) to rest, dry off, drink tea, coffee or refreshments and socialize with other locals and tourists which are now "Hamamers".
After one hour, it is time to go. You will get up and get dressed and as you pass from the bathing rooms take a fleeting look at yourself in the mirror. Your skin will be glowing rosily. But you will feel it, as soft as a baby's skin. Our driver will be waiting you to drive you back to the hotel. Turkish Bath or Hamam experience for one hour is 25 USD per person including transfers, scrub and massage.