No visit to Istanbul is complete without taking time out of your sightseeing schedule to experience a real Turkish Bath; a hamam. The ritualistic cleansing process is more than just a wash, it is a chance to soak in the history and culture of Turkey in a thoroughly relaxing manner. There are many options for a hamam in Istanbul, some historic and some modern. Here are the top 5 (in no particular order)
Cemberlitas Hamam – Sultanahmet
It had built by Nurbanu Sultan (the mother of Sultan Murad III) in 1584. This elegant structure shows that it is the work of Mimar Sinan. The six-line inscription at the entrance of the bathhouse has remained with the original version. The changing places have been closed with 18 meters wide domes. The square planned hot room (sicaklik) has got a cornered formation consisting of 12 columns. There are domed cubicle spaces on the corners. This cubicle spaces has been separated by couplet written marble separators. Marble covered floor has been decorated with colored stones. The horizontal size of the middle stone is unequaled. The Cemberlitas Hammam serves as a double bath (Consists of two buildings adjacent to each other including two separate sections for men and women). It is one of the best, cleanest and most well maintained Hammams of Istanbul. English speaking staff is working.
Phone: 0090 212 520 18 50 / 0090 212 520 15 33
Cagaloglu Hamam – Sultanahmet
It was built in 1741 by Sultan I. Mahmoud with the aim of bringing in revenue to Hagia Sophia Mosque. The Cagaloglu Hammam which, located in the Sultanahmet district is one of the biggest Hammam of Istanbul that was built lastly. All the architectural beauty of the structure has been kept until today. There is an original inscription with a verse of Koran, above the entrance door. It is entered through the marble door to the building (with a different style of early Ottoman Hammams). The changing rooms of the men’s section are quite spacious and bright. Baroque styled fountain pool in the same section is very striking. There are eight marble columns with graven tops, four cubicle spaces and octagonal middle stone in the square planned hot room (sicaklik).
The staff speaks in English.
Phone: 0090 212 522 24 24/ 0090 212 512 85 53
Suleymaniye Hamam – Sultanahmet (Beyzit)
It has been built in 1577 by Mimar Sinan together with The Suleymaniye Kulliye (a complex of buildings adjacent to a mosque). The Hammam in Beyazit is the work of Mimar Sinan’s master builder period. This work reflects the genius of Mimar Sinan. It attracts attention with its beauty and wideness. Mimar Sinan was always taking bath in Suleymaniye Hammam which was very close to his house. The cubicle spaces that used by him are still being protected. The Hammam inaugurated by Sultan Suleiman (Suleiman the Magnificent). After the ceremony, Suleiman entered to the Hammam for bathing.The spacious and bright hot room section of this Hammam is consisting of three iwans and four cubicle spaces. The eight marble columns surrounding the middle stone and the barrel vaults between the columns are the unique examples of the Turkish architecture.
Phone: 0090 212 520 34 10
Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam – Sultanahmet
The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam in Istanbul was designed and built by Mimar Sinan, the chief Ottoman architect. It was built at the request of Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century (1556-1557 AD). It was built where the ancient public baths of Zeuxippus (100-200 AD) used to stand, between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The area is also particularly significant as the site where the Temple of Zeus once stood. The hamam was operational until 1910 when it closed for many years. It was later used to house the convicts during times when the nearby Sultanahmet Prison was full. Subsequently it was a storage place for paper and oil. The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam, one of the most beautiful monuments in Istanbul, was restored for the first time between the years 1957-1958 and was a carpet bazaar until 2007. Although the hamam was built in the classical period Ottoman bath style, it was an innovation in Turkish bath architecture to have the sections for men and women constructed on the same axis as mirror images of each other.
Phone: +90 212 523 04 87
Mihrimah Sultan Hamam – Edirnekapı
Mihrimah Sultan Hamam was built between 1562-1565 by Sinan for Suleiman the Magnificent’s daughter, Mihrimah Sultan. Mihr-i Mah, means “the sun and the moon”. Suleiman ordered two kulliyes (one in Uskudar, one in Edirnekapi) to be built by Sinan. There is a myth about these two Mosques. It is said that Mimar Sinan fell in love with Mihrimah and built the smaller mosque in Edirnekapi without palace approval, on his own, and dedicated it to his love. The legend continues to say that on March 21th (Northern hemisphere spring equinox, when day time and night time are equal and Mihrimah’s alleged birthday, hence the name) at the time of sunset, if you have clear view of both mosques, you will notice that as the sun sets behind the only minaret of the mosque in Edirnekapı, the moon rises between the two minarets of the mosque in Üsküdar. The Mihrimah Sultan hamam has a square shape camekan area which is built on top of twelve columns.
Phone: +90 212 517 35 35
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