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Istanbul Hamams - Turkish Baths

I sometimes post hamam photos and videos on my Instagram page. I often receive questions about these contents and Turkish baths, mostly from the visitors in Istanbul such as where these hamam photos and videos are taken, which Turkish bath I can recommend, if I am working in a hamam in Istanbul or not, etc. I see that there is a huge curiosity about hamams / Turkish baths in Istanbul among visitors. So I decided to write this text for an answer regarding to this interest. I've sometimes experienced the hamams in Istanbul and I'll try to tell you my observations. Of course I will not rate the hamams of Istanbul here but I will try to make a small categorization of them to help you what kind of venue you can choose.


Sweating in the hamam before body scrub
Hamam - Turkish Bath

First of all, my hamam photos and videos aren't taken in a traditional historical Turkish baths in Istanbul. It may be disappointing for you but they are taken in a five star hotel's artificial hamam designed for their spa services. These new hamams are in a different category of course. Many big hotels in Istanbul have their own hamams and they are clean enough but they are not historical Turkish baths. And no, I am not working in a hamam. My hamam photos and videos are taken only to create contents for my Instagram.


As I’ve experienced so far, there are different types of historical hamams in Istanbul with their customer profiles such as the hamams mostly visited by local people to continue the hamam tradition and the ones serving as oriental touristic venues. Now I’m gonna try to expand what I am trying to say.



Traditional Purpose: Many old hamams have been closed or renovated in years but there are still many working Turkish baths in the streets of Istanbul. Some of them are small and some are bigger than the others. While some of these hamams have separate women and men sections, some have different working hours to serve for women and men. Yes, every house has their own bathrooms and people mostly don’t need to clean in public baths anymore. But there are still people prefer to continue their tradition to clean, to have body scrub from a “tellak” and to get a foam massage in these hamams. People also prefer to go there to socialize with other customers or with their friends. Some women and men also visit hamams to continue Turkish bride and groom hamam traditions with huge groups before their weddings ceremonies.



Touristic Hamams: These historical Turkish baths have been mostly renovated in recent years and they serve as touristic venues. They are usually spotlessly clean and their entrance and service prices are much higher. They may have different regulations such as acceptance with reservations, welcoming and informing the customers at the door by an employee working as a host, accepting the female and male customers inside together, etc. But the main point is that they mostly serve tourists. Local people don’t usually prefer to visit these hamams. People from other countries may find the opportunity to live an ultra sterilized oriental experience in Istanbul by visiting one of these hamams. I have never seen such a scene but for example, a belly dancer on the heating stone doesn’t sound like a weird idea in this kind of touristic historical baths.


Visiting a hamam - Turkish bath is a good idea during the Istanbul visit
Forget the time in the Turkish Bath

I’ve tried to draw a template through my observations. However while foreign visitors have had a higher interests in the local hamams in recent years, Turkish people may also choose to visit more touristic hamams for a more luxurious experience.

 

Istanbul visitors mostly have more detailed questions about the hamams and I am frequently asked my recommendations especially by whom see my instagram posts in a hamam. I prefer talking about my recommendations and answering these detailed questions of my massage clients after my massage sessions. Because people may have variety of expectations and curiosities about Turkish baths so I prefer to explain the intriguing points in detail face to face.

So make your questions ready before coming to my massage sessions. As a massage therapist in Istanbul I’ll try to help you have a good hamam experience by answering all your questions after our oil massage session ;)

You can visit my web page: massageist.com in order to get my contact details to book a massage appointment with me.




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