Hammam in Arabic means bathroom, the Turks also use the same word, as they have indulged in the Arabic language when the Ottomans ruled the Arab world for over 700 years. Travelers will notice many Arabic words in their language, like for example ACIL (pronounced Ajil) and means emergency or urgent, which is Arabic, also Tashakkur which means thanks and that too is Arabic, Ambary means store which is taken from the Arabic work Amber (there is no equivalent to the Ain in any language other than Arabic by the way) . I am not trying to bluff my way through Turkish Language, however the resemblance to Arabic is so evident, so one has to notice.
As usual I am digressing, what I was trying to explain here is that till date the Turks use the old public bathrooms and depend on people whose job is to scrub your skin and remove anything removable from it. Of course in the old days people didn’t have bathrooms in their houses so they go to public ones every once in a while, nowadays you don’t do that, we have showers two to three times a day, and you have a swimming pool close-by or in your house, so there is nothing to scrub except your real skin i guess?? having said that, we did go just for fun. The Hammam was built in 1777, which means that many people that had come to it had died and generations after them had died too. However the place was nice, and smells great. The floors were made of marble and the walls were decorated with Turkish ornaments; The furniture was also authentic and relate to the middle ages so the whole thing was history in the making. We were admiring the building and the architecture while waiting for our turn, it was amazing.
The first thing we noticed is that the place is used for both men and women, of course men scrub men and woman scrub women, not the other way round, that would be unwarranted in my opinion. You get a small room to change and have a key to that room as it will hold your bag and important stuff, also you will receive some towels and a wrap to wear around yourself. afterwards you are lead to the sauna room, where you lie down in the heat (equivalent to the heat in Dubai), with taps of cold water scattered around the room to pour cold water all over your body as it does get really hot. Having sat there for an hour, you are called to the scrubbing room, where you are asked to lie down and naked women rub you with lather and scrub you so hard that you want to scream, the funny thing is their boobs, I thought in the beginning that they were wearing some thing around their chest as it looked to me like a hanging sack with a wee ball in the end of it, that sack was hitting me on the face and on the back every time I was asked to turn around. I didn’t have my glasses on and the heat and sweat had blurred my vision, but when I heard my daughter’s laughter I realized that these were actual boobs, so funny, I was wondering why on earth the women were naked? they must enjoy being naked as otherwise they could have worn a swim suit! unless they didn’t have enough money to buy swimsuits? or maybe this was the way it was done in the old ages? I didn’t ask as I didn’t think they will give me an answer, or maybe they will not understand the question. The thing is, we went to a Hammam to have the Turkish experience, but the scenery of the sagging boobs ruined the whole thing. When we finished the scrubbing we had to go for the massage, my mind was racing to find out if the women are actually going to dress up? thank God they did, otherwise i will be on edge and will not enjoy my massage.
when we left the Hammam and having tipped them heftily, we all fell to the ground laughing and discussing the reasons for the nakedness. We didn’t find an answer in our minds, so we wondered around the Hammam neighborhood, found a cafe and had Turkish tea instead and threw money in the cafe’s pond so we return the following year with the hopes to find women with swim suits scrubbing us instead.