In the old days, women's bathhouses in Turkey were generally true women's clubs - almost the only place where a woman could at least for a short time get rid of the total control of a man and be surrounded by her own kind.
A trip to a Turkish bath is not necessarily a collective entertainment. A solo visit also has its charm. In most baths, as before, there are male and female departments, and in some only one, which men and women use alternately.
The classical Turkish bath consists of three sections. The first section is called "jamkan" (camekan). This is the lobby, sometimes with a fountain, which has a cashier and locker rooms. They are quite roomy - something between a wardrobe and a room. Inside there is a locker for your clothes and even a deckchair for relaxing.
At the checkout, you should pay for either just washing or washing plus a massage. Here you will be given a "pestemal" (pestemal) - a colorful bath towel, usually with velcro, and also a "takunya" (takunya) - wooden slippers. Wrapping a towel around the hips (in the Turkish bath it is not customary to go naked) and wearing slippers, you go to “sogukluk” (sogukluk) - a room in which moderate heat reigns and showers and toilets are located.
And finally, the third, the main section of the Turkish bath - “hararet” (hararet). This is something between ours between soap and steam. It is not so hot here as in the Russian bath, the steam is thick, but softer. Light penetrates small openings in the dome. On the marble benches are people. On the side, on the same bench, massage therapists work. Cold and hot water flows from the taps to the sinks. In the depths of the hall there may be a small pool, not intended, however, for swimming - standing water is considered unclean by the Turks. In the center of “Hararet” under the dome there is a marble elevation, called “Gobektashi” (gobektasi), or literally - “belly stone”. It is he who provides the room with the main heat - there is a fire chamber under the “belly stone” in the basement.
The extreme extreme side of the Russian bath is completely absent in the Turkish “hamam”: no life-threatening temperatures, giving in to the park, waving brooms, hooting, and diving into the ice-hole. The Turkish bath differs from the Finnish sauna again with a lower temperature and the lack of a common pool.
It is believed to leisurely lie down on a marble lounger, having previously placed a towel or a sheet on it, and sweat hard. The latter is not difficult to do, because the marble is very hot and the heat from the stone heated from below gradually penetrates the body. Ten minutes later, sweat begins to flow copiously, after another quarter of an hour you become warm, soft, relaxed and ready to massage.
You go to a marble bench, which is not heated from below, and a mustached massage therapist (keseci) takes over. He grabs your head with trained claw hands and starts massaging his forehead, temples, cheekbones, jaws and neck first. Then it goes to the shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, legs and toes. He turns you over on your stomach, massages your back muscles, recounts every vertebra, twists your arms, knees on your back, and nearly makes you reach your head. From pain and pleasure, you groan, groan, groan, and are surprised that youthful flexibility has returned to your body. The massage ends with the bath attendant taking the client’s flattened body and trampling it down with his feet.
The real, described above, Turkish massage, being a tradition of the country, is an uncompromising thing and completely unique, but the current masseurs are rare hackers, completely spoiled by tourists. Therefore, if you want to hear the crunch of your own bones, immediately negotiate with the massage therapist about "baksheesh", that is, an additional fee.
After the massage they give you get a little rest, since you, most likely, you will not be able to lift your finger and remain lying on the marble bed in a state of perfect euphoria and complete loss of a sense of reality. The bath attendant also needs rest - as you can see, their work is quite tedious. Not in vain in the bathhouse attendants in the old days were former sportsmen-wrestlers.
After a short break, the second stage of the Turkish bath begins - proper washing. The attendant mercilessly scrapes you with a mitt (kese), woven from horsehair and only slightly soaked in soapy water. With habit it becomes embarrassing when you see that the dirt peels off from you layers. In fact, the gauntlet removes and the top dead skin layer.
Then the attendant throws soap in a pillowcase, inflates it and squeezes fluffy soap flakes on you. You're drowning in soap suds. The attendant lightly rubs the client with a soap bubble-pillowcase and slightly massages as if caressing. Finally, they put you in front of a marble sink, wash your head three times, sprinkle with warm water, and finally, bring down several basins of ice-cold water. Purity!
A visit to a Turkish bath lasts an hour and a half or two at least. Clean and tired, with breathing pores, you get to the lobby, where you will immediately be offered a large towel and soft drinks. If there is no power at all, then you can lie on a deck chair in your cabin and feel that you have never been so absolutely virgin and incredibly clean.