Traditional Turkish Bath Fatih District Istanbul Turkey


Vezneciler Turkish Bath Göbek Taşı

Yesterday I experienced my second Turkish Bath – Hamam. Sometimes travel is stressful and a sauna, soak, scrub, and massage sounded soothing. Hamams in Istanbul are inexpensive, and the one I visited – Vezneciler Turkish Bath in Fatih District – is said to have “curative water” – yeah!

Vezneciler Turkish Bath İstanbul
Vezneciler Turkish Bath

Ottoman Ruler Sultan Beyazid II built the small traditional Hamam in 1481. It was renovated in 1950 when the private bath opened to the public to help provide income for the madrasa.

Why take a Turkish Bath?

The many benefits of a Turkish bath include:

  • Deep skin cleansing
  • Discharging toxins from the body
  • Accelerating blood circulation
  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Improving muscular and arthritic pain
  • Helping respiratory issues by expanding air passages
  • Diminishing inflammation
Vezneciler Turkish Bath

The woman who helped with my Hamam was gentle, but it’s a vigorous process which I’ll explain below. I recommend having a Hamam, but parts of the procedure are slightly uncomfortable. The result – feeling rejuvenated and clean – is well worth any discomfort.

Fatih District Map – ResearchGate
Hamam Lathering Process
Turkish Bath Procedure
Loosening Up

The first step is relaxing and “loosening up” your body. It’s important to sweat during this part of the process. After undressing and wrapping myself in a Turkish towel, I proceeded to the Hamam room and its heated central marble platform. No one else was there, and it was totally silent. I laid flat on my back on the heated platform for about 15 to 20 minutes – looking up at a large circular ceiling dome with small holes where the sun shined through in golden beams. For me, this part of the process was meditative and special.

Sauna Vezneciler Turkish Bath

“The loosening up part of the Hamam process is a perfect time to explore the architecture of a Turkish bath. In most cases, it’s an impressive room covered in marble featuring a big dome, decorative water basins, and an impressive göbek taşı – the central, raised marble platform above the heating source.”

Vezneciler Turkish Bath

As I slowly “baked” on the marble slab and wondered how long it would take to become well done – the attendant magically came back to save me. She led me into an adjoining room with a sauna where I remained for another fifteen long minutes. If the marble slab seemed hot – yikes for the sauna!!! I tried to relax, but just as I was about to wimp out and escape, the attendant returned, handed me a cool bottle of water, and led me to the “scrubbing” room.

Türk Hamam
Soaking and Scrubbing

The soaking, scrubbing, and washing part of the Turkish Bath process took place in a small room off the göbek taşı next to an ornate marble water basin called a kurna. The attendant soaked my body with soap and warm water. While slippery and wet, I received a “peeling” with a rough cloth mitt (kese) used to scrub and exfoliate the skin and a less-abrasive mitt for the face and neck.

Washing, Rinsing, Cooling Down, Oil Massage

The vigorous scrubbing was followed by a second more thorough lathering with a sudsy cloth swab and a wet full-body massage – head, face, and hair included – then a refreshing rinsing with cold water! After the bath, I sat in the tea room covered in Turkish towels and sipped a cup of green tea followed by a 30-minute oil massage – absolute heaven!

Bath Circular

The Hamam sends a driver to pick you up and takes you home afterwards – an excellent idea, since at the end of a Turkish bath you’re a bit spaced out and your body feels rubbery. Forget all thoughts of maintaining your coiffure or makeup during the process…

Dome Vezneciler Turkish Bath

There was no opportunity to take photos, so I’ve attached media shots from the Vezneciler Turkish Bath website. In comparison, the experience was similar to my first Hamam in Cappadocia Turkey several years ago. It’s a lighter version of massages experienced at an Ayurvedic spa in Kerala South India ten years ago. Those intense cleansing treatments and deep tissue massages have no rivals!

Street Scene Fatih District Istanbul – Depositphotos

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