Friday, June 20, 2008

The Turkish Bath

We had a looong day of sight seeing including the Blue icon of Istanbul. Haghia Sophia... The "church of holy wisdom," is among the world's greatest architectural mosques. Basillica Cistern... A ancient, vast underground water cisternand Topkapi Palace (including Harem). For 400 years the Ottoman sultans ruled their empire from this huge palace. To say we were tired is an understatement.We decided to wind down and go to a Turkish Bath (or Hamam) to relax and get a massage. We chose to go to the Suleymaniye Hamam since it was co-ed. The Suleymaniye Hamam is a historic Turkish bath built by the famed architect Sinan in 1550. I really didn't really know what to expect, although I watched the 1997 film "Hamam" a while ago...
We started off by relaxing in a warm room called a sıcaklık (like a sauna) for about 45 min. There is a large marble stone in the center of the room where people lay down and relax, when you look up to the domed ceiling there are small glass windows that shine down beams of light. The corners of the room had little niches with fountains where you can clean yourself with hot or cold water. After soaking up the steam and sweating up a storm the Tellak (or masseurs) came in. Our tellaks were young Turkish men... they started off by scrubbing our bodies with soap and washing our hair. I found it very odd to be washed by a strange man, of course I was wearing a bathing suit but it was kinda weird. Still, strangely enjoyable? Then they gave us full body massages which felt amazing after walking all day. The Turkish Bath was quite an experience and it was exactly what we needed.
After the massage we went to the cooling-room to cool down and enjoy a cup of Turkish tea. I feel like my batteries were recharged and I'm ready for another full day of sightseeing. Bring it on!


Kimberly said...

That sounds like a great experience. You make me want to go just for the Turkish bath!

Peter M said...

Lina, I'm reallt enjoying this leg of your trip in Istanbul and it's cementing my desire to go there again from Greece this summer.

I so happy to went to Nevizade...wasn't in wonderful?

nita said...

this looks awesome to be get massages in such a historic place!!!!

good thing they have co-ed places too!

Kevin said...

That is a lot of tasty looking food! Istanbul looks nice.

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