In the column "Turkish Hamams" by Camille Hoheb in the November 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine, the author takes readers on a trip to visit trends ... and spa tips ... from these ancient hamams. Following is more history behind one of the hamams she visited, Cemberlitas. Also, don't forget to view the stunning photo gallery of hamams!
Cemberlitas was originally commissioned by the mother of Sultan Murat III to fund and support their kulliye and also to display the sultan’s great wealth. The kulliye is a large religious charity complex usually comprised of a mosque, school, soup kitchen and hospital. The rooftop had been recently renovated to accommodate special parties and celebratory events, such as bridal showers and birthdays. It was outfitted with chairs, tables, lanterns and can accommodate catered events. The hamam experience has always had a social focus, offering an opportunity to come together and share, and Cemberlistas offered a modern twist to an established practice with its welcoming rooftop patio.
During the Ottoman Era, the hamam was a kind of social women’s club where female relatives, neighbors and friends would arrange to meet During this period in Turkish history, women could not leave their home unattended, and it was even unseemly for a woman to leave her home too often, even if accompanied by a male. The bath was the exception to the rule and served many social purposes. Prospective mothers-in-law would seek suitable brides for their sons. Bridal parties were held called the Bride’s Bath, during which every female relative of the bride’s and groom’s families were invited to party held a few days before the wedding. Speeches, dancing, praying, bathing, refreshments and gifts were all a part of the festivities. Parties in hamams became important social events to mark marriage, the consummation of a marriage and childbirth, and were a very important aspect of social life.