The word of the hamam/hammam or Turkish bath is a remnant of Ottoman bath culture. Hammams traditionally have consisted of sunken tubs and marble platforms surrounded by glazed tiles, all placed in rooms without windows, which trapped heat and moisture from a Turkish steam bath.
As the Turkish kingdoms expanded, they brought their hamam with them, building them either as annexes to mosques or as stand-alone buildings. The hamam became an integral part of Ottoman culture, and some says Ottomans inspired from Greek and Roman traditions, and made bathing culture exclusively their own.
The religious significance of hygiene and purification contributed to the Turkish hammam’s to be cultural symbols in early Ottoman times. At the beginning, many of the baths were built right next to the mosques and were used before the prayer.
The hammam was always a modest retreat compare to Roman baths which were more outrageous as the Empire grew older.
Bathers first relaxed, perspiring, in the warm room, heated by a flow of hot, dry air. They then moved to the hot room, heated by hypocausts, to splash themselves with cold water, get a full body wash, and receive a massage. Drinks and food were served in the hammam.
While the hammam at first only permitted men, women were eventually allowed to visit after an illness or having given birth. Following, the hammam became a critical social opening for the sultan’s concubines and women who were living in Harem, or else generally isolated women.
The therapeutic qualities of the hammam were often noted. In fact, Muslim often called the hammam by the nickname “silent doctor.”