Saturday, May 21, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 16 - Hamam, The Turkish Bath

It was misting before I go out... therefore the streets looked wet and shiny.
However, after the rain, the atmosphere was relatively clean and no smog remained which was nice.

I took a tram to go to one of the traditional hamam, the Turkish bath.
There are numbers of hamams, those exterior are pitifully damaged, but this one is a bit better, relatively speaking. Some of them seriously look like Roman ruins.

Because I arrived early and nobody was there yet, owner of the hamam allowed me to take pictures luckily.
The change rooms are like this. Each cabin loom is assigned for one guest so that your privacy and safety are nicely kept. Under the Muslim culture, showing off your naughty bit is very rude, completely opposite to Japanese bathing rule, so you must be careful about that. Before going into the bath, you must cover your naughty part by Peshtemal, a thin towel.

Then the main bath room is typically like this. This is relatively smaller one.
All made with real marble stone, and the center table is heated up, guests are laying over the stone and warm himself, then splash the sweats by lukewarm (or cold) water. Therefore the entire bath room goes steamy, just like a steam mist sauna.

When the bath became busy with Turkish customers, it looks like Pier 39 in San Francisco. Lots of sea mammals: seals and walruses are beaching on the table. (No howling however, just chatting and laughing which is also funny to me too)

Oh, btw. When I re-visited this hamam in May, I met an old guy who is around my age and...he looked exactly like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.(Actually the race between Iraqi and Turkish are different. But that old dude still looked like a former president of Iraqi) Then... If I try comparing two meticulously and precisely, The Turkish version is a little overweight and the hair was in gray (that's my age), I think,. But Saddam captured, he was gray too so not big difference there, What I liked was nicely cleanly kept mustache. and the Turkish daddy doing the right, I saw.
Other several repeater customers on the marble table who speaks some English, told me "Does he like Saddam, doesn't he?" and teasing him a lot. Mr, Turkish Saddam was giving punching those friends (dangerous! he's powerful for sure) but I noticed the Turkish Saddam does even recognize himself somewhat (or pretty quite) similar to the real former Iraqi president, and keeps his hairstyle and the mustache in the same styles when Hussein was the top leader... I wanted to ask him how often people tells him 'you look like Saddam' and how he can be survived from those less-thoughtful negative comments as well as those too-much-friendly questions from the strangers. Unfortunately, Mr. Saddam couldn't speak fluent English so the answer are uncertain, but I feel I couldn't create extra friendship with whim... Let me try next time if I saw him. I liked his gray salt & pepper mustache and if he has a good sense of humor similar to me, we might be able to overcome the language barrier.

Then...  My most favorite part is the steam room is ceiling. (expect chatting the guests) The main bathroom has a domed cupola with skylight holes.
Yes, it's moldy and dirty a bit... if you don't like this, you may go to highest-end luxurious hamam which is designed for tourists, but entrance costs one digit more expensive easy, and the massage is not so serious. I am okay with this place because the actual "cleaning yourself" areas are cleaned up well, and communicating & helping with local people each other is a fun. (if they speak English, though)

There are masseurs waiting for customers, and they always look like professional wrestlers. Seriously, they used to be a wrestler of Turkish oil wrestling. When they retired, they go to a school of masseurs located in Tokat, northeast of Ankara where the town is called as "the town of hamam." Therefore the genuine masseurs in hamam are all came from Tokat. When I heard that story, I thought it sounds like Tiger's Cave (虎の穴) in the story of Japanese manga, Tiger Mask. (LOL)

After the skin scrub, oil massage and foam (bubble) massage, followed with beaching walruses in the steamy room, I was totally exhausted. Then I was wrapped up with Turkish towels and rest in the cabin (or opening resting areas) for one or couple hours until my sweat reasonably stops.

Feeling a kind of fatigue but nicely relaxed, going back to the hotel room slowly... then I saw this street view.
I was amazed by those satellite antennas... cable TV might be smarter. Also, the angle of the dishes tell the latitude is high. When I saw those dish antennas in Indonesia or Singapore, those are facing the top of sky.

Before returning the hotel room, I stopped by a casual restaurant for late lunch.


  1. obaKoba-sann,

    To let guests have an extreme good feeling in body and brain, the updated bath in an attractive or pleasing manner of the hamam was considered to be planned with reference to the individuality and established practice.
    This may be a location where social agreement fits physical and mental health to bring guests exclusive time and a memorable sense in the fists, palms and fingers of the hamam’s counselors.

    You’ve got an oasis to indulge yourself in Turkey, haven’t you?

    best denki

  2. ほー、話には聞いていましたが、ハマムですか、こんな室内なんですねえ。ここで、モミモミされるわけですか?最近は日本でも大型の入浴施設なんかで、韓国スタイルのあかすりなんかは有りますが、温まりながらのモミモミ、やったら受けるかも・・・いずれ、気持ちよさそうです。

  3. ほー、話には聞いていましたが、ハマムですか、こんな室内なんですねえ。ここで、モミモミされるわけですか?最近は日本でも大型の入浴施設なんかで、韓国スタイルのあかすりなんかは有りますが、温まりながらのモミモミ、やったら受けるかも・・・いずれ、気持ちよさそうです。