Hamam – Temple where the soul is washed

Through small windows in the giant dome Galatasaraya, female Hamam in Istanbul, the bright sunlight falls. Sabiha, who works for many years here, sits down next to me on "navel", Located right under the dome, marble elevation, and starts a story: "My late mother caught Golden times Hamama, half a century ago she soap big and strong Turkish women. And now tourists go more often". Fifty-day-old Sabiha – hereditary "Sadir", The bathhouse in Hamam, here and appeared. The contractions began with the mother when that massaged wet bodies. She was taken to a separate room, "SunCue", there she gave birth.

Today come here more and less. And it affects Sabihu: "After all, not to wash in Hamam – I don’t really wash". She turns to Gulzen his regular visitor with whom they have become friends for fifteen years: "Right i say dear?". "My husband installed in our apartment "jacuzzi", – Highly comes into conversation Gulsen. – But if I do not wash in Hamam, I still feel dirty". They are happy to indulge as memories: "Previously, Hamama for women and men were often placed in the same building, and only in color towels, walked in "Jumekian" – locker room, it was possible to know who was doing now". Before visitor Hamama worn silver bathing slippers. Sabihi and Gulzen have very beautiful slippers from Syria. Only today they are already with difficulty flying to swollen legs.

The Facade of Hamamov did not attach much importance, but the inner decoration was almost always pompous. In the twilight among pompous columns Hamam, the imperial Ottoman Past seems almost real, and the time as if it fell into the eternal captivity of silence, peace and self-seeing.

The ritual of visits was formed over the centuries. From "Jamekyan", locker rooms, decorated with stained glass windows, women go to the middle room. V "SunCue" There is a pool with a fountain, usually behind the glass partition. From there, wrapped in bathing sheets, women go to "Chararet" – Parling, the most warm part of the bath, where it is located "navel". There they are waiting for massage and washing.

"Who enters Hamam, sweats", – says the proverb. Pulled and me, and then, having matched on "navel", asked Sabihi to massage me ("Grind dirt", How they say here) With the help of mitigious mittens from hard matter.

I’m triturated, and I feel like a lizard changing the skin. And Sabiha at that time tells that only the Turkhatic ever accustomed to Hamama can, never shrinking, make a massage session. All his knowledge about the world of Sabiha got exactly here in Hamam. In addition to regular clients, such as Gulzen and other already elderly women, she washes and Potaski from the Istanbul district of Baoglu and says that at the same time she often wants to cry. "Sometimes, the Sabiha sighs, all their body, from the clavicle to the most heels, is one solid bruise. – Many come specifically to me; It is said that my hands bring healing".

Hamam - Temple where the soul is washed

Over the years, she surrounded Hamam the whole world of legends. Now she enthusiasbly retells to me believers, as if Hamam heals from infertility, and recalls the old custom of worrying unmarried girls in the pool, so that they rather married. To do this, it was necessary not only to make a ritual ablution, "Abdest", But still light a candle and pronounce prayer. And the most amazing story of Sabih about the daughter of Sultan Suleiman – Mikhrime. According to her, she was only one breast, and therefore the girl always washed alone. In Hamam, built only for her, was a secret "Peach Bath". Mikhrima went there until death. And all the women of Istanbul believed that someone who would get in this bathroom, the chest will certainly be swirling.

In a few words, Sabiha summarizes its almost half a century experience: "The main thing is never to remove the bathing sheet! You ask how to wash? Only the one who knows how this can wash in Hamam". Many men, she says, willingly climbed the dome of the female Hamam to pry through the windows. (I involuntarily raise my face to Dome. But only the sky looks in his windows.) And a woman who knows about it, chascutely wrapped in a sheet.

I’m sitting on the edge of the marble pool and naked my "New skin". "When you come back home, the bath will seem close to you", – In one voice, they assure Sabiha and Gulsen and invite to come to Hamam again. What is special in those women who are constantly visited by a Turkish bath? Among the votes under the height dome and sliding rays of the light, my soul turns into steam. Not a single color of that world, where I drank, no longer disturb me. After all, Hamam for ordinary people – as a secluded cave, in which Dervish is hidden from the worldly fuss. And in this kingdom of water and the couple can be made that philosophers are called "return to oneself".

Hamam - Temple where the soul is washed

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