Hammam Guide

Atik Valide (Part 2): Steamy-Heat Fear

by oldskool on Jul.12, 2010, under Asian side hamams

The Film Historian Bathes in Üsküdar

During my childhood my mother took me and my sisters almost every weekend to the hamam in my hometown. As I was very often one of few male children, women in the hamam were teasing me by saying: “Aren’t you old enough to visit the hamam when it’s open for men only?” And that was not the only thing that scared me. I was also afraid of the steamy heat in the hamam. I thought very often I would suffocate and die. That’s why I was very happy that I was the first of the children to be washed by my mother and brought to the waiting room where I sat down drinking my cold soft drink. When I grew older, I remained afraid of the steamy heat in the hamam and avoided going there. At the same time I was not at ease with the situation: How can a Turk avoid going to the hamam? At the moment I’m living abroad and last time I was in Istanbul and I was invited by some friends to go to the Tarihi Valide Atik Hamami in Üsküdar. I don’t know why, but I thought the time to get rid of this childish fear had come. So I decided to join my friends and went there. In the end it was a relaxing experience in the ‘deadly’ heat of the hamam!

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