What Turkish bath should I visit when in Istanbul?

It's been a few weeks since my return from Istanbul, Turkey and I thought even though I have already written two articles about this amazing land I thought it would be fit to report on the Turkish baths that I had a chance to visit. One of my friends close Turkish friends, whose family has a well known established retail business was able to give us some advice whilst in the center of town, as I was really eager to go visit a Turkish bath.

 

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So, he walked us over to one of the oldest Turkish baths in Istanbul.  Turkish baths are not something that the locals go do, like the way Americans visit day spas, but it definitely is an experience that I recommend to anyone traveling to Turkey. Here I list some tips as to the best time to visit the baths and which Turkish bath we visited.

A traditional Turkish bath is the best one to visit.  The bath that I visited while in Turkey is called The Cemberlitas Bath.  The Bath is situated on the Divanyolu, facing the Vezir Hani side of the Hooped Column of Constantine.  In 992 AH (1584 AD) the royal architect Sinan built the bath which has been commissioned by Nurbanu Sultan, wife to Sultan Selim the second, and mother to Sultan Murad the third.   They did this in order to create an income stream fro the Valide-i Atif charity mosque complex.

The bath faces the Koprulu Mehmed Pasa Mosque, school and mausoleum.  It stands next to the Vezir Han, the old Darul-funun College, which is close to the Koprulu Library.

The bath opens its doors every morning at six o'clock and stays open until midnight to serve its clients, both male and female, which are separated in different quarters.  When walking into one of the oldest Turkish baths in Turkey you are greeted by the reception who reviews the prices and packages with you, and you can choose upon arrival.  You will certainly notice the history of present and past as you enter the building and you almost feel like you rewind to an era from over 100 years prior.

 

Once you select the service you prefer, you will be handed a drawstring bag with your washing mitt.  The attendants who will attend to you while you lay on the stone welcome you into the cool area and guide you to the changing room where you will have a locker to lock up and store your things. You take the key with you to the bath and can place it inside the small bag they provide you with.  Once you change and put on your robe, you will choose a pair of flip flops to walk to the hot turkish bathing area. You will enter the large room, which is a hot room, similar to that of the warmth of a hot yoga studio. This is where you will lay down on the central stone.  This central room includes others of the same sex, so know this is not a private room all to yourself, so ensure this is something that you will feel okay doing from a comfort level.

This room is where you will unwind and relax your body, and get prepared to be scrubbed down with the mit provided upon your entrance earlier.  A masseur (for the men) and a masseuse (for the women) will arrive to your chosen spot about twenty minutes after you laying on the warm stone. This is when your pores will open and you can have complete relaxation until your turn comes to be scrubbed down.  A good scrub by one of the attendants is followed by a loofah like soap massage, which lasts about five-ten minutes.  This scrub down is of course done in the nude and will certainly refresh your skin.  If you haven't purchased additional services, like that of a massage, manicure, pedicure, you will go into the next room to rinse off and towel off.

As I chose a manicure I had a longer session and my friend chose an invogorating massage so our services lasted a bit longer than the hot stone room.  Any additional services are your choice should you so choose to spend additional funds, and all services are very reasonable.  This Turkish bath is very clean and safe to store your belongings. It can be found near the center nearby the Grand Bazaar market.