Historical Architectural Texture

“I hope that until the end of days, good hearted friends who take a look at what I have made, when they will perceive the seriousness and the spirit of my effort, can have a fair view and can invoke my name to pray for me.” Mimar Sinan, Architect


The Hurrem Sultan Hammam was designed and built by Mimar Sinan, the chef Ottoman architect. It was built at the request of Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century (1556-1557 AD), where the ancient public baths of Zeuxippus (100-200 AD) used to stand, between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The area is also particularly significant as the site where the Temple of Zeus once stood. 
The hammam was operational until 1910 when it closed for many years. It was later used to house the convicts during times when the nearby 

Sultanahmet Prison was full. The Hurrem Sultan Hammam, was restored for the first time between the years 1957-1958 and was a carpet exhibition hall until 2007.

Although the hammam was built in the classical period Ottoman bath style, it was an innovation in Turkish bath architecture to have the sections for men and women constructed on the same axis as mirror images of each other.

Hurrem Sultan's Life

Hurrem Sultan was born in Rohatyn within the borders of the Crown of the kingdom of Poland. She was later presented to the Ottoman Palace to start her life in the harem of the Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. Hurrem gained the attention of Suleiman and was one of the few women to be officially married to an Ottoman Sultan.

Her infulence on Suleiman was well known and is thought to have even reached the politics within the Ottoman court.

Hurrem commissioned many public buildings as part of her charitable work, including the Hurrem Sultan Hammam

Together with Suleiman the Magnificent, Hurrem had one girl, Princess Mihrimah, and live boys, the princes Mehmed, Abdullah, Selim, Beyazid and Cihangir.

Hurrem Sultan passed away on April 18, 1558 at the age of 52, eight years before her husband Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She did not witness the enthronement of her son Selim II who became Suleiman's successor in 1566 AD.


Hurrem Sultan Hammam that preserved its unique structure for 450 years opened a new era in Turkish Bath architecture and has the title of being the first structure where women and men sections are on the same axis. Suleyman the Magnificent had Mimar Sinan build the Turkish Bath in 1556 year. 

Hammam is showing differences from classical period Ottoman bath architecture with its double bath shape and 75m. length. In Turkish Hammam where men coldness, warmness, hotness sections and women hotness, warmness and coldness sections follow each other; all domes are covered with lead.

Restoration project of Hurrem Sultan Hammam carried out by Kocaeli University Faculty of Architecture, which is expert in historical building restoration. No element of original bath architecture was sacrificed during the restoration 

process carried otu with efforts of interdisciplinary teams consisting ofacademicians and professionals of their own field, that lasted for months. Materials and technological systems that were used for the first time in Turkey were utilized for the works.

Hammam was built in 1556 year by Mimar Sinan. Restoration began in 2008 year. 1300 sqm. of Marmara Marble was used for restoration. Only the bath with 2 domes on the same line. Coldness section dome height is 24 meters. Navel stone temperature 42 degrees, private room temperature 48 degrees. 

Bath Culture

The history of public baths strecthes as far back as the Romans. Excavations carried out in the city of Pompeii, preserved by ash following the eruption of the Vesuvius, uncovered the baths that were used by the Romans. These baths were not just for partical purpose, but also for the art of pleasure and entertainment. The Roman bath consisted of the stream room and hot and cold water pools.

The Byzantines continued the rich heritage of the Romans, including their bath culture, and int turn influenced the Ottomans. At the height of the Ottoman empire, every neighborhood of Istanbul had a hammam with hot and cold bath, fountains and domed marble rooms. There were days each week when they were open exclusivelyfor women. The main reason why the baths took such an important place in Ottoman culture was for religious purposes. According to the Koran,

cleanliness is not just an important but a fundamental part of the faith. These marble temples also provided a meeting place for locals to partake in conversation along with bathing and massage. 

It was customary for the wealthy to come to the bath with a silk towel, comb, henna, kohl, soap from Crete, mother of pearl inlaid sandals and in the company of servants. This elaborate preparation was due to the fact that the time spent in the hammam was not just an hour but took up most of the day.

For the past one thousand years, the hammam tradition has been important for cleanliness and health but also for entertainment and social gatherings. These traditions have been reinterpreted for the modern culture in the Hurrem Sultan Hammam.

Turkish Bath Sections

Cold Room 

The enterance is known as the cold room. Within the cold room section are a VIP room, changing rooms with security lockers, reception area, massage rooms, bar ,  a boutique and the resting area. This is where you will change into the pestamal before your hammam ritual. After your hammam experience this is also the place to relax, drink a replenishing sherbet (fruit drink) and gaze up at the huge dome basking in the history of the sultans.

Warm Room

After perspiring in the hot room, this is the place where the attendants will scrub your skin. You can also see part of the old heating system that was originally used in the hammam.

Hot Room

The large marble massage platform in the hot room lies under the hammam’s dome and is surrounded by both open and private alcoves (halvet). The temperature in the hot room is around 42 – 47 degrees while the private alcoves may reach 60 degrees. In the hot section there are basins to fill with cooling water and gold-plated bowls for pouring it over your body. This room is where you first go so the heat prepares your skin for the scrub. It is also where the bubble wash and massage service is provided after your scrub.