27 minute reading time

What is a Turkish Bath?

What is a Turkish Bath?

Turkish baths are very popular places that many people use to get clean and have a good time. After a tiring day, spending time in a hammam is a very relaxing and pleasant experience. As in our country, Turkish baths and baths of other cultures are widely used all over the world. The Turkish bath is basically a structure that is heated by special methods, has hot and cold water, and is used for washing and having a pleasant time. As well as being used for cleaning, the high humidity and temperature in this environment is thought to cure many diseases. The humidity in a Turkish bath is around 80% to 90% and sometimes it rises to higher rates. The temperature in an average Turkish bath is between 40 C° and 50 C°. The temperature level and humidity in Turkish baths soften the muscles and create a feeling of comfort in the body. Therefore, the use of Turkish baths is seen as a remedy for many problems, especially stress.

Turkish baths are a very common structure in the Middle East region and especially in countries where Islamic culture is seen. For cultural reasons, the baths used by men and women are separate. In addition to many other features, Turkish baths also have a certain social function in many countries where they are located. These areas can be seen as places where people of the same gender gather and socialize. In other words, the Turkish bath is used beyond its obvious functions at first glance. However, this cleaning area also fulfills its first function, hygiene, quite successfully. When time is spent in a Turkish bath, the high humidity levels allow the pores on the skin to relax, open and become ready for cleaning. In addition, the skin is effectively moisturized and relaxed in the Turkish bath. In addition, the humidity and heat exposed in the hammam increases sweating and helps to remove toxins. Then the skin is rubbed hard with the help of a scrub. Thus, the body is cleansed of dirt and dead skin layer quite easily.

An important feature of Turkish baths is their unique structures and architecture. These structures, which have a very old history, became quite widespread in our culture, especially during the Ottoman period. Accordingly, the architecture of Turkish baths has been greatly influenced by Ottoman architecture. The Turkish bath contains many other elements as well as functionality. There are separate compartments such as cold room, hot room and changing rooms in the baths. One of the first features that attracts attention in the exterior structure of Turkish baths is the widely used dome shape. Apart from this, the exterior architecture of Turkish baths generally has a very simple appearance.

In the interior architecture of the baths, aesthetic patterns and carvings with a pleasant appearance attract attention. Due to both functional and aesthetic features, marble is widely used in the interior architecture of Turkish baths. Since the hot compartment in Turkish baths reaches very high humidity levels, moisture and temperature resistant materials are preferred. To summarize, the Turkish bath is a structure that many people use for cleaning and having a good time, and has many different features besides being hot and humid. In many cultures, this area is also used for purposes such as socializing. These buildings with a traditional and historical architecture also have an aesthetic appearance.


One of the most important issues about Turkish baths is the origin and meaning of the word "hamam". Although the Turkish bath has a very unique structure with many features, bath-like structures are found in many different cultures. Examples of these structures are the "Jimjilbang" in Korean culture or the "Thermae" in Ancient Rome. In addition, saunas, which come from Finnish culture and spread all over the world, are among the Turkish bath-like structures. Turkish baths, which have many similar structures around the world, have also passed into our culture from Arab and Persian cultures. Turkish baths are similar to areas such as bathrooms. The dictionary meaning of hammam, which is generally known as "Turkish bath" in Western cultures, is defined as a place to wash, yunak and heat. In terms of origin, the word hammam is based on the Arabic word "hammam". This word has many different meanings in Arabic similar to its meaning in Turkish. Some of them are "shower", "bathroom" and "swimming pool".

"hammam", the root of the word hamam in our language, is based on a word root in Arabic that is related to concepts such as heat and warmth. There are many different words derived from the same word root in Arabic. One of them is "al-hamma", which means hot spring and thermal place. The word humma in yellow fever, a febrile disease, also has the same word root. Some of the other Arabic words derived from this root are the word "hamm" meaning heat and the verb "thammam" meaning to bathe. From all these, we can say that the word hammam has a meaning similar to "hot place" in the context of its word origin. The word hammam first passed from Arabic to Persian and then from Persian to Turkish. Today, it appears as a Turkishized word. In Western societies, hammams are generally known as "Turkish baths" and the first use of this term was in 1644. In summary, the word hamam, which originally means "hot place", means a place to bathe.


Today, Turkish baths are the resting and cleaning areas preferred by many users all over the world. This type of bath is not only popular in our country and these structures are widely used all over the world, especially in the Islamic geography. In addition, many cultures have their own unique bath-like structures. These bath-like structures have been in great demand throughout history. While examining the history of the Turkish bath, we need to learn about the bath-like structures of the civilizations that have been in this geography before. Because these structures have been a source of inspiration for Turkish baths and constitute the origin of Turkish baths. The origins of the Turkish bath are much older than we think and we can say that the Romans are the source of these structures.

Public bathing areas were very popular in the Roman and Greek world and these structures were common in civilizations around the Mediterranean. These structures were built almost everywhere within the borders of the Roman Empire. At that time, people used these structures for both cleaning and socializing. After the Roman Empire was divided into two, these structures continued to be built during the Byzantine Empire. By the 6th century, however, Byzantium slowly began to decline and the construction of these structures gradually stopped. It was around this time that Islam began to spread rapidly, taking over the Middle East and North Africa. The emerging Islamic civilizations immediately adopted these structures from Roman, Greek and Byzantine civilizations. Cleanliness, which was an important issue in Islam, could be achieved more easily with these structures. In addition to the cleanliness provided in the baths, it was also believed in this period that the use of baths had healing properties.

By the 11th century, the dominant power in the region was the Seljuk Empire. During this period, Byzantine, Turkish and Iranian cultures in Anatolia began to intertwine and influence each other. The use of baths in Turkish society also began to spread during this period. However, since the Turkish communities living in the region still had a semi-nomadic lifestyle, this spread was quite slow. In the Ottoman Empire, which became the most important power in the region after the Seljuks, the use of baths became quite common. Turkish bath models as we know them today also emerged during this period. Important features of Ottoman architecture were added to the bath structure taken from Roman, Greek, Arab and Persian cultures. In the 15th century, the first examples of Turkish baths open to the public emerged during the Ottoman period. Afterwards, these structures were built in many regions under Ottoman rule. The spread of these structures first to Eastern Europe and then to Central Europe took place during the Ottoman period.

Until the 20th century and the period that followed, these buildings maintained their popularity. However, the use of Turkish baths declined with the widespread use of bathrooms in homes with the developing plumbing technologies. In many regions, these buildings were abandoned, demolished or replaced by other structures. However, many historical baths still continue to function. The use of Turkish baths is quite common today, although not as much as it used to be.


In general, Turkish baths are structures that attract attention with some features. Mostly these structures are used collectively. However, it is also possible to build smaller Turkish baths for private use. Some features of the Turkish bath stand out with these Turkish bath bath bath models made specifically. However, all the unique features of the Turkish bath can only be seen in Turkish baths that have a traditional structure and are used collectively. First of all, the exterior design of these structures usually creates a very simple and plain appearance. The first striking feature in the exterior design of Turkish baths is that most of these buildings have a dome. These domes allow excess steam to be released and natural light to enter the space during the day.

When it comes to the interior, unlike the simplicity seen in the exterior, Turkish baths have a detailed and flamboyant design. The interiors of Turkish baths are often decorated with many embroideries and patterns, and the columns of the baths are carefully placed. In Turkish baths, the columns not only support the building but also create a pleasant appearance. Turkish baths, which mainly consist of three main sections, contain areas called warmth and temperature in addition to the changing area. In addition, heating in Turkish baths is provided by a compartment called külhan. Throughout history, wood was used for heating processes in the ashan compartment. However, today, in addition to this traditional method, heating with water or electricity can also be preferred.

In Turkish baths, the dressing compartment is located at the entrance of the bath and is the largest part of the bath. Also known as a glass case, this area usually has a small pool or fountain. The section called warmth or coldness is the transition area between the dressing area and the warmth section. In this transition area, there are toilets, resting places and compartments called razors. The main area where bathing takes place in Turkish baths is the area called sıcaklık. In the center of the sıcaklık area, there is a structure called belly stone, which is made of marble and warmer than other areas. The scrubbing process, which is frequently performed in Turkish baths, is done by lying on the belly stone. Apart from this, there are also small bathing areas around the temperature area. Turkish baths have high humidity levels up to 90% and temperatures of approximately 40-50 C°. Another striking feature of the baths is the high use of marble.


Turkish baths are very popular structures that appeal to a large number of users. However, as we mentioned before, there are many different types of baths from other cultures. Both in many ancient civilizations and in different societies today, there is a bath culture. Examples of these include spas and saunas, as well as structures such as "onsen", "banya" and "jimjilbang". Although these structures are similar to Turkish baths in various ways, Turkish baths have differences from other types of baths. The differences of Turkish baths from other types of baths lead users to make their choices according to their preferences. If we need to talk about some of these differences, we can list them as follows:

  • One of the first striking features of Turkish baths is that the baths used by men and women are kept separate. For cultural reasons, Turkish baths use different baths according to gender. There is no such distinction in the "thermae" structures used in Rome, which are the source of onsen, sauna and Turkish baths.
  • In addition, Turkish baths and massage are inseparable. The high humidity and temperature in Turkish baths soften the skin, allowing dirt and dead skin to be easily removed. After staying in a Turkish bath for a certain period of time, extra cleansing and relaxation are provided with scrub and massage applications. Traditionally, this is not done in some other types of baths.
  • The structures most often compared to Turkish baths are spas and saunas. The main difference of spa centers from Turkish baths is that these structures are built in thermal areas. There is no such requirement for the construction of Turkish baths. In addition, the applications in spas have a wider scope than Turkish baths. Sauna, on the other hand, draws attention as a simpler structure. In addition, the temperature level in a sauna is much higher and the humidity is lower than in a Turkish bath. Today, many modern Turkish baths include sauna areas.
  • There are also less familiar types of baths from other cultures. These are Korean baths, Japanese baths called "onsen" and Russian baths called "banya". Turkish baths are also very different from these types of baths. Onsen are set up in thermal areas like spa centers and banya are more like saunas than baths. Unlike Turkish baths, Korean baths have separate compartments that users can use individually and temperatures that can be adjusted individually.


There are many reasons why Turkish baths, which are widely preferred by users, are so popular. First of all, these areas, which have been used collectively throughout history, have enabled the spread of cleaning and hygiene habits to all segments of society. In this way, we can say that even epidemic diseases that can be prevented with adequate cleaning have been reduced. In addition, there are many benefits of the Turkish bath today. We can list some of the benefits of the Turkish bath as follows:

  • First of all, Turkish baths are areas with high temperature levels. Spending time in these areas provides relaxation in the body and reduces stress. Thanks to the hot air, the tensions in the muscles of people who spend time in Turkish baths are reduced. Thus, the use of Turkish baths can help reduce problems such as stress and anxiety.
  • Another feature of Turkish baths is that they are areas with high humidity. Therefore, when enough time is spent in these areas, it becomes easier to remove dirt and dead skin from the body. Because in Turkish baths, the moisture in the air penetrates the pores in the skin, relaxes and opens these pores. Thus, it becomes easier to get rid of dirt and clean the body. When we add to this the scrubbing process, which is frequently applied in Turkish baths, body cleansing is provided effectively.
  • Although it is easy to maintain hygiene in the body today in the bathrooms suitable for private use in our homes, this was not possible throughout history. Turkish baths were an important structure for people to ensure their personal hygiene throughout history in our geography.
  • In addition to cleaning and hygiene, Turkish baths are thought to have various effects on physical health. Spending time in a Turkish bath, which is a very hot and humid area, can have many benefits for joint health. In addition, the pleasant time spent in Turkish baths can also be psychologically beneficial.
  • Spending time in Turkish baths causes a high amount of sweating due to temperature and humidity. In addition, for the same reasons, the use of Turkish baths dilates the veins and accelerates blood circulation. Thus, toxins in the body are effectively removed with the use of Turkish bath.
  • Finally, it is thought that the use of Turkish bath positively affects skin health and prevents cellulite formation. Therefore, Turkish bath makes it possible to have younger and healthier looking skin.


There are many things to know about the use of Turkish baths and Turkish baths in general. Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about the use of these areas is that it is necessary to adjust the duration of use correctly. Because as we know, Turkish baths are areas that reach high humidity and temperature levels. Therefore, using these areas for longer than necessary can cause sudden drops in blood pressure levels and even fainting. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid using Turkish baths for too long. In addition, it may be necessary to leave the hot part of the bath from time to time and rest in a warmer environment. In this way, it will be possible to avoid such health risks posed by Turkish baths.

A common procedure in Turkish baths is scrubbing. The thing to know about scrubbing is that it is necessary to spend a certain amount of time in the hammam before this process. In addition, lying on the belly stone for about 10-20 minutes will also prepare the body for the scrub. Because with the high humidity and temperature in the pool, the skin will soften and become ready for scrubbing. Thus, the body is more easily purified from dirt and dead skin. In addition to what needs to be known about the use of Turkish baths, there is also interesting information about the baths. Although the use of baths has become more widespread in Turkish society with the influence of Arab and Persian cultures, the use of baths in Turkish culture dates back to ancient times. For example, the Khazars, who lived in Crimea and the Caucasus from the 7th to the 9th century, used these areas. These areas, which had an older structure, were called çimenek or yunak.  However, Turkish baths began to be fully utilized and developed over time with the transition to settled life in Turkish society.

It was during the Ottoman Empire that Turkish baths became widespread in the society. These structures, which were of great importance in Ottoman society in terms of cleanliness, social life, relaxation and healing, were built in many places and spread all over the country over time. In Ottoman society, Turkish baths became areas used for many celebrations, especially marriage and circumcision. In addition, since baths for private use were a luxury accessible only to a certain segment of society at that time, Turkish baths played a major role in the society's need for cleanliness.


Turkish baths have been of vital importance for cleanliness and hygiene throughout history. However, over time, with the widespread use of bathrooms suitable for private use, this primary task of Turkish baths has fallen to the second plan. Therefore, the use of Turkish baths, which was once more common, has decreased over time. Some of the less popular old Turkish baths have been demolished or converted into museums. However, there are many historical Turkish baths that have survived to the present day. Some of these baths have been restored and made ready for use again. If we need to briefly mention important historical Turkish baths, we can list some of them as follows:

  • Tahtakale Bath: It is an old bath of great historical importance. The construction of the bath lasted from 1454 to 1471. This historical bath built during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet is one of the oldest Turkish baths. Tahtakale Bath was the first bath built in Istanbul. This historical bath, which has deteriorated over time, is now used as a bazaar.
  • Mahmut Pasha Bath: It was built by Mahmut Pasha, who served as vizier to Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. The construction of this historical bath was completed in 1466. Just like Tahtakale Bath, Mahmut Pasha Bath has also been subjected to deterioration in its structure over time and is now used as a bazaar.
  • Bayezid Hamam: Historically, this hamam was part of the complex of the Bayezid Mosque in the region. In addition, it was among the biggest baths of the city during the period it was used. The construction process of this historical bath lasted from 1500 to 1505. Today, Bayezid Bath is used as a museum.
  • Çemberlitaş Bath: It is one of the historical baths that still fulfills its bath functions. This bath was designed by Mimar Sinan and built in 1584. Although Çemberlitaş Bath was damaged over time, it was reused as a result of restoration works.
  • Suleymaniye Bath: This bath, which is part of the Suleymaniye Mosque complex, is one of the baths designed by Mimar Sinan and its construction was completed in 1557. The bath is named after Suleiman the Magnificent. Today, the bath still fulfills its functions.
  • Haseki Hürrem Sultan Bath: The construction of this bath, built by Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, was completed in 1557. The architect of the bath, which is still used today, is Mimar Sinan.


The construction process of Turkish baths, which are used by many people in a pleasant way, is carefully carried out by people specialized in this business. In addition to the materials required for this process, sufficient knowledge and experience are also required. Although Turkish baths can be built as home-type, these structures are generally intended for collective use. In addition, as well as functional features are important, it is also aimed to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance in Turkish baths. Therefore, Turkish bath construction requires technical knowledge as well as design skills. For Turkish bath construction operations, first of all, the area planned for construction is carefully examined. Thus, it is determined whether the area is suitable for Turkish bath construction. Design operations are carried out depending on the characteristics and structure of the area. Then, depending on this design, construction processes are started. For this, first of all, the necessary materials and tools are brought to the construction site and preparations begin.

After the necessary preparations for the construction of the Turkish bath are completed, work begins for the construction of the Turkish bath. For this, first of all, foundation digging operations are carried out and the necessary systems are installed. Today, heating in Turkish baths is carried out with electricity or hot water. Therefore, the correct installation of these systems is of great importance in terms of functionality in Turkish baths. After the necessary systems are installed, the construction process continues according to the bath project. After the construction of the bath is completed, the coating materials planned to be used in the bath are placed. The use of marble for this process is quite common. After the Turkish bath is functionally used, its aesthetic structure is also organized. For this, many embroidery and motifs are used in the interior of the bath. When the aesthetic features of the bath are completed, all systems are checked in detail and the Turkish bath is ready for use. Similar but simpler steps are applied in Turkish bath construction processes for private use in homes.


The construction of a Turkish bath is a process that is quite difficult and requires experience. There are many important factors to be considered while making these areas that many people enjoy. Briefly, we can list some of the factors that should be considered in the construction of Turkish baths as follows:

  • Turkish baths are areas expected to reach high temperatures. With this temperature, humidity rates also increase and the ideal area for cleaning is created. Therefore, the correct operation of heating systems is very important in Turkish baths. Therefore, the installation of heating systems should be carried out carefully when building a Turkish bath.
  • In addition to heating systems, ventilation should also be effective in a Turkish bath. It can be seen that steam accumulates in the hammam during use. As a result, it is possible to create unwanted moisture. This is prevented by a properly working ventilation system.
  • The water that users use for bathing in the Turkish bath can accumulate over time. For this reason, water channels should be built and these water channels should be placed appropriately in the area.
  • In Turkish baths, the belly stone should be warmer than other areas. Therefore, this should be taken into account when installing heating systems. According to the system used, a design that will keep the belly stone warmer than other areas should be preferred.
  • Aesthetic structure is as important as functionality in Turkish baths. Therefore, in addition to being technically knowledgeable in the construction of Turkish baths, it is necessary to be able to create good results in terms of design.


Throughout history, Turkish baths have been structures built for collective use. However, today it is also possible to build a Turkish bath for private use. A Turkish bath can be built in a place intended for personal use, including a shower cabin. Therefore, Turkish bath dimensions may vary according to the number of targeted users. For the ideal Turkish bath dimensions, let's first take a look at the Turkish baths intended for mass use. Turkish baths used collectively are built to serve a sufficient number of people. For this, we can say that an average Turkish bath has quite large dimensions. A Turkish bath usually consists of three separate sections and these sections are called changing rooms, warmth and temperature. The largest part of the Turkish bath consists of the changing rooms that we encounter when we first enter the bath. The next section, ılıklık, has a relatively smaller area.

The dimensions of the temperature compartment in Turkish baths vary from bath to bath. While this area is 15-20 m² in some baths, it can reach 100 m² in others. Of course, the dimensions of the bath can create a change in the costs required for construction. Because as the size of the bath increases, the amount of raw materials to be used also increases. Turkish baths built for private use also have a variety of sizes. Depending on the width of the area allocated for use, it becomes possible to be more free in designing Turkish baths.


Traditionally, marble is preferred in Turkish baths. The main reason for this is the smooth structure of marble and its resistance to the temperature and humidity levels targeted in the hammam. In addition to functionality, Turkish baths also aim to create a pleasant and traditional look. It is important that the materials used provide this traditional look. In addition, it is necessary to use a material that provides long-term use in Turkish bath construction. Long-term use in Turkish baths is aimed with the use of marble. In addition, many other types of tiles can also be used in Turkish baths. These tiles can be used not only for floor covering but also for covering the walls. We can mention some Serapool Porcelain products that can be preferred for use in Turkish bath construction as follows:

 In-pool tiles with a quality and pleasant design can be preferred in the construction of Turkish baths.

In-pool tiles that can be used in bath construction are as follows:

  • Pool borders with interesting patterns can be used for decoration purposes.

The types of borders that can be used in bath construction are as follows:


Porcelain mosaics, a more colorful and interesting option, can be used in the construction of Turkish baths.

The mosaics that can be used in Turkish bath construction are as follows:


Stair tiles that prevent slipping in wet areas can be preferred.

Stair tiles that can be used in bath construction are as follows:


Finally, gratings can be used for water gutters.

Porcelain gratings that can be used in bath construction are as follows:



One of the important issues that are curious about the construction of a Turkish bath is the average cost of this process. Generally, Turkish baths are aimed to be used collectively and construction processes are carried out accordingly. However, there are also Turkish baths built for private use. The number of targeted users of the bath creates changes in the cost of the Turkish bath. Because a Turkish bath for private use has very small dimensions and less material is needed in its construction. However, Turkish baths targeted for mass use can be quite large and their costs increase accordingly.

Apart from the dimensions, an important issue affecting the cost of Turkish baths is the quality of the materials used. Depending on the materials used, the prices of Turkish bath models increase or decrease. However, since these structures are intended to be used for many years, the quality of the materials used should not be compromised. Generally, Turkish baths targeted for mass use are made at high costs. Smaller Turkish baths for private use are offered to users at more affordable prices. 


The main reason for using Turkish baths is cleaning and Turkish baths produce very good results in this regard. However, in addition to this, it is believed that the use of Turkish baths has many health benefits. We can briefly mention some of the possible benefits that Turkish baths are thought to provide to the body as follows:

  • It provides hygiene in the body by making it possible to easily get rid of dead skin and dirt.
  • It is good for stress by providing a very comfortable and pleasant time.
  • Reduces muscle pain by relaxing the muscles.
  • Increases sweating with high humidity and temperature rates, helping the body to purify from toxins.
  • With its moisturizing and revitalizing properties, Turkish baths can be very good for the skin.