When life in Turkey was mainly nomadic, people cleaned themselves on the water’s edge or in the puddles of warm water they happened upon. After established culture began, societies built structures for bathing on the water’s edges to protect the privacy and respect individual and social hierarchy. The first conception of the hammam was found in Sind in western Pakistan in 2500 BC with the construction of hot and cold water channels. The excavations in Mesopotamia also revealed structures which are believed to be Assyrian hammams. During the Ottoman Empire, a hammam was built for each mosque. These hammams were functional and ostentatious. Hammam culture no longer thrives, as everyone can have a bath in their own house. However, hammams are an experience that should be experienced not only by visitors to Istanbul but also for those who live in the city. If you’re wondering which Turkish baths to visit when you’re in Istanbul then we’ve produced this guide to help you:
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1. Haseki Hurrem Sultan Hammam
This hammam built by Mimar Sinan for Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Suleiman the Magnificent), dates back to the 16th century. It is located in the middle of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia Museum. If you want to feel like Hürrem Sultan or Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, try the foam massage service. Hürrem Sultan Hammam is open between 07:00 and 24:00 in summer and between 08:00 and 22:00 in winter.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 22:00
Location: Cankurtaran, Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 517 35 35
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2. Cagaloglu Hammam
The hammam, which was built by Sultan Mahmut I is included in the list of ”1000 places to see before you die” of The New York Times. It is the last great hammam built in the Ottoman period. Although it’s located close to the Basilica Cistern, Cağaloğlu Hammam has a very different architecture and the sound of water pouring into the hammam’s central pool provides a gentle acoustic comfort to bathers. The 300-year-old historical building served for a long time as a means of providing a fund to the library and to the Islamic-Ottoman social complex (külliye). Now, the hammam is one of the most important places in İstanbul and differs from the classical Ottoman architectural style with its Baroque details.
Open Hours: 09:00 – 22:00, Saturdays-Sudnays: 09:00 – 23:00
Location: Alemdar, Cağaloğlu Hamamı Sk. No:34, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 522 24 24
3. Tarihi Galatasaray Hammam
The Historical Galatasaray Hammam, located in Beyoğlu was built by Sultan II Bayezid in 1481. Besides being a tourist attraction, it’s also used as a place for wedding hammam ceremonies by locals. Galatasaray Hamam, which is the only Turkish bath under the Ministry of Tourism, is one of the places that sustain not only the hammam architecture but also the convenience and culture of the hammam.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 22:00
Location: Kuloğlu, Turnacıbaşı Cd. No:8, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 252 42 42
4. Kılıc Ali Pasa Hammam
One of the symbols of Tophane, Kılıç Ali Paşa Hammam was built by Mimar Sinan between 1578 and 1583. The characteristic of this hammam is the light-transmitting elephant eye (a term for small round Windows) domes. The hammam is open to women from 08:30 until 16:00, and for men from 16:30 to 23:00. Events are also organised for special occasions such as bridal hammam, groom’s hammam and forty hammams (a special term for a traditional celebration).
Open Hours: 08:00 – 16:00, 16:30 – 23:30
Location: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Hamam Sk. No:1, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 393 80 10
5. Suleymaniye Hammam
This hammam was built in 1557 by Mimar Sinan. Here you’ll feel you’re bathing in a time tunnel. Single visitors are not permitted in the hammam which is open to families and couples only. Please note that credit cards are not accepted. If you want to take a bath in this hammam, the recommended hours are between 09:45 and 15:00. Open 7 days a week, the hammam is also open on all holidays.
Open Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Location: Süleymaniye, Mimar Sinan Cd. No:20, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 520 34 10
6. Cinili Hammam
Built in 1640 by Kösem Sultan, the Cinili Hammam was lavishly decorated with tiles which, unfortunately, do not remain today. There are fantastic reliefs on the walls of the Cinili Hammam in Üsküdar and in the bathroom section there are basins which have survived to the present day. The high domes of the hammam, which covers a huge area, balance the heat circulation in the bath.
Open Hours: 07:00 – 22:00
Location: Çavuşdere Cad Çinili Hamam Sok No 6, 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0216) 334 97 10
7. Gedikpasa Hammam
The Gedikpasa Hammam, located near the Grand Bazaar, was designed by the famous architect of the period, Hayrettin, in 1475 for Gedik Ahmet Pasha. There is a pool and a sauna in addition to the central massage platform. Gedikpasa Hammam is a “double bath”, so-called as it has separate sections for men and women. Gedikpasa Hammam, which is one of the most important works of Ottoman architecture, is open between 06:00 and 24:00 every day.
Open Hours: 09:00 – 22:30
Location: Hamam Cad, Gedik Paşa Cd. No:61 D:No:61, 34126 Fatih
Phone Number: (0212) 517 89 56
8. Cemberlitas Hammam
Built by Nur Banu Sultan in 1584 for Mimar Sinan, Ottoman inscriptions in some areas of the hammam survive to the present day. The Cemberlitas Hammam in Fatih was built in the double bath structure; women and men use the same entrance but bathe in separate areas. There is an inscription with 6 verses on the door. Mimar Sinan designed this hammam using a style which was different from traditional structures. The main theme of this hammam, which has a total of 38 basins, is the pleasure in simplicity..
Open Hours: 06:00 – 00:00
Location: Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:8, 34440 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 522 79 74
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9. Aga Hammam
If you simply want to see a modest bath then Aga Bath is for you. The Historical Ağa Hammam was made built by Fatih Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (the 7th Ottoman Padishah). Ağa Hammam was used as a private hammam by Mehmed the Conqueror and his sons. At that time, Beyoglu District was not a settlement area and the Padishahs would come to Beyoglu District for hunting. Mehmed the Conqueror constructed this building as a hunting house in 1454..
Open Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Location: Kuloğlu, Turnacıbaşı Cd. No:48, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 249 50 27
10. Mihrimah Sultan Hammam
Part of the Ottoman complex which was built by Mimar Sinan between 1562 and 1565 for Mihrimah, the daughter of the Sultan, Süleyman the Magnificent and Hurrem Sultan. Its architectural structure is in the form of a double bath. Some special ceremonies such as bridal hammam and groom’s hammam are performed in the Mihrimah Sultan Hammam which is located in Edirnekapı, Karagümrük. Mihrimah Sultan Hammam is a popular tourist destination due to its architectural structure and is well worth a visit.
Open Hours: 06:30 – 23:00
Location: Karagümrük, Fevzi Paşa Cad. No:333, 34091 Edirnekapı/Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 523 04 87
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