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Cappadocia Turkish Bath (Hamam) (Relaxing Tour of Cappadocia)


Traditional Turkish baths, or "hamam" as they are known in Turkey, have been used for thousands of years. Turkish baths were so much a part of the Turk way of life, that the baths were used not only for cleanliness, but also for socializing. The birth of infants, marriage and other important life events all revolved around celebrations involving the hamam.

Turkish baths are not to be confused with a sauna. The process is very different. Here's how to use a Turkish bath.

Steps

1- Relax in the warm room.

Before entering any of the rooms, the bather is presented with a pair of wooden clogs, which are designed to keep the bather's feet off the wet floor. They may be intricately designed, or simple. The bather then begins in what is known as the warm room. This room is heated by dry, hot air that circulates freely through the room. The bather perspires, and they may stay for as long as they desire. This room typically has lounging benches or chairs in which to relax.

2- Move to the hot room.

After relaxing and sweating in the warm room, bathers then have the choice of moving into the hot room. Female bathers might choose to wear a "pestemal." This is a large towel with fringed ends, used to wrap her as she moves from room to room. The woman may choose to remove the towel once in a room, or leave it on. Women and men typically bathe separately. Bathers stay as long as they can handle the heat.

3- Cool down with cool water.

Depending on the hamam, cool water may be available in a sink like pedestal, or in a fully submergible bath. The bather cools their body down with the cool water, and removes any perspiration.

4- Enjoy a massage.

The traditional end of a Turkish bath involves a massage. Traditionally, these massages were quite vigorous and not for those with delicate bodies or low pain tolerances. The massage would be done in a heated room, to keep the bather comfortable.

5- Relax and socialize in the cooling room.

After the dry hot-air bath, the cooling water splash and the massage, bathers are then encouraged to relax in the cooling room. This room was designed for bathers to sit and relax as their bodies return to a normal temperature. It is in the cooling-down room that men would discuss the most serious of issues. Women would show off their clogs or other bathing paraphernalia and discuss social issues.

*** Turkish Hamam has male and female sections.

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