Kaleici Hamam – Kusadasi’s Oldest Turkish Bath
When in Turkey, do what the Turks do!
On a recent one day visit to Kusadasi in Turkey, we considered that the trip would be incomplete without a visit to a Turkish Bath.
Luckily Kusadasi has one with great historical interest.
Our visit and bath at Kaleici Hamam was an experience that we will long remember.
The Turkish bath Kaleici Hamam has a very long history. Okuz Mehmed Pasha built a caravanserail, a mosque and the Hamam during his period of governorship of the province in 1617 and 1618, so the building is nearly 400 years old.
The style of this Turkish bath is of the Ottoman era, with a high domed roof in the bath chamber itself, and timber surrounds in the original style, although these have no doubt been replaced several times during the life of the building.
The central dome has a number of holes in it that allow light to enter the bathhouse itself and excess steam to exit. The bathhouse itself is fully lined with fine marble, with a raised central slab used for the cleaning and massage processes.
Of course as this part of the building is a steam bath, there is plenty of water on all inside surfaces of the Turkish bath house, and you need to be a little careful moving around on the slab to ensure that you don’t simply slide off and land in a heap on the floor.
The Turkish bath ritual obviously goes back very many years, and indeed makes sense once explained.
The first part of the process is to go into a tiny “dream room”, reminiscent of the old Victorian style railway carriage compartment. This room is fitted with some hanging space for your clothes and two narrow beds. You are provided with a small fabric towel to cover the bare essentials and then move into the steam room to begin the process of adjusting your body to the high temperature.
Once you have had sufficient time to adapt, the process proper begins.
The Turkish Bath Process
A professional masseur begins the process of opening the pores on your skin using a loofah glove all over your body. This is an unusual sensation, but certainly makes your body feel much cleaner.
Then the Turkish massage begins! The masseur begins to dip what looks like a pillow slip into sudsy water, fills it with air and then slides masses of foam onto you. In no time at all you are completely covered in warm suds. The massage itself is quite smooth – particularly given the amount of soap suds all over your body.
After the massage you have the chance to wash yourself the traditional way – with a pail and running water.
We can guarantee that you will feel much more alive and refreshed when you leave the premises of this enchanting Turkish bath.