By Seif Kamel
No Vacation package to Istanbul is complete without spending an hour or so in a Turkish bath which will be very relaxing for your mind and body. Many Turkey vacation packages may include a visit to a Turkish bath
The Turkish have spread the tradition of these baths in many regions they were governing during the Ottoman period like Egypt which hosts a number of Turkish baths.
The Turkish baths are not quite different from those of ancient Rome except that there isn’t a cold water pool to relax in at the end of your stay.
There isn’t really a time limit when a guest is in one of the many Turkish baths, but usually one or one and half hours would be sufficient to enjoy a leisurely bath. The guests, visiting the baths as part of their Istanbul tours, will be provided with clean towels and odor soaps but you can always take your own stuff if you want to use them.
The services offered in a Turkish bath range from a self service bathing to a luxury body scrub, shampooing, and massaging. Before the guest changes his clothes, he will be provided with a cloth robe to wear and a pair of slippers to wear in the feet to move freely over the wet floor of the Bath. Many travelers who enjoy their holiday in Istanbul would go for a massage in a Turkish bath.
A traditional Turkish bath structure would begin with a “Camekun”, an internal relaxing courtyard near the entrance of the building. This where the guests change their clothes and take a relaxing cup of tea after they finish bathing. Many travelers who go for a private tour in Turkey find the Turkish baths relaxing and refreshing.
After changing, the guest will enter the “Sogukulk”, a passageway between the hot room and the “Camekun”. The “Bararet”, or the hot room is where all the action takes place and it is actually the place of the bath. The guest can stay in this heated room, which is similar in some aspects to the Sauna, for as long as he pleases. Staying in these hot rooms is quite enjoyable for anybody spending a Turkey Tour.
A marble plinth is usually positioned in the center of the hot room and this is where the guest receives his marvelous massage.
The Cagaloglu Baths
One of the most marvelous Turkish baths in Istanbul is the ones built by Sultan Mohamed I in 1741. The income of these baths were planned to go for the library the Sultan built in Hagia Sofia when it was functioning as a mosque. A trip to Hagia Sofia is usually included in any Turkey private tours.
In most of the smaller baths in Turkey, there is some times where men and women can use the same facilities in the same place, but in larger baths, like this one, there are entirely separate sections. In the Cagaloglu baths, the men’s section and the women’s section are built opposite to each others and they are entered from different streets.
Each of the two sections consists of the three traditional sections; the entrance area, the passageway, and the hot room.
Even if the tourists spending their Turkey tours do not want to have any services or massages, they can still take a look inside the bath to view the process and the amazing architecture of the historical building.
The guests will view some traditional Turkish regalia including wooden clogs that the women used to wear. It is always a good idea to have a nice cup of tea in the Camekun even if you are not planning to go inside the bathing area. Many private Turkey tours would include a visit to this marvelous historical baths.
The Baths of Roxelana
These set of baths were built by Sultan Suleiman the magnificent by the most famous architect at the time, Sinan Pasha. The structure was actually named after Roxelana, the beloved wife of the Sultan.
The structure was built for the use for the congregation that was carried out in Hagia Sofia when the building was serving as a mosque.
The Baths of Roxelana are considered to be the most marvelously looking baths in Istanbul with the women’s entrance at the end of the building and the men’s entrance on the other end.
The structure now serves as a public governmental carpet market. However, the features of the historical baths are still quite clear. Viewing the structure from inside would be a nice chance for the guests who would like to go for the Turkish bath experience and want to see the interior of these structures.
Each of the ends of the structure starts with a Camekun, a huge domed hall that originally had a lovely fountain in the middle.
Afterwards, there is the traditional small passageway that leads to the hot water room. This section is decorated magnificently with colored marbles reflecting the royal style of the historical baths.
The bath of Fuastina in Miletus
Miletus was always renowned for its arts, politics and trade than any other ancient Greek city. Many one day escorted Turkey tours include a visit to Miletus and many other historical places in the region.
The city was once the major port of the Ionian League and it flourished during the Roman era to become a center for importing wool and textile dyes to Ankara.
When the Persian took control of the Greek cities in the 6th century BC, Miletus has lead a revolt against the Persian rule and this was why Darius, one of the most power Persian kings, has destroyed the city in 479 BC and the Romans rebuilt it again when they took control of the region
The historical structures that still remain until today include a marvelous huge theatre that used to host up to 15000 people and it was built around 100 AD. Another great structure in Miletus is the bath of Fuastina.
The baths of Fuastina was built in the 2nd century AD and it is considered to be among the most marvelous buildings in the ancient city of Miletus.
The structures were mainly built out of bricks and stones and it was a huge building. The Palasetra, the ruins that lie in front of the baths, is one of the most notable sections that one must view. There is also an imposing statue of the river god, Meandrous, in of the rooms of the bath.
This is besides the Balat Mosque built in the 14th century and it is among the finest examples of the Islamic architecture of the time.
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