Although there are not
many sources and archival materials published on the
Çatma Mescit Hammam, the story is said to be as follows;
“In 1533, the greatest architect in the
Ottoman history, Mimar Sinan, had built the Grand Hammam and the Kasımpasha
Mosque Camii-i Kebir in the honor of the Vizier Kasim Pasha.
Istanbul Hammam - Istanbul Turkish Bath
Istanbul Hammams (Arabic حمّام,) are public baths; a structure with hot and cold water heated in a special arrangement, used for washing. The history of the bathhouse goes back to the Ancient Romans. Excavations in the city of Pompeii, which was buried under ashes after the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius, revealed baths used by the Romans. It is understood that these baths were built not only to get clean but also for pleasure and entertainment. Since class distinction was valid among the Romans, the entrance doors and washing places of the slaves and the nobility in the baths were separated. Roman baths also had steam baths, cold and hot water pools.
Istanbul Hammams and Their Features
After the conquest of Istanbul, the Turks built thousands of baths here and all over the Ottoman State. In the seventeenth century, there were 168 large bazaar baths in Istanbul alone.
Bazaar baths are open to women on certain days of the week and to men on other days. The ones with double baths are two adjacent baths, one for women and the other for men. These baths are open every day. Istanbul hammams are known all over the world. Some of the older ones are Bayezit, Çemberlitaş, Hoca Pasha, Fındıklı baths, Mehmedağa bath in Fatih, etc. has. In addition, there are also hamams that could not stand the destruction of time and have been destroyed. Especially almost none of the famous mansion baths have survived to the present. Only Palace baths (Topkapı and Dolmabahçe) adorn Istanbul today, as an example of architectural monuments of different eras.
Furthermore, the famous baths of Bursa with their natural hot sulfur water and thermal spring baths, Gonen's thermal baths and hot springs as well as regular baths scattered throughout Turkey are worth mentioning. Another different aspect of Turkish baths is that they are like the Finnish bath with steam. Today, in the world of sports, these baths are used to sweat profusely and lose a lot of weight. In this respect, all athletes benefit from Turkish baths.
Turkish baths are divided into three main parts:
- Soğukluk (chilling room)
- Hamam (hot room)
- Külhan (boiler room)
- Locker rooms and massage rooms are used in present.
There is a large hall and benches with partitions around it. People who have bathed lie down and rest on these benches.
Istanbul hammam or bath section is entered through the chilling room. This place is also divided into some sections: the place where everyone is washed one by one, called the kurna head, and the closed bathing cells called halvet where customers bathed alone. There is also a central stone on which customers lay down and sweat. This central stone is built higher than the marble floor of the bathhouse and can have various geometric shapes.
A woman who works in a hammam and washes customers.
A man who works in a hammam and washes the customers.
Külhan (Boiler Room):
It is under the bath where the fire burns. The flame and smoke rising from the fire passes through special conduits under the marble floor, through the walls, and comes out through a chimney called tüteklik. There is a hot water boiler on the stove in the furnace and a cold water tank on it. Several conduits at the bottom of the stove extend under the central stone in the center of the bathhouse. The effective flames and fumes of the firewood burning in the stove go under the central stone through these channels. Since the dark place under this stone gets very hot, it is called hell.
Sauna (Finnish Bath):
Finnish baths (saunas) are the product of a quite different tradition from Turkish baths. According to the records, the first saunas appeared in the 5th to 8th century AD. Early saunas were dug into a hill or mound. As equipment and technology advanced, wooden buildings started to be used. Stone chips are heated in a wood fire in a fireplace. As the air in the room warms, the fragrance emanating from the fire permeates the room. When the room reaches the desired temperature, the smoke is cleared from the room and those who want to wash enter. The smell of burning wood in the room is part of the cleaning ceremony. This type of scented bath is called Finnish savusauna (smoke sauna). Many people find the fragrance of smoke and wood relaxing.
In traditional saunas; bathing suits, towels or loincloths are not worn much, nudity is not taboo in this society. Families go to the sauna together. This is an old tradition, many families have private saunas. Male and female sections are separate in public saunas. Saunas are not associated with sex, for Finnish people it is the most sacred place after church. Until the beginning of the 20th century, many Finnish women gave birth to their children in a sauna, which is considered a warm and clean environment.
Istanbul Turkish Bath: The Ottoman Hammam
Saunas are dimly lit, you do not talk, you can sit quietly and comfortably. The temperature is usually 80 ° C to 110 ° C. Some make a 'vihta' by tying birch branches with leaves together and patting their skin lightly with it. Vihtas are also available in shops and can be stored in the refrigerator for winter use. A vihta accelerates blood circulation, birch scent is said to be refreshing.
Istanbul Turkish Bath
Istanbul Turkish Baths are good bathing and cleansing places for body cleansing with hot water and soap, provided that the time spent is not prolonged. Washing a sweaty body by rubbing it with a cloth or sponge in the bath facilitates blood circulation and gives people comfort. Those who take a bath in hammams must comply with the rules of good manners. Staying too long in the bath, switching from hot to cold or from cold to hot from time to time can also be harmful to the body. Bathing in very hot water is not recommended for people with health problems.
Istanbul Turkish Bath: The Ottoman Hammam
The Ottomans were famous for the pleasure they took in their baths. Contrary to the joint bathing seen in Roman baths, men and women used to enter the bath separately in the Ottoman State. Men sometimes held drinking sprees in the bathhouse.