Scrub-a-Dub Hamam

A visit to a Hamam is an essential part of any trip to Turkey, because it is central to the Turkish culture. Many friends who had been to Turkey told me that I absolutely had to try it out. A Hamam is also called a Turkish Bath, and they’ve been popular in Turkey for thousands of years, literally.  People didn’t used to have bathrooms in their homes, so they’d go out to a central location for bathing.  Roman baths were also popular back in the day, but the way it’s set up in Turkey today comes from the time of the Ottoman Empire.  Hamams generally have three rooms: the hot room (sauna), the warm room (steamy room with hot marble to lie on and old people who scrub you with suds), and the cool room (for relaxing with a cup of tea).

I had a long day exploring Cappadocia under the hot sun, so I spent the evening relaxing at a Hamam. The man at the front desk helped me to explain to you about this special Turkish tradition:

I wish I could share my photos and videos from my day exploring the mountains, rocks, and caves of Cappadocia, but the internet is very slow here and I need to go to sleep.  There are many tourists in the area now, and I did an organized tour called the green tour.  I met people from all over the world.  For example, I had breakfast with a Brazilian guy, lunch with a Bosnian guy, and dinner with a Japanese woman.  The sights were gorgeous, even though I felt a little like a fish swimming in a sea of hundreds of other tourists.  We walked on the tippy tops of cliffs, looking down at the scenery. We climbed up rocks and explored caves in the sky. We drove zigzags around mountains. We went underground and ducked through tunnels that were built at least 1,000 years ago. We sweated through the heat, the sun blaring down on us. We walked along a canyon as the rain began to fall (and even caught a glimpse of a rainbow). Stay tuned for more visuals tomorrow.

Also, some exciting NEWS: I was interviewed by a really fabulous website,  Check out my interview here!

Categories: Turkey

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5 replies »

  1. wow! that’s really cool, Ms. Krakauer!
    you’re really lucky to be able to explore the cliffs, mountains, and the landscape of Turkey! it must’ve been fun!
    i watched the video. i thought it was interesting when you had to get your face covered with a ‘face mask,’ it was almost like when we Americans put the cucumbers and the green stuff (i have no idea what it’s called) on your face, too!
    i gotta say, the people who lived all those thousands of years ago, must’ve been very lucky. they went to a Hamam every night!
    but i wonder, did the workers who worked at a Hamam a long time ago, ever get to feel what it’s like to actually BE in a Hamam themselves? it would be quite sad if they didn’t.
    say, i wonder if Hamam means ‘spa’ in English….
    relaxing in a Hamam must have been a very fitting and RELAXING end to your day’s adventure, Ms. Krakauer!
    i hoped you enjoyed yourself! 😀

    • That’s a really interesting point about the workers, Anna. You’re right — that could be sad if they never get to be on the other end of the experience. I think people view the hamams like a spa today, but back in the day, it was used more for regular bathing. In some places, it’s still used that way!

      • that’s interesting to know!
        by the way, i went to the link where you had your interview. i don’t have that much time now to read all of it, but from what i read so far, you have a super awesome life!!!!! you’re so lucky to be able to travel to so many places!!!
        i wish i were you. say, have you been to Scotland, Singapore, or the Galapagos Islands???
        if you’ve been to Scotland, did you see the Water Horse (Lock Ness Monster, a.k.a. Nessie) when you were there???? that’s one of the reasons why i want to go to Scotland!
        well, anyways, enjoy your time in Turkey!!! 😀

        p.s. don’t rush to this comment! take your time!

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