Ottoman Baths

Location: Town   

The Ottoman Baths of Rethymno Crete, Greece: An interesting site of Rethymno is the Ottoman baths, also known as Hamam in Turkish. They are situated in the Old Town, on Radamanthyos st, and date from 1670. The floor is made of marble and there are windows high on the walls to let the light come into the rooms. This construction is very well preserved today but the baths are not open to the public.

The tradition of the hamams is long and they are very important for the Ottoman people, even today. The Ottomans used to build hamams in every area they conquered. Today there are Turkish hamams all over Greece and the most well-preserved are in Rethymno and Thessaloniki.

Hamams are not only regular steam baths but places of social gathering. The bathing procedure starts in the warm room, where people get warmed up with a continuous flow of hot, dry air. Then they move into the hot room to have a full body wash with cold water and a massage.

Finally, they go to the cooling room to relax even more. There they meet other people and start chatting. This communication bends the whole society together and functions as a ritual cleaning as well. This procedure remains the same for centuries.

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