The Luxury of a Turkish Bath

In Irfan Orga's book Portrait of a Turkish Family* he gives a vivid account of his grandmother's excursions to the local Turkish bath. He paints a colorful picture of how she would oversee the cook's preparations, the accoutrements she would bring along, and the hushed conversations that took place within the marbled walls. It is a romantic picture of life before the war when such events had much more significance in daily life.

Image from jefield on flickr

Today it is still possible to cross the threshold of Istanbul's oldest hammams and find yourself transported to a more indulgent time. It's where women would prepare days in advance to go gossip with their friends and where mothers would visit to find proper wives for their sons.

And it's where National Geographic recommends you visit at least once in this lifetime. In fact, Reuters reports that the popularity of hammams is on the rise along with the development of the spa industry and this kind of luxury tourism.

What other excuses do you need to indulge?

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  1. I love Istanbul, I've only stayed five days and couldn't manage to take a Turkish bath. Maybe I just wanted the excuse to come back!

  2. Sounds like a good excuse to me Angela!

    If you need some ideas about which Turkish bath to visit on your next trip check out this guide:

    Or this list of favorites from Istanbul locals: