Things You Did Not Know About Turkish Hamams

Historical Turkish Hamam in Istanbul

by Tuncel Toprak

in Sightseeing

I always hear mixed reviews of historical hamams from our guests. Some love it , some hate it. So it is usually very risky to recommend one. The rule of thumb is that luxury hotel hamams are pricey but better serviced, while historical hamams are cheaper and lesser serviced. But there are of course exceptions.
You have probably read tons of info about Turkish Hamams in your guidebooks. I will not try to add any more historical or architectural info. Bringing together bits of details about the “hamam world” and a short list of my favorite hamams is the aim of my post.

5 Things Locals Know, You Probably Don’t

  • Hamams are usually chosen for bank commercials. I have no idea why though.
  • Don’t be tempted to assume that the hot hamam water is curative or health giving.
  • Ferzan Özpetek shot a movie named “Hamam”. Great music. Put it in your list of “Things to buy from Istanbul”.
  • Historically, mothers visited hamams to examine the ‘would-be’ brides for their sons. Remember that hamams and mosques were the top two places to socialize in old Turkish society.
  • A place to feel good ( from a woman’s point of view) as you watch lots of oversized women around. Think you have weight problems? Well, just look around.

My Favorite Hotel Hamams

Hamam at Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hamam at Four Seasons Hotel.

Çirağan Palace Hotel

  • Prices start at 120 Euros
  • Cirağan Caddesi 32, Beşiktaş
  • Telephone: +90 212 259 03 73

Four Seasons Bosphorus

  • Prices start at 90 Euros
  • Çirağan Caddesi 28, Beşiktaş
  • Telephone: +90 212 381 40 00

My Favorite Historical Hamams

Çemberlitaş Hamamı

Cagaloglu Hamam in Istanbul.

Cagaloglu Hamam in Istanbul. Very Ottoman , is it not?

  • One of the oldest in Istanbul. Every corner feels like Ottoman times. Check out our review of the Çemberlitaş Hamam.
  • Prices start at 40 TL
  • Vezirhan Caddesi 8, Çemberlitaş
  • Telephone: +90 212 522 79 74

Cağaloğlu Hamamı

  • Listed in the book “1000 Places To See Before You Die.”
  • One of the oldest Turkish baths in the world, 300 years of continuous business.
  • Claims to have cleaned among others Tony Curtis, Kaiser Wilhelm and Florence Nightingale.
  • Prices start at 40 TL
  • Yerebatan Caddesi, near Cağaloğlu Meydanı
  • Telephone: +90 212 522 24 24

[Photo Source]

What's Next

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Roving Jay May 14, 2012 at 12:15 am

On my last trip to Istanbul, we visited the Cağaloğlu Hamamı. It’s a perfect place to recouperate after days and days of walking around this fabulous city. Next trip I’d like to try Çemberlitaş Hamamı. No matter which one you try, take your own Kese with you – you can pick them up cheaply at one of stalls at the Grand Bazaar.

We have a couple of traditional Hamams in Bodrum – and the oldest is Bardakçı Hamamı, which is a little bit off the beaten track, and looks a bit ramshakled from the outside, but offers a traditional Turkish Bath experience.

— Jay


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