Friday, May 12, 2017

MAHMUTPAŞA HAMAM since 1466

Mahmutpaşa, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'43.5"N 28°58'12.0"E / 41.012083, 28.970000

About 250 metres down Mahmut Paşa Yokuşu, we come to a turning on the left where we see an imposing domed building. The hamam, built in 1466 (871 A.H.), is located on the Mahmud Paşa highway leading up to the mosque. This was originally part of the Mahmut Paşa Complex, and, as always in these interdependent pious foundations, its revenues went to the support of the other institutions in the complex.

It consists of an entrance hall with latrines, a cold-room (soğukluk) and a hot-room (sıcaklık). The soğukluk is a truly monumental room covered by a dome with spiral ribs and a huge semidome in the form of a scallop shell; on each side are two square cubicles with elaborate vaulting.

The hararet is octagonal with five shallow oblong niches, and in the crossaxis there are two domed eyvans, each of which leads to two more private bathing cubicles in the corners.

The entry to the baths is adorned with a grand muqarnas portal beyond which the entrance hall looms large with its tall dome measuring 27 meters in diameter. Entering the smaller cold-room under a demi-dome, the square space with two eyvans and private bathing cells (halvet) is covered with a whorl dome.

Like most of the great hamams, it was originally double, but the women’s section was torn down to make room for the neighbouring han. We enter through a large central hall (17 metres square) with a high dome on stalactited pendentives; the impressive size of the camekân is hardly spoiled by the addition of a modern wooden balcony.

The following hot room has an octagonal navel stone (göbektaşı) at its center under a dome pierced with lights that sits on eight piers. It has five eyvans with taps and basins between the piers and two other eyvans give access to private cells at the four corners of the chamber.

Like all of Mahmut Paşa’s buildings, his hamam is a very handsome and well-built structure. For a time it fell into disuse and then served as a storage depot, but it has been restored and now serves as a market hall.

A han stands today on the site of the women's section that was demolished. The remaining men's section survived damage by fire in 1755 and was restored in 1955.

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