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WHAT DOES TURKISH BATH MEAN?
One of the most important questions about Turkish baths is the origin and meaning of the word “hammam”. Although the Turkish bath has a very unique structure with many features, bath-like structures are found in many different cultures. As an example of these structures, we can give the structures called “Jimjilbang” in Korean culture or “Thermae”, which is common in Ancient Rome. In addition, saunas, which come from Finnish culture and spread all over the world, are among the structures similar to Turkish baths. Turkish baths, which have many similar ones in the world, have passed into our culture from Arabian and Persian cultures. Turkish bath bath similar to areas such as The dictionary meaning of the bath, which is generally known as “Turkish bath” in Western cultures, is defined as a place to bathe, yunak and heatdam. In origin, the word hammam is based on the word “hammam” in Arabic. This word has many different meanings in Arabic, similar to its Turkish meaning. We can list some of them as “shower”, “bath” and “swimming pool”.
The origin of the word “hamam” in our language, “hammam”, is based on a word root in Arabic that is related to concepts such as heat and warming. There are many different words derived from the same root in Arabic. One of them is “al-hamma” which means spa and thermal place. The word fever in yellow fever, which is also a febrile disease, has the same root word. Some of the other Arabic words that derive from this root are the word “hamm” meaning heat and the verb “thammam” meaning to take a bath. From all these, we can say that the word “hamam” has a meaning similar to “warm 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 Turkish word. In Western societies, baths are generally known as “Turkish baths” and the first use of this concept was seen in 1644. In summary, the word hamam, which originally means “warm place”, means a place to bathe.
HISTORY OF TURKISH BATH
Today, Turkish baths are resting and cleaning areas preferred by many users all over the world. This type of bath is not only interested 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 bath-like structures. Throughout history, these bath-like structures have been in great demand. While examining the history of the Turkish bath, we need to learn about the bath-like structures of the civilizations that have been found in this geography before. Because these structures have been a source of inspiration for Turkish baths and constitute the origin of Turkish baths. The origin of the Turkish bath dates back to ancient times, and we can say that the source of these structures is the Romans.
Public bathing areas were very popular in the Roman and Greek worlds, 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 purposes. After the division of the Roman Empire into two, these structures continued to be built during the Byzantine Empire. However, by the 6th century, Byzantium began to decline slowly and the construction of these structures stopped over time. Then, during this period, Islam began to spread rapidly and to influence the Middle East and North Africa regions. Developing Islamic civilizations immediately adopted these structures from the Roman, Greek, and Byzantine civilizations. Cleaning, which is an important issue in Islam, was provided more easily with these structures. In addition to the cleaning provided in the baths, it was believed that the use of baths had healing properties in this period.
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 began to spread during this period. However, since the Turkish communities living in the region still have a semi-nomadic lifestyle, this spread took place very slowly. The use of baths became quite common in the Ottoman Empire, which became the most important power in the region after the Seljuks. Turkish bath models as we know them today also emerged during this period. Important features of Ottoman architecture were added to the bath structure, which was taken from Roman, Greek, Arab and Iranian cultures. The first examples of Turkish baths open to the public in the 15th century 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.
These structures remained popular until the 20th century and the following period. However, the use of Turkish baths has decreased with the widespread use of bathrooms in homes with the developing plumbing technologies. In many regions these structures have been abandoned, demolished or replaced by other structures. However, many historical baths still function. The use of Turkish bath is quite common today, although not as much as in the past.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF TURKISH BATH?
In general, Turkish baths are remarkable structures with some features. These structures are mostly used collectively. However, it is also possible to construct a smaller-scale Turkish bath for private use. Some of the features of the Turkish bath stand out with these specially made Turkish bath bath models . However, all the unique features of the Turkish bath emerge only in traditional Turkish baths, which are used collectively. First of all, the exterior design of these buildings generally creates a very simple and plain appearance. The first striking feature in the exterior design of Turkish baths is that most of these structures 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, contrary to the simplicity seen in the exterior, Turkish baths have a detailed and ostentatious design. The interiors of Turkish baths are usually decorated with many embroideries and patterns, and the columns of the baths are carefully placed. Columns in Turkish baths not only support the building but also create a nice view. Turkish baths, which consist of three main sections, include areas called tepidity and heat next to the dressing room. In addition, heating in Turkish baths is provided by a section called a furnace. Throughout history, wood was used for heating processes in the furnace room. However, nowadays, besides this traditional method, water or electricity heating can also be preferred.
In Turkish baths, the dressing room is located at the entrance of the bath and is the largest part of the bath. Also known as a showcase, this area usually has a small pool or fountain. The section called the warm or cold room is the transition area between the dressing area and the warm section. In this transition area, there are toilets, resting places and compartments called razor. The main area where washing takes place in Turkish baths is the area called temperature. In the center of the temperature area is a structure called the navel stone, which is made of marble and is warmer than other areas. The scrubbing process, which is frequently performed in Turkish baths, is done by reaching the navel stone. Apart from this, there are also small washing areas around the temperature area. High humidity levels up to 90% and temperatures of about 40-50 C° are seen in Turkish baths. Another striking feature of the baths is the high use of marble.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES OF TURKISH BATH FROM OTHER TYPES OF BATH?
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 belonging to other cultures. There is a bath culture both in many ancient civilizations and in different societies today. Examples of these are places such as spas and saunas, as well as structures such as “onsen”, “banya” and “jimjilbang”. Although these structures show similarities to Turkish baths in various aspects, Turkish baths have differences from other types of baths. The differences of Turkish baths from other types of baths cause 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 women and men are kept separate. Due to cultural reasons, different baths are used according to gender in Turkish baths. 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 bath and massage are two inseparable subjects. The high humidity and temperature ratios in Turkish baths provide softening of the skin and easy removal of dirt and dead skin. After staying in the Turkish bath for a certain period of time, extra cleaning and relaxation is provided with scrub and massage applications. Traditionally, such a practice is not done in some other types of baths.
- The structures most 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 made in spas have a wider scope compared to Turkish baths. Sauna, on the other hand, draws attention as a simpler structure. In addition, the temperature level in a sauna is much higher than in a Turkish bath, and the humidity is lower. Today, many modern Turkish baths have sauna areas.
- There are also lesser known types of baths from other cultures. These are Korean baths, Japanese baths called “onsen” and Russian baths called “banya”. There are great differences between Turkish baths and these types of baths. Onsens are set up in thermal areas such as spa centres, and banyas are more sauna-like spaces than hammams. Korean baths, on the other hand, have separate sections and individually adjusted temperatures, unlike Turkish baths.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TURKISH BATH?
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 ensured the spread of cleaning and hygiene habits to all segments of the society. Thus, we can say that even preventable epidemics are reduced with adequate cleaning. In addition to this, there are many benefits of Turkish bath today. We can list some of the benefits of the Turkish bath as follows:
- Firstly, 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 tension in the muscles of the people who spend time in Turkish baths is reduced. Thus, the use of Turkish bath 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 into the pores of the skin, relaxing and opening these pores. Thus, it becomes easier to get rid of dirt and to clean the body. When we add the scrubbing process, which is frequently used in Turkish baths, to this, body cleaning is ensured effectively.
- Although maintaining body hygiene is easily accomplished in private bathrooms in our homes, this has not been possible throughout history. Turkish baths were an important building for people to provide personal hygiene throughout the history in our geography.
- It is thought that Turkish baths have various effects in terms of physical health as well as cleaning and hygiene. Spending time in the Turkish bath, which is a very hot and humid area, can have many benefits in terms of joint health. In addition, the pleasant time spent in Turkish baths can also be psychologically beneficial.
- Spending time in Turkish baths causes high amounts of sweating due to temperature and humidity. In addition, due to the same reasons, the use of Turkish bath enlarges the vessels and accelerates blood circulation. Thus, toxins in the body are effectively removed by the use of Turkish bath.
- Finally, it is thought that the use of Turkish bath affects skin health positively and prevents the formation of cellulite. Therefore, Turkish bath makes it possible to have a younger and healthier looking skin.
WHAT IS TO KNOW ABOUT TURKISH BATH?
There are many things to know about the use of Turkish baths and Turkish baths in general. Perhaps the most important thing to know about the use of these areas is that it is necessary to set the usage time correctly. Because, as we know, Turkish baths are areas that reach high humidity and temperature levels. Therefore, prolonged use of these areas 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. Thus, it will be possible to avoid such risks posed by Turkish baths in terms of health.
A common process in Turkish baths is the scrubbing process. The thing to know about scrubbing is that it is necessary to spend a certain amount of time in the bath before this procedure. In addition, lying on the navel stone for about 10-20 minutes will also prepare the body for the pouch. Because with the high humidity and temperature in the pool, the leather will soften and become ready to be scrubbed. In this way, the body is more easily cleansed of dirt and dead skin. In addition to what you need to know about the use of Turkish baths, there is also interesting information about the baths. Although the use of baths in Turkish society has become more widespread with the influence of Arab and Iranian cultures, the use of baths in Turkish culture dates back to ancient times. For example, from the 7th to the 9th century. The Khazars, who lived in the Crimea and the Caucasus until the 16th century, were using these areas. These areas with an older structure were called çimek or yunak. . However, Turkish baths began to be fully used and developed over time with the transition to settled life in Turkish society.
The widespread use of Turkish baths in society took place during the Ottoman Empire. These structures, which were of great importance in the 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 in many celebrations, especially marriage and circumcision. In addition, since private bathrooms were a luxury that only a certain group could reach at that time, the baths played a major role in the cleaning needs of the society.