The Turkish bath, also know 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.
“What happens in a Hamam?”
Well, the ritual is simple. After entering to our hamam at Kelebek Hotel, you will find yourself in the camekan with changing cubicles. 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 semi-transparent door and reach the core Sicaklik (hot room). To feel more comfortable, we suggest our guests to have their swim-suits with them as well.
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.
If you purchase peeling & soap massage, which is known as “Kese” in Turkish Bath culture, 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 many different massage types including classic, arometherapy, medical, shiatsu therapy and others in special massage rooms with a relaxing music on the background. The massage is guaranteed to make you feel relaxed. When it is done, 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, lobby) to rest, dry off, drink tea, coffee or refreshments and socialize with other guests which are now “Hamamers”.
After resting as long as you like, it is time to go. You will get up and get dressed and as you walk to your room and pass by the mirrors, take a fleeting look at yourself. Your skin will be glowing rosily. But you will feel it as soft as a baby’s skin.
So go ahead and enjoy a Turkish Hamam, sure in the knowledge that now you will be doing it in the correct manner.
The ritual of a Turkish Bath as described by the Cave Hotel, Goreme in Cappadoccia, Turkey.