Çemberlitaş Bath

Çemberlitaş Hammamı

Hammam is an essential part of Turkish culture, which is why it is highly advisable to visit a Turkish bath when traveling to Istanbul. The name "hammam" stems from an Arabic word "ham", meaning "hot". Hammam is heated by the steam coming from boiling water and dispersed through small holes in the walls. The interiors of Turkish baths have always been very luxurious, as Prophet Mohammad himself announced that it was necessary to go to the bath as "Cleanliness is half the faith". Men and women take their steam baths separately, so every hammam consists of a male and a female halves. Tradition of going to public baths was born in Turkey later to be spread throughout the whole Islamic world.

One of the oldest baths in Istanbul, Gedik Pasha Hammam, was built in 1475. In the 17th century there were about three hundred public and several thousand private bath houses in Istanbul, some of which were reconstructed Roman thermae and even churches! One of the old hammams in Istanbul is Çemberlitaş, a former Sultan’s bath, situated on the square of the same name. The bath was built in 1584 by a widow of Sultan Selim, who was notoriously known as a Drunkard (ironically enough he died 10 years before the construction of the hammam by slipping in a bath, most likely not being very sober). The hammam is also worth mentioning as it is surrounded by historical and architectural monuments, so you can combine sightseeing with a bit of rest! Moreover, the bath has retained its original ancient interior. The domed entrance area (camekan) with three changing rooms leads to a warm section (ilyklyk) roofed with three domes. From ilyklyk you get to the main room (harare), the so-called hot section with four rooms (halvets) in its corners, which are the hottest parts of hammam. Dating back to the Sultans’ times there have been stone-beds (göbek taşı) with partially erased inscriptions on them.

The capacity of Çemberlitaş hammam is limited, so there are almost always people queuing in front of the entrance. The time to take baths is unlimited within the opening hours. Some additional services are offered here, including peeling, massage, Indian head massage, aromatherapy, reflexotherapy, and clay masks. Remember that it is forbidden to use your own cosmetics inside the hammam. When entering the bath all the visitors are provided with a bath set and a clothes box with a key to lock it.

Address: Mollafenari Mh.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 6 am – midnight
How to reach: Çemberlitaş (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.008548, 28.971502