Turkish Baths in Istanbul
Istanbul is known for its Turkish bath -- also known as hammams (hamams). Here's what happens in a traditional Turkish bath, or hammam. Upon entering the hammam, you will find yourself in a dressing room, or camekan, which is surrounded by private cubicles where you dress. Your attendant will give you a cotton wrap, or pestemal, and a pair of slippers, or terlik, along with a key to your cubicle.
Once you have removed all your clothing and wrapped the cotton cloth around you sarong style like a skirt, you are ready to go.
Turkish baths (hamams) are a great escape for all seasons - in winter when it is freezing outside. the promise of a nice long and warm shower/bath is just too good to pass up, in the spring, just as everything is blossoming, one feels the desire to get oneself cleansed of winter blues, summer is the time to enjoy the luxury of a bath that promises to invigorate, while in the autumn, one tends to be more reflective as the winter is coming, mother nature is winding down to prepare for the winter, one can enjoy a bath that gives one a sense of relaxation in a historical place of beauty and art to ponder about life. Turkish baths came about in the Roman and Byzantine ages where the religion of Islam has strict emphasis on cleanliness, hence the construction of these communal bath houses. What is involved in a Turkish bath you ask? A classic bath usually has three parts/rooms: changing rooms (where you decide on the type of service), a hot room and a cold room. After entering the hamam and exchanging one's clothes for a towel (pestamal), you then proceed to the gobek tasi, a large heated stone/marble slab where you perspire and are rubbed down by a bath attendant (natir if it is a woman and teliak if it is a male). If the heat proves to be too much, you can retire to a cooler room (cold halvet which usually is the coolest room furthest from the kulhan/boiler room) .