If you’re ever in Turkey – spending a couple of hours in a traditional hamam is an absolute must.
A hamam is the Turkish variant of the Roman bath, the sauna or steam bath but distinguishes itself from other variants through its focus on water and not purely steam. A Turkish bath is a method of cleansing and relaxation – both of which we experienced at the historical Aga Hamami in Taksim, Istanbul.
The historical Aga Hamami was constructed in 1454 which Mehmed the Conqueror and his sons used it until the final years of the Ottoman Empire. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Aga Hamami changed hands and was then opened to the public. It now serves a mixture of locals and tourists alike in central Istanbul.
It’s safe to say that on a not so sunny day in Istanbul while suffering from a slight hangover…it quickly became a hamam type of afternoon. We bathed ourselves in gorgeous, marble rooms, sat in a steam room and were washed, scrubbed, ‘bubbled’ from head to toe (by a naked lady who was as short as she was wide and couldn’t speak a word of English).
After our hair was washed – while our heads were awkwardly nestled between her naked bosom – our full hamam package then sent us upstairs for an oil massage and face mask. We waited for the greeny/brown mud to work its magic and give us the beauty we so desperately
wanted needed after a late night in the Turkish clubs while lounging on traditional cushioned seating drinking apple tea. Our masked faces dried and started to crack and after washing the traditional concoction off – hand on heart – my skin has never felt softer. Every inch of the skin on my body felt regenerated, soft, supple and relaxed.
Parts of the experience were strange and unusual and although often had us between fits of giggles and awkward glances at each other, over all it was an incredible way to spend two hours and less than £30 in Istanbul.
A hamam is definitely something that must be experienced while in Turkey. I couldn’t recommend it more – if only it was a luxury I could afford weekly in London! My mind, body and soul would be a lot happier for it I’m sure.
// Info ~
WHAT // Aga Hamami
WHERE // Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey
HOW // An easy walk from Taksim Square – which is on the green M2 Line
TOP TIP // Remember your bikini – even if your washer isn’t appropriately covered, at least one of you will be!
WEBSITE // www.agahamami.com