Ultimate Turkish Bath Experience at a 500-Year-Old Hammam

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Ultimate Turkish Bath Experience at a 500-Year-Old Hammam

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Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in a unique cultural experience? When visiting Turkey, especially Istanbul, a visit to a traditional hammam should be at the top of your list. This ultimate Turkish bath experience guide will provide you with everything you need to know.

To have a traditional hammam experience in Istanbul, let’s start with the first question!

What is a hammam experience like?

A Turkish hammam experience involves several steps, which include an overall cleanse, exfoliation, steam, foam, and oil massages

Hammams are communal bathhouses steeped in rich Ottoman tradition. The experience is similar to a spa visit but with a much deeper cultural significance. Hammams also encourage deep exfoliation with the help of hot steam. It’s a traditional experience that should not be missed when visiting Istanbul.

You may ask, “What is the Çatma Mescit Hammam experience like?”. Çatma Mescit Hammam has been a tradition since 1533. At our Turkish bath, experiencing a historical surrounding offers a totally different experience compared to a typical day spa.

What happens during a traditional hammam?

During a hammam session, you’ll choose from a range of services. The session typically includes:

  1. Starting with sweating in the steamy warm room.
  2. Participating in the bath ritual led by a professional attendant.
  3. Full-body exfoliation to cleanse and invigorate your skin.
  4. Soap massage with foam covering your entire body.
  5. Refreshments such as traditional snacks, fruits, and beverages may be served between treatments, depending on the hammam you visit.
  6. Massage treatments like oil or hot stone massages usually conclude the ritual.

Each hammam has its unique structure and services, but this list typically forms the backbone of a standard hammam ritual.

What does a Turkish hammam involve?

A traditional Turkish hammam has three hammam rooms, each with varying temperatures:

If you are wondering about what is a hammam room, let us explain one by one:

When you first enter a hammam, you’ll be directed to a designated dressing room. Inside, you’ll find a locker for storing all your personal and valuable items.

The ritual begins with undressing in the dressing room and then relaxing in the warm room to start the sweating process.

Next, you’ll move to the hot room for a scrub (kese), followed by a soothing soap cover, foam massage, and a thorough rinse. 

The experience concludes with a relaxation period in the cool room to bring your body temperature down, often accompanied by snacks and drinks to enhance your experience.

Last but not least, there is “Külhan” (furnace room), a unique feature of the Çatma Mescit Hammam, where the furnace generates the heat and steam for the hammam. It’s the operational part of the bath, usually located beneath or adjacent to the hammam.

Is a Turkish bath good for you?

Yes, according to many people, a Turkish hammam offers a thoroughly relaxing experience. 

Turkish hammams are well worth the visit with a serene ambiance, providing a meditative and calming atmosphere. At Çatma Mescit Hammam, you’ll be welcomed by the soothing sounds of a fountain and soft background music, which adds to the atmosphere.

Hammam is excellent for the skin. The scrubbing removes dead skin cells, and the steam opens pores, allowing for deep cleansing. The soap used in Turkish hammams is typically natural olive oil soap, renowned for its excellent moisturizing properties. Sometimes, other scents like lavender and eucalyptus are also used, offering the same nourishing and hydrating qualities.

Are hammams safe?

Yes, hammams are hygienic and safe places. However, if you have any skin conditions or are pregnant, we recommend checking with your doctor first. If you are generally comfortable with saunas and steam rooms, you should be fine in a hammam as well.

What is so special about a Turkish Hammam?

Turkish baths, or hammams, are a continuation of a rich culture that dates back to the early Ottoman Empire. Loved by people of all ages and backgrounds, hammams remain a cherished tradition.

The architecture of these buildings is also one of the special things about them. The Çatma Mescit Hammam was built in 1533 by the famous architect of the Ottoman Empire called Mimar Sinan. Today, we are proud to share this timeless experience with those intrigued by its history and benefits.

In addition to these cultural and traditional aspects, Çatma Mescit Hammam is also the best hammam in Istanbul for couples.

To learn more about couple hammam sessions, you can take a look at our hammam packages!

What to expect from a Turkish bath?

When stepping into a Turkish bath, expect to feel an instant relaxation because the whole place is designed for it. The different aspect of a Turkish bath compared to a spa is the hammam ritual you experience. For people who are not familiar with it, here are some of the hammam terms you can get more information about:

Showing hammam terms including tellak, kese, göbektaşı, peştemal, kurna, tas

Çatma Mescit Hammam has preserved these traditional aspects since the 16th century. At our hammam in Istanbul, near Taksim Square, you can experience everything mentioned above!

Are Turkish hamams mixed?

Most of the communal Turkish hammams have separate sections for women and men. Some of the hammams have sessions for couples, families, and friends. These sessions are completely exclusive to your group.

A 500-year-old Turkish bath, Çatma Mescit hammam offers this private session in their services. You can make your hammam experience exclusive by opting for an elevated session.


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What do I need to bring to a Turkish bath?

Turkish baths usually provide you with the essentials such as:

  • Towels (peştamal)
  • Slippers
  • Soaps 
  • Washing glove (kese)

Before your visit, it’s a good idea to check with the hammam about what’s included in their package. For hygiene reasons, bringing your items is perfectly acceptable. Hammam towels and washing gloves are readily available throughout the shops in Istanbul, especially Eminonu, and can also make wonderful cultural souvenirs.

As for the dress code, it varies depending on the hammam’s rules. If you’re not comfortable with just a towel wrapped around your chest, you can bring along your own bathing suit

🫧Çatma Mescit Hammam provides all the essentials for your visit.🫧
While you don't need to bring anything, the hammam policy encourages visitors to bring their personal items if it makes them more comfortable.

What to do before going to a hammam?

Before heading to a hammam you might want to prepare yourself with these useful tips for your visit:

  1. Make an appointment: It’s advisable to schedule your visit in advance.
  2. Bring your essentials: Consider bringing your own towel, scrubbing mitt, and toiletries for hygiene reasons.
  3. Stay hydrated: Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  4. Avoid overeating: Try not to eat a heavy meal before your hammam session.
  5. Don’t forget to tip: Bring some cash to show appreciation to your massage therapist.
  6. Remove makeup and jewelry: It is recommended to clean your makeup and put your jewelry in the safe locker.

And most of all, remember to relax and enjoy this wonderful hammam Istanbul experience to the fullest!

Should I shave before a hammam?

Shaving before a hammam is a personal preference. Some choose to shave beforehand as it can enhance the exfoliation process. However, it’s important that newly shaved skin may be sensitive, and the scrubbing during the hammam session could cause irritation. Consider shaving a day before your visit for a more comfortable experience.

Can I go to a hammam on my period?

Yes, you can go to a hammam on your period. It is recommended to use a tampon or menstrual cup for comfort and hygiene. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always reschedule your visit.

What is the etiquette for a hammam bath?

There are several rules for maintaining peace in a hammam:

  • Respect the traditions and other visitors
  • You should speak softly and not raise your voice.
  • If you’re in a communal session, be mindful of other people’s personal space.
  • Follow the instructions given by the attendants.

This attitude is important to pursue in a hammam environment.

What are the rules of the hammam?

These are some easy and common rules to follow in a Turkish hammam:

  • Showering before entering the steam rooms.
  • Wearing appropriate attire (towel or swimsuit).
  • Using your phone and especially your phone’s camera is not allowed.
  • Tipping the attendants is customary.


If you are interested in an experience like this, our Catma Mescit Hammam team is here to help you! Contact us for more information.