Thursday, May 4, 2017


Çemberlitaş, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'30.8"N 28°58'18.0"E / 41.008556, 28.971667

 photo cemberlitas_hamam111.jpg


The Çemberlitaş Bath (Çemberlitaş Hamamı) is located on Çemberlitaş Square on Divanyolu Street situated in the midst of some of Istanbul’s greatest monuments. The bath was established by Nurbanu Sultan, wife of Sultan Selim II and mother of Sultan Murat III, for the purpose of bringing in revenue to support the Valide-i Atik Charity Complex in Toptaşı, Üsküdar. According to the Tuhfet’ül-mi’mârin, the bath is one of the structures built by the architect Sinan, in 1584.

The Çemberlitaş Hamam was planned as a double bath consisting of two identical, side-by-side facilities. The entrance for the men’s section is on Vezir Han Street and, because the road height has increased over time, it now has a deep entrance that is ten steps below street level. There are eaves over the entrance and on top of the entrance door there is an inscription with six lines in three columns.

In the past the entrance for the women’s section must have been from the Divanyolu Street adjacent to the tomb of Sultan Mahmut, but today women also use the men’s entrance and proceed to their own section through a side door. Part of the dressing room in the women’s section was lost when the Divanyolu street was widened in 1868.

The side that was cut off was closed with a wall that has rectangular windows on the bottom and star shaped ones at the top. The dressing room areas of the men and women’s sections are both roofed with large domes. There are three tiers of dressing rooms under these domes that were in the past both illuminated with windowed, dome- top cupolas called "roof lanterns".

Today only the lantern in the women’s section remains in its original state. The dome topped by this lantern rests on arches leaning on fine columns and is elegantly decorated. Today the men’s dressing room area, called the "cold area", is a quiet and restful area used as a resting and waiting place after the bath.

Each of the warm areas of the bath are  roofed by three domes. The toilets are reached from this area and have been built as extensions from the building proper. One enters the hot, bathing area from this transitional warm area through a wooden door in the area built under the middle dome. The plan of this hot area is unique as it does not entirely conform to traditional layouts for this bathing area. This can be explained with the fact that the architect Sinan both liked to innovate in his work, and also to the fact that Sinan was closely involved with the construction of the structure.

This space is shaped like a square on the outside, but the inner dimensions are in the shape of a circle formed of twelve columns, becoming a twelve-cornered polygon. The architect beautifully situated the domed, private bathing cubicles, the halvet, in the space made up of the four outer corners outside of the polygon.

Four antechambers are between the cubicle spaces. One enters the hot section by passing through these antechambers. The large dome covering the hot section is supported by high arches on top of columns with baklava shaped heads. The cubicles are separated from the main area by marble slab walls topped by tulip shapes. These dividers have inscriptions carved into each side. The private cubicles are entered through arched doorways at their front sides.

Couplets are inscribed on the front and the triangular shaped upper elements are covered with blossoms. The bath has 38 washing stalls. The multi-faceted central stone platform is directly beneath the wide dome. This broad heated platform is illuminated by the glass globe "elephant eyes" fitted into the overhead dome that catch the light from all directions.

This building dates to Sinan’s last period, one in which his long experience and great skill allowed him to combine functionality, elegance and tranquillity without abandoning his basic style that is devoid of overly decorated elements. For these reasons the architecture of his bath remains a focal point for Turkish and foreign researchers, universities, photographers, filmmakers, media professionals and students.


At the entrance to the bath, the bather will select and pay for one of the bathing options and be given tokens and directions.

After undressing in the dressing room area the bather will wrap his or her body in the "peştemal," a printed cotton body wrap, before leaving the dressing room. After locking all belongings in the locker provided (remembering to keep the key on his or her person at all times), the bather passes into the hot area that includes the central heating stone platform. This area is called the "hot area" (sıcaklık alanı) and includes the large, hot stone which is surrounded by bathing basins (kurna) and private bathing cubicles (halvet).

The bather should first get his or her body to perspire, either by lying or sitting on the hot stone platform or pouring hot water on the body by sitting next to one of the basins. If you have chosen the second option, the attendant will give you an exfoliating scrub and massage as you lie on the hot platform. You will then move to one of the basins and the attendant will wash you there.

If you prefer, however, you may remain lying on the platform to further perspire and rest and then, when you please, you may move to one of the basins to wash the body. The scrub, massage, and wash by the attendant lasts for approximately fifteen minutes, while the typical bather will remain resting and washing for one to one and a half hours, but there is never a time limit.

If you chose the first option, you will perspire either on the hot platform or nearby areas and then wash yourself at one of the basins.

When you feel ready to leave the bath, you will be given towels to use for drying. When you first enter the bath you should use one "peştemal", but you may use more than one towel for drying.


WEB SITE : Çemberlitaş Hamamı

Phone : +90 212 522 7974 / +90 212 520 1850
Fax : +90 212 511 2535

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