September 01, 2012

Take a Clean Break in Istanbul

ISTANBUL AWAKENS the senses like few places on earth, with its centuries-old minarets, fragrant bazaars, clanging trolleys, all the ships and ferries chugging up and down the mighty Bosporus.

For a long time, Istanbul has also offered a distinctive type of sanctuary from all that overstimulation: the Turkish bathhouse, or hammam. When much of Europe was still emerging from the Dark Ages, the sophisticated Ottomans were transforming the ablution centers of their Greek, Roman and Byzantine predecessors into salon-like relaxation palaces.

During a weeklong trip to Istanbul this year, I had the chance to immerse myself in this ancient tradition, visiting haute spots and local haunts in search of the city's most satisfying Turkish bath.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal: Take a Clean Break in Istanbul


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