I've been sent on a sourcing mission to Istanbul, yes I'm a lucky devil! Aside from hunting down exciting and exotic baubles to add to our Dipped Row collection, (hop on over to our website to view some beautiful Turkish baubles: www.dippedrow.com) I’ve been having a ball exploring incredible historical landmarks and getting pampered like an ottoman princess.
My first stop after a hectic day of roaming the streets of Istanbul was of course, a little RnR at the famed Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami. The bathhouse, or hamam as it is known in Turkish, was constructed in 1580 to serve marine forces in the Ottoman navy, and was built by the great architect Mimar Sinan. Sinan's distinctive architectural lines and symmetry are prevalent and it remains one of the symbolic buildings in Tophane, Istanbul's Harbour District. It took seven painstaking years of intensive restoration to breathe new life into this historic edifice!
As you walk into the hamam, a feeling of calm and serenity takes over you. Sweeping stone ceilings and a majestic fountain welcomes weary guests. A lady clad in black, hands me a delicate glass of sherbet, a sweet and refreshing drink made from fresh mulberries. After changing into a linen towel I am led into the hamam.
Resplendent in white and grey marble, a dramatic dome ceiling carved out in the shape of stars and crescents takes your breath away. You lie on a heated hexagonal marble platform in the middle of the hamam, close your eyes and relax. Similar to a sauna, the heated marble soothes weary aches and pains and softens your skin for the ultimate hamam experience. After 10 minutes, a lady in a modest bathing suit and a sarong takes me to one end of the bathhouse and with a mitt, scrubs away at my body. Surprisingly it is quite relaxing and not painful at all. She then presents a net, shaped like a pillowcase and dips it into the sink filled with soap. As the net fills up with suds, she pulls it from the top to the bottom and foamy bubbles are produced – and there you have a bubble bath, Turkish style!
After shampooing and conditioning my hair, you lay once again on the heated marble slab. My skin was so sparkly and soft and I felt so perfectly relaxed. All of my worries were soothed and sloughed away; there wasn’t a better way to end the day.
This is definitely a must-do if you are ever in Istanbul; it’s a unique and indulgent experience. If you want to feel as beautiful as an Ottoman princess, I would say that the hamam would be the first place to start.
Love and more love,
The Dipped Row Team xo