I have been quite exhausted when I came back from travelling in Pakistan. I had a stopover in Istanbul, meeting my friends. What would be better for my tired body than visiting an original Turkish Hamam?
Yes, I did it. I walked into the camegah (lounge) of the Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı and was taken by surprise by the grandeur of the building and the impressive main dome, considered among the largest Hamam domes in Istanbul. While the staff member explained me the details of the ritual, I had a sip of the traditional home-made şerbet (sherbet).
After I was guided to the dressing room to don my peştamal (the classic cotton hamam wrap) and to start my Turkish Bath experience. A special attendant, – natır (for ladies) and tellak (for men) – who assisted me all along my journey inside the Hamam, welcomed me at the entrance of the hot room. To relax and soften my skin as well as helping my body to adjust to the heat of the Hamam, I was first lying down on the Göbektaşı, the hexagon heated marble in the middle, for 20 minutes. Then, my attendant took me to the Kurna (the marble water basin) where she exfoliated my body with a special scrubbing mitten, the kese. After rinsing, the final step of the ritual – Köpük (bubble soap wash) – started and I got rubbed with a loofah, leaving me with a complete feeling of purification.
After I could enjoy the ambience of the Hamam as long as I liked. Again at the camegah I was resting on the comfortable sofas and enjoyed some Turkish black tea.
What a treat! By the way, it was the birthday present from my friend Vivian, whom I visited in Istanbul.