Sauna culture in Turkey

Turkey is known for its rich culture, breathtaking scenery and impressive prehistory. Besides all these facets, the country also has a fascinating sauna culture to offer. In Turkey, sauna bathing has a long tradition that dates back to ancient times.
The typical hammam in Turkey is a place of communication

The typical hammam in Turkey is a place of communication

Sauna culture in Turkey. While many years ago the oriental and traditional sweat bath (hammam) was popular in Turkey, this trend has been going downhill in the modern parts of the country for several years. On the other hand, sauna culture is becoming increasingly popular in Turkey’s major cities. This is especially true for the Finnish sauna.

Traditional Hammam

During a visit to the oriental bathhouse Hammam, visitors feel a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. The procedure in the hammam is regulated by a fixed ritual. First, the ritual washing takes place, where the visitor cleans himself with water from head to toe with warm water. After this washing, the visitor relaxes in the hot room at 50 degrees and at a humidity of 65 percent, on a warm navel stone.

During the entire visit to the hammam, guests are wrapped in a traditional cotton cloth. This cotton cloth is kept on in the Turkish sauna society, even during the steam bath. Due to the warm stone, the cotton cloth remains warm all the time, which prevents cooling. After the skin pores open, and the muscles can relax due to the warmth, it is customary in Turkish sauna customs to be massaged by a Hammam master.

Hammam style body scrub

Thus the Hammam master accomplishes after the sweat bath, a kind of body peeling with the bath guest. With the help of a goat hair glove, the dead skin cells are removed, and at the same time the circulation of the blood is stimulated. The blood circulation of the connective tissue is stimulated, and the metabolism is stimulated.

In this country, however, the sweat bath does not end after this peeling, rather the body of the visitor is washed and kneaded by the hammam master. This process lasts for about 20 minutes. After this procedure, the skin is much softer and cleaner than before. The Turkish sauna sits are concluded by allowing the visitors to relax in a warm adjoining room. Here the guests can finish the hammam visit with tea and a lot of rest.

Modern sauna gains popularity

The hammam was once considered a traditional bathhouse where people underwent ritual ablutions. At the same time, this bathhouse was also considered a meeting place. However, traditional sauna customs are no longer observed as often or as extensively, especially in big cities. This is mainly due to the fact that the apartments in large Turkish cities have running and hot water.

On the other hand, modern sauna culture is becoming increasingly popular in Turkey. Above all the Finnish Sauna wins thereby ever more popularity. However, it should be noted that in Turkish saunas is specified that the women and men sauna separately from one. In addition, the covering of the body with textiles is prescribed.

The fascinating sauna culture of Turkey: unique traditions and healing experiences

  • The history of sauna culture in Turkey: sauna culture in Turkey can be traced far back to ancient times. The Romans, who once settled the area, brought their sauna traditions with them and significantly shaped Turkish sauna culture. Over the centuries, the Turks developed their own unique form of sauna, the “hammam”. Hammams are public bathhouses where people gather to relax, cleanse and improve their health.
  • The unique features of the hammam: The hammam is a place of rest and well-being. Traditionally, it consists of three main areas: the warm room, the hot room and the cold water pool. In the warm room, the guest warms up and sweats. Here a mixture of high humidity and heat is created, which cleanses the skin and promotes blood circulation. The main sauna rituals take place in the warming room. Here the body is scrubbed and massaged with warm water to exfoliate and revitalize the skin. The cold water pool is used to cool the body after the heat and stimulate circulation.
  • The Health Benefits of the Hammam: Turkish sauna culture offers a variety of health benefits. Sweating in the heat of the hammam cleanses the skin. The heat also helps relieve muscle tension and relieve stress. Hammam massage and exfoliation techniques improve skin health and leave skin feeling fresh and smooth. It also strengthens the immune system, improves blood circulation and relieves respiratory problems.
  • The social component of the hammam: The hammam also has a strong social component. It is a meeting place where people of different ages and social classes come together. Here you can exchange ideas, relax and make friends. The hammam creates a unique atmosphere of community where people can meet and exchange ideas. It is not uncommon for families and friends to visit the hammam together and spend valuable time together. This strengthens social bonds and promotes overall well-being.
  • The diversity of hammams in Turkey: Turkey has a wide variety of hammams, many of which have existed for centuries and are an important part of the local culture. Each region has its own specific hammam traditions and rituals. For example, in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, there are historic hammams such as the famous Çemberlitaş Hammam, which dates back to the 16th century, or the Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hammam, built by the powerful Ottoman Empress Hürrem Sultan.
  • Tips for visiting a hammam: If you want to enjoy an authentic hammam experience in Turkey, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, shower thoroughly before entering the hammam. Remember to bring a towel and flip-flops. Traditionally, the hammam also uses special cotton cloths to cover up. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as you can lose a lot of fluids through sweating.


Sauna culture in Turkey is a fascinating interplay of tradition, health and social interaction. The hammam, the oriental bathhouse, is a place for purification, relaxation and well-being. Not only does it provide health benefits such as cleansing the skin, relaxing muscles and boosting circulation, but it also creates a unique atmosphere of community. The shared experience in the hammam strengthens social bonds and allows interaction between people of different ages and social classes.

While the traditional hammam is losing popularity in some parts of Turkey, the modern sauna culture, especially the Finnish sauna, is gaining popularity. This shows that sauna culture in Turkey is evolving and adapting to people’s needs. However, the hammam is still an important part of Turkish culture and a place where people can enjoy the benefits of heat, steam and massage.

When visiting Turkey, be sure to visit a traditional hammam to experience the country’s fascinating sauna culture. Immerse yourself in the ritual ablutions, body scrubs and massages and let the warmth and communal spirit of the hammam enchant you. It’s a unique experience that invigorates your body, mind and spirit, and offers you a glimpse into Turkey’s rich culture and history.


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