June 01, 2011

Bathhouse of Sultan's Favorite Reopens in Istanbul

Ottoman bath houses, structures once so important they were designed by the finest architects of the realm, fell out of favor as Turkey modernized and its citizens installed running water and bathrooms in their homes.


Yet the architectural pedigree of many of the bath houses, the rising number of foreign tourists, and a resurgent interest among Turks in all things Ottoman, have revived the fortunes of the old stone hamams as developers recognize their huge earning potential.

Roxelana's hamam, a long, domed building completed in 1557 by the prolific architect Sinan, is the latest Istanbul bath to be restored to its former grandeur -- emerging after years of neglect as an oasis of gleaming marble and inviting alcoves.

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