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Published: April 14th 2012
My last day in Istanbul. After a great week, I wanted to end it by going to a Turkish Bath. Along Yeniceriler Cd just past the Grand Bazaar is the Cemberlitas Turkish Bath. One of the oldest baths in Istanbul, the hamami was built by Sinan in 1584 and is still functional today.
From the outside you would never guess a Turkish bath is in there, let alone one so old. I must have passed it 3 times trying to figure out where it was. On the north east corner there is a little shop with a small entrance where the bath is located. They give you a ticket and you pay for what you want to have done, massage, bath, manicure, pedicure, etc. One tip to note, my husband went on a Friday and he said there was hardly anyone there, so he ended up having a really good, long experience. When I went it was on a Saturday, I think when the tour ships come in. So it was quite busy. If you can go during the week and during the day.
Men and women are separated into different areas.
You are provided with a towel
and slippers. Everything else you need to put into a locker. You can keep on only your underwear (no bra) or go completely naked if you wish. The hostess then took us into this huge room where women lay on these massive heated stone slabs. The steam, hot water, soap really allow you to relax. When you look up from the stone you can see the ceiling has a very thick coloured glass which almost looks like there are jewels. The room itself is an octagon shape with private rooms (if you go as a group) where you can also steam as well. The room is where you can see how old this place really is. You can almost imagine the women of leisure who would come here and spend the day not worrying about modesty or prying eyes of men.
On busy days, when you are ready to be scrubbed (bathed) you need to get the attention of one of the many women who will soap you up and scrub you. Once this is done you can rinse off and then go for your massage (if you purchased it). If busy you may have to wait up to 45 minutes before they call you. The massage is also very relaxing and a great way to enjoy your trip. I really loved the hamami.
There are no shortages of Turkish Baths in Istanbul. Depending on the hotel you are staying at, they will also offer this. However if you want to experience some history of Istanbul, definitely check out this one.
When I left I looked at the building again and noticed the domed jeweled roof. www.cemberlitashamami.com.tr
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