The Cemberlitas Bath opens its doors every morning at six o clock and stays open until midnight to serve its clients, female and male, in separate quarters. As you walk into the complex, a Sinan building, you are greeted with an atmosphere of times past. And so begins the traditional bathing process. Once you’ve selected the service you prefer, you obtain your wash mitt at the till at the entrance. The attendants welcome you into the cool area and will hand men a pestamal (cotton wrap) and ladies, a pestamal and a pair of disposable briefs. Move into the changing cubicle to undress. You are now ready for the hot area, where you will stretch out on the central stone. A good twenty minutes of relaxation on the central stone is recommended. This will unwind your body, open the pores, and prepare you for the scrubbing. A masseur (for the men) or a masseuse (for the women) arrives after some twenty minutes. A good scrub is followed by a soap massage. This cleanses and refreshes the skin. If you haven’t purchased additional services, now is the time to lie back down on the central stone, and later, wash yourself again, should you wish, at the washbasins.
CEMBERLITAS BATH HISTORY
The Cemberlitas Bath is situated on the Divanyolu, facing the Vezir Hanı side of the Hooped Column of Constantine. In 992 AH (1584 AD) the royal architect Sinan built the bath which had been commissioned by Nurbanu Sultan, wife to Sultan Selim II and mother to Sultan Murad III, in order to create an income stream for the Valide-i Atik charity mosque complex in Uskudar Toptasi.
The bath faces the Koprulu Mehmed Pasa Mosque, school and mausoleum. It stands next to the Vezir Han, the old Dar’ul-funun College, close to the mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud II, the Koprulu Library, the Atik Ali Pasa Mosque and school and the Ali Baba mausoleum.