Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turkey: Visiting a Hamam

I've moved this up from the "comment" link at the end of the "Turkey Is Terrific" post. I suspect that anyone thinking of going to Istanbul will be curious about the hamams. --SB

Anonymous said...
My girlfriend and I will have a two-day stopover in Istanbul in November. What will the weather be like? What are the turkish baths like and is there one that you recommend? Thanks.

July 28, 2010 12:12 PM
Steve Bailey said...
It's likely to be chilly and rainy during your visit. As your visit there gets closer, use the Internet to check weather forecasts.

As for the Turkish baths, which are called hamams, the two best-known ones are near the Hagia Sophia. Cagaloglu Hamami (click HERE for its website) is one of the "1,000 Places To See Before You Die," and has had a lot of famous customers. The other is Cemberlitas Hamam (click HERE for its website). My wife and I went to both. Each charged 95 Turkish lira (about $60) for the deluxe program -- heat, body scrub and massage. At Cagaloglu, the massage part was incorporated into the scrub. At Cemberlitas, an oil massage in another room followed the bath/scrub portion. Both are beautiful places with separate facilities for men and women; most of the rooms have large, domed ceilings, often with tiny skylights. At each, the men wear towels for the whole process. At Cemberlitas, women are given panties to wear; at Cagaloglu, women are nude. At both, everything takes place in large rooms with other people. My wife and I agreed that we much prefered Cemberlitas -- the body scrub was better and the massage felt like a real massage. Cagaloglu does give you a souvenir, though: the rough silk mitt that was used to scrub you.

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