Hammam

Once I wrote about Russian banya, it’s the most popular type of saunas in my place but it’s not the only one.
Other popular types are Finish sauna and Hammam.
Hammam origin is Turkish or Arabic. I never visited a hammam in those countries so it might be that I can speak about a localized version.
In the case of hammam I can see a few key difference from other types of sauna:
1. It’s not as hot as Russian banya. 30-50 C degrees normally.
2. It’s wet, ultra wet, the main substance of transferring heat is the water steam.
3. There must be a massive stone bed or play to lay down.
4. As I got it hammam usually implies massage.

My kids like hammam very much, we alway visit the same one.
Because it’s a lot of steam inside it looks like thin fog.
And they ask me: father let’s go to play hedgehogs.


It’s kind of a joke. They refer to a famous Russian cartoon about a hedgehog who was lost in the fog. When they inside that steam they often pretend that they are those hedgehogs.

Here is a picture of the hammam that we usually visit:

It has tiled walls, floor, and ceiling. It has a tap with cold water.
And there is a big stone bed in the center and stone benches on the perimeter.
The process is quite simple: you get in, lay down on the warm stone, and the steam generator starts working.
In a few minutes, there are so many steam that you can’t even see your own nose. It’s hot and wet because of steam.
The ceiling is not flat. It has the form of the dome. And it makes an interesting effect. The steam is precipitated on the highest part of the dome, in the center and drop down on you as a cold rain. Not too much a few drops per minutes but it’s good for contrast.

After 5-10 minutes steam generator stops working and air begin to cool down, that is the time for relaxing. You can just lay in the cooling room and relax.

I’ve read on the Internet that people spend a lot of time sitting in hammams, but I don’t think that those are the same types that we have.
In our hammam I can’t lay inside more than for twenty minutes.
Then I have to jump into the cold pool.

Tell me about your favorite type of sauna?
Do we do our hammams close enough to the original?

 

 

4 comments

  1. To be honest, I have never been inside the hammam (the only one I know in Gaza). I already told you about its name and that it’s an old one called “Al Samrah”. Its walls and the whole design is traditional and it looks like old remains. They renewed it many times as I remember. They use wood, I can smell it whenever I pass from that area where it locates. I don’t think that there are any pools inside, but you can find big bricks or a long table for massage. My brother can tell more about this because he was there many times.

    I also know that they have hot drinks there; herbs that help you to relax.

    I hope that my reply gives you new details, otherwise, you should come and try it 🙂

    Matta~

  2. Interesting, in the USA our private fitness clubs, like LA Fitness or Gold’s Gym, often have wet or dry steam saunas, but they are small — about 10 ft x 10 ft — and you sit on wooden benches (usually redwood, waterproof).  No massage though.  Massages in the USA are easily $100 per hour.  I never get massages — can’t afford them.

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