Atrium Hamam Novi Sad Serbia


Atrium Hamam Reception

It’s been rainy in Novi Sad this week, with temperatures in the mid-40s to low-60s (7ºC – 17ºC). I’m enjoying the cooler weather, but the rain has been too severe for outside activities. I’m not complaining, but performing arts venues are fewer than I had hoped, with most of them in Belgrade. A local international short film festival is scheduled later in October. Novi Sad is also known for its animation festival.

Atrium Hammam Steam Room – vojvodina.travel

On the very rainy days, I walked to nearby cinemas and saw the new Clint Eastwood film, Cry Macho, and of course, Daniel Craig in the latest 007 movie, No Time to Die. Both were excellent and thoroughly enjoyed!

Atrium Hamam Scrubbing Tables – Atrium Hamam Novi Sad

Thankfully, my sprained ankle is its normal size again. When the rain subsides, I’m ready for hiking at Fruska Gora National Park. There really isn’t any viable way of getting there except via auto, so I’m checking into renting a car. The Park is a short 30-minute drive.

Hamam Spa Cold-Water Pool – Atrium Hamam Novi Sad
Fruska Gora National Park

Fruska Gora, “once an island and now a mountain,” is Serbia’s oldest national park and home to sixteen spectacular orthodox monasteries built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Positioned between the Danube and Sava Rivers, the Park exhibits indigenous flora, fauna, and geology, protected species, and “natural rarities“.

Fruska Gora National Park – Travelsewhere

There should be several winter hikes to enjoy. Fruska Gora climate is “sub continental,” and winter temperatures get as low as 30ºF or colder. The area is popular for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and camping.

Atrium Hamam Stairway – Moj Novi Sad
Atrium Hamam

I decided to book a spa day at Atrium Hamam, a few blocks from my apartment. It was an incredible experience! The hamam is more Arabic than Turkish, so it was different than those I’ve experienced in Turkey and Bosnia. Water and exotic herbal teas were available throughout the visit.

Fruska Gora – Odmaraliste Zmajevac
Arabian Versus Turkish Hamam

The main difference between Arabian and Turkish hamams is the use of steam rather than water. I spent extended time in the intense but soothing heat of the marble steam room. That was only possible by repeatedly dunking myself in the cold-water pool, which, at first, felt like hot water! Every pore in my body was opened and cleansed. It was fantastic! The steam room was followed by an equally intense body scrub and a 60-minute deep-relaxation massage.

Fruska Gora National Park – itinari

I’ve exalted my hamam experiences in blog posts from Sarajevo, Istanbul, and Cappadocia. I loved them all! They leave you feeling calm, clean, and rejuvenated! Historically, hamams are a social place. While enjoying the spa and improving their health, friends get caught up on each other’s lives.

Atrium Restoran – Fedja Kiselicki
Hamam Benefits

Whether they’re Arabian, Roman, or Turkish, hamams “detoxify the body, cleanse the skin and airways, and have a positive effect on the nervous system”. The marble hamam steam room has heated benches, floors, and walls, with an air temperature of about 50ºC (122ºF), and humidity of almost 100%. Many “find the hamam more pleasant than a sauna, where on the average, the temperature is a scorching 80ºC (176ºF), and humidity is below 30%.

Atrium Restoran – hamam.rs
Calming

Hamam heat “has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and mind and can improve sleep disorders, fatigue, and stress”. Hamam treatments “help you regain the positive energy needed to cope with everyday life”. Alternating between steam heat and a cold-water pool dilates and shrinks blood vessels, increasing circulation.

Atrium Restoran – hamam.rs
Cleansing and Pain Relieving

The “pores expand in the heat, softening the superficial layer of skin cells”. When followed by a thorough scrubbing, the “process enables a complete skin cleansing”. Hamams help relieve pain in joints and muscles by elevating the oxygen supply to affected areas. Steam heat increases the blood supply to respiratory tract mucous membranes, making breathing easier.

Fruska Gora National Park – ResearchGate
Atrium Restaurant and Owner

After my hamam, I spoke briefly with the owner, Mariana Čuljak. Mariana “spent much of her life in the pharmaceutical industry”. Later, she renovated the building over a period of several years, creating a phenomenal hamam, salon, and restaurant. Her goal was “making Novi Sad a little more pleasant for her fellow citizens”. She took me upstairs to see the Atrium Restaurant. Food on the mostly Mediterranean menu looks divine, and I’ll be returning for a meal!

Fruska Gora National Park – Explore Serbia

The cuisine is a “mixture of traditional tastes from countries of the Arab and Persian worlds, and the Middle East”. The tagines looked especially delicious!  I first enjoyed tagines many years ago, during a trip to Morocco to hike in the Atlas Mountains. The intense spices in Moroccan tagines are magnificent!

So far, my time in Novi Sad has been peaceful and laid back.

4 Comments

  1. foggm

    Hi Sue,

    I really enjoyed this piece about Novi Sad because of your very inviting narrative and beautiful images. Haman is such a treat that I just have to experience it some day! Thank you for the introduction.

    The dishes on the Atrium restoran table look very sumptuous! The whole place is beautiful with good design and colors. I love the tiled stairs. What a luxurious place for body and soul!

    Hope you enjoy several good meals there and a few relaxing walks in the park!

    Hugs,

    May

    Liked by 1 person

    1. suemtravels

      Atrium is much more organized than other hamams I’ve visited. They’ve clearly thought things out. As you enter the dressing room, they give you a locker for your belongings. You change into a cheesecloth like wraparound that fits around the bodice and falls just above the knees. It has one button and strings to tie, so it doesn’t fall down. You also get plastic bikini undies and a pair of flip flops, so you don’t slip on the marble floor. Everything gets wet in the hamam. After the hamam and before a massage, they give you another small garment – kind of like a Roman Goddess robe :o) – and a fresh pair of undies. You can use as many towels as you like, and there are hair dryers, shampoo, lotions, and showers in the dressing room.

      There were two young girls (friends) in the hamam. They were in their own world and barely noticed me. They talked in Serbian and giggled softly the entire time. Around the hamam steam room there are small manual shower heads, and they used those more than the ultra-cold-water pool. The water from the showers is tepid, not cold. I outlasted them in the steam! The hamam was just what I needed and may do it again before I leave. Next stop is Bucharest Romania.

      Liked by 1 person

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