Experience real Turkish delight at a Turkish Bath in Bodrum

What is a Turkish Bath?

Turkish bath works along similar lines to a sauna.  Participants start in the “warm room”, which is heated by warm dry air.  They then move on to the “hot room”, which is heated by even hotter dry air.  Once bathers have worked up a sweat, they splash themselves with cold water and at this point, they are washed and massaged by an attendant.  Having been thoroughly cleaned and refreshed, bathers proceed to the “cooling room” to relax before leaving.

History and culture of a Turkish Bath

Turkish Baths developed as the Ottoman Turks expanded their empire and began to adopt and adapt the bathing customs of the cultures they conquered.  In addition to the Muslim emphasis on cleanliness, Turkish Baths were important social centres, particularly for women who were otherwise very much restricted in their movements.  While modern Turkish women enjoy considerably greater freedoms, the Turkish Bath has retained its place as a social hub.

Health benefits of the Turkish Bath

The initial heat of a Turkish bath causes the body to sweat, which assists in the eradication of toxins, while the massage enhances this process and also relieves any tensions in the muscles.  For modern bathers however, possibly the greatest benefit is the time after the massage in the “cooling room”, in which body and mind can simply relax and recharge in preparation for the outside world.  A Turkish bath in Bodrum can be a great way to start a holiday since the deep cleaning primes the skin for the application of sun cream.  It can also be a lovely way to end a holiday, allowing travellers to approach the journey home refreshed, relaxed and invigorated.

Some points of etiquette for the Turkish Bath

Upon arrival bathers will be given a large towel and shown to a cubicle in which to undress.  It is expected that both men and women will remain appropriately covered even in single-sex environments and certainly in the mixed baths.  Bathers will also be offered a pair of slippers and it is highly advisable to accept these (or bring good flip-flops) as wet marble is an extremely slippery surface.  Traditionally bathers are attended by someone of their own gender, however it is becoming more common for women to be attended by a male (although not vice versa).  Attendants make sure that those new to the Turkish Bath experience are guided gently through the process, however one point of etiquette that it is important to understand is that bathers must be very careful to avoid splashing their neighbours, particularly on Fridays, since the bather may be performing a ritual cleanse and may have to start again if interrupted in any way.

If you are looking for a Turkish bath Bodrum is full of beautiful examples which give you the authentic experience and let you join in.

Written by Thomas Edward.  Thomas has been an international traveller since the early ‘80s and has widely covered Europe, the USA and as far afield as Thailand, Hong Kong and China.  He has written as both a business, individual and family traveller and a language or two has given him the opportunity to engage with people to a greater degree.