Turkish Baths in Istanbul
A scene in a male Turkish
We are not listing most of the Turkish baths on our websşte
due to annoying protests of their owners for being
advertised as gay venues, understandably, because they can still be
closed-down by an obsolete law which forbids sexual-action in public
places. To avoid any misunderstanding, this law has nothing to do with the gay action
specifically, and it does not have any punishment
for the individuals involved, but is still a reason to close
the venue for a specific period.
In recent years, there has
been extra pressure over gay-action places including bath
houses and saunas and since 2007 majority of the senior
gay-friendly bath houses have been closed down completely. These hamams had been popular meeting
places for Istanbullu local gay-men for decades.
But gay men has naturally discovered new places in place of
them, and we will at least give you the links of other
reasources from where you can obtain trustable information.
You can find the most update and detailed information on
Turkish Bath Guide.Com website, including location
maps and reviews of the people who have visited them. You
can also contact other people at the
Yahoo group which is supported by our website and has
over 6000 members already.
Most of the bath frequented by gays are located on some
back-streets and they are not very close to each other. For
that reason it is advised to make a comprehensive
investigation in advance, if you are intending to visit
several of them. We would also like to help by informing you
the venues which have already been closed down, although
they may still be listed
on some out-dated internet or printed gay guides.
-Cukurcuma Hamam and Kosk Hamam are completely closed.
-Aga Hamam is no more
gay-friendly/liberal as they used to be quite a long time
-Park Hamam (even changed its name as Sultanahmet Hamam) is
not welcoming gay people since 2004. They are now trying to
attract straight tourists, but it is not even recommended
for just a hamam experience which is not a very good sample of historical
Turkish bath houses.
"Not as it has been written on your page, Cihangir Sauna
is very liberal at these times since the owner has changed.
The room for resting can be used as dark room as well. You
can do whatever you want and feel free. Also one of the
meaasuer and the owner, Halis, is very hot and so friendly.
strongly recomended for visiting"
Posted by Eyup from Turkey 23 November 2011)
"Cihangir Sauna is one of the best places
for gays in Turkey. It is a sauna which has recently been
renewed and modernized. Clients are half locals, half
foreigners. I personally feel very comfortable. Opens at 10
am till 11 pm everyday. There is a sauna, showers with hot
water, a vitamin bar, massage (on purpose), a dark room,
independent tables and chairs to have chat and of course
individual rooms and lockers." Posted by Metin from Turkey
23 November 2011)
"This is about Park Hamam
(changed name) along Divanyolu. I had a really bed
experience there, though its now assumedly a family hamam
with both men and women than being explicitly gay. it say
1.5 hours@ 60LTR when technically was 20mın MAX for a shower
w. a foam rub, and 20 minutes for an oil massage. The guy
who gave me a foam bath himself had a shower for 15 min,
which was interesting. ........ On top of that when I
tried to give feedback, the owner was defensive and vocal. I
would never recommend anyone to this place though ideally
its the best location in a touristy area like Sultanahmet."
Non-Gay Historical Turkish baths
Following hamams are not gay venues, but are recommended to
people who wants to experience the atmosphere of a real
historical & traditions Turkish bath.
Opening Hours: 08:00 am-10:00 pm
Address: Turnacibasi Sokak 24 Beyoglu, Istanbul +90 212
This hamam was used exclusively by men for almost 500 years.
This all changed in 1963 with the addition of a small
section for women. However, aside from this little addition,
not much else has been altered. It was originally built in
1481 during the reign of Beyazit II and contains many pretty
details, such as the intricate tile work at the entrance to
the steam room in the men's section. One major feature here
are the marble slabs where bathers can be massaged in
semi-privacy rather than on the heated central navel stone.
The admission price includes a full service, including
massage. Admission fee is around 20 Euro (massage excluded)
"I've visited Galatasaray hamam
recently and I can give only good feedback. The staff was
pretty polite, everything was clean and professional. No gay
actions as i could seen. There are 4 semi private bath rooms
where you can go with someone and possibly have some action
but that's all. I have to mention that full service costs
about 40 Euros, not 20 as you mentioned here. Anyway it was
worth visiting it" (Posted by Igor from Austria on January
Hamam. When I was in Istanbul in the spring of 2011 I was
told the Suleymaniye Hamam would not admit lone males as
part of its family orientation."
(Posted by Stehle from US on January 1st 2012)
Scrubbing massage in
Cagaloglu Hamam ("hamam" means Turkish bath) was
built about 300 years ago on an area of 2834 sq.mt It is
considered the last sample of its category and the
architectural design is astonishing. It is open everyday.
The bathing hours for men are 07:00 - 22:00 and for women
08:00 - 20:00 hours. It also has a café as famous as itself.
Address: Prof. Kazim Ismail Gurkan Caddesi 34, Cagaloglu
(Across from the Iranian Consulate) Phone: (212) 522 24 24
It is located in
Sultanahmet, near the Grand Bazaar (there is Cemberlitas
tram station right across the entrance). This hamam built in 1584 was very popular among the
Ottoman Sultans. It is considered to be one of the most
important examples of 16th century Ottoman architecture.
Address: Vezirhan Caddesi 8, Cemberlitas Phone: +90(212) 520
Suleymaniye Hamam is a part of
Suleymaniye Mosque's Complex which incorporate the art and
genius of Architect Sinan, the greatness and strength of the
Ottomans and the beauty and elegance of Istanbul. This is
the only historical bath house in Istanbul where men and
women can go in together. This venue is listed here as an
information only because of its historical importance,
otherwise they do not allow single (gay/straight) people
into the hammam unfortunately.
Adres: Mimar Sinan Cad. No: 20, Suleymaniye, Fatih,
Istanbul. Phone: +90 212 520 34 10
Bult by an ottoman pasha (high ranked military officer)
Gedik Ahmet in 1475. It is centrally located, some 250 mt.
away from the famous Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, in Beyazit
Address: Hamam Cad. No : 65 - 67 Gedikpasa, Beyazit,
Other Non-Gay Hamams in
Ironically most tourists do not like to be in places where
there are other tourists and understandably want to
experience the original places where local people go. Although above
listed bath houses are easier to find and better samples
of historical Turkish baths we would also like to introduce
several other good samples of less-known local Turkish
baths. Actually, there is always a possibility bumping into
people interested in gay-affair in such less touristy bath
houses. Intimacy is highly recommended in such cases.
A small historical bath house in Beyoglu can be the one most
recommended if you want to see the local ambiance. It is
located at the end of the same street where (now-closed)
Cukurcuma Hamam was. Cukurcuma street is actually famous
with the antique shops all around it.
Address: Cukurcuma street, No: 6, Cukurcuma, Beyoglu.
Another small historical non-touristy hamam located in
Aksaray quarter of Istanbul's Fatih district. It can be
confused with Sofular Hamam (see below) in the same vicinity
known as Horhor, It is located close to Aksaray Metro
station, on a small back street.
See Google map
Address: Hamam Sokak, No: 8 Aksaray/Istanbul.
if you are looking for a local and not expensive one Sofular hamamı
near Horhor street in Aksaray, Fatih district
is the place. Horhor street area is also the oldest antique market
in Istanbul. This is a 16th century hamam with two-story
dressing cabins and an elegant pool with fountain. There are
separate sections for men and women. Tea, coffee and soft
drink services are available.
Address: Sofular Caddesi, No: 66 Aksaray/Istanbul.
Located in poorer Kasimpasa district of Beyoglu, not too far
from Taksim. It was built in the 16th century by
Mimar Sinan, famous royal architect of Ottoman Empire's
era of prosperity. The bath has both men and women's
section, mostly visited by local Turks.
Address: Potinciler street. No:22 Kasimpasa, Beyoglu,
The Çinili Hamamı was built in 1640 as part of a
mosque complex ordered by the Valide Sultan
(mother of the Ottoman Sultan). This is a double
bath, with separate sections for men and women. Each has two
central domed areas, one for the central room and the other
acting as a large vestibule for relaxing. The name Çinili
(tiled) comes from the quantities of Iznik tile decorations
both the mosque and the bath section.
This one is located in
Uskudar district on the Asian side. It
may not be wise to go all the way just for a bath visit, if
you are not staying nearby, but Uskudar has many other
places to visit. You can go to Uskudar with
ferry boats from Besiktas (not far from Taksim) or from
Eminonu piers (closer to Sultanahmet)
Address: Murat Reis Mahallesi,
Çavusdere Caddesi No. 204, Uskudar
Gyms & Fitness Centers in
There are no gyms and fitness centers explicitly known as
gay-friendly in Istanbul, but the following ones are
recommended for the people who do not want to change their
exercising habits, no matter.
The Marmara Spa & Gym Center
This is the most well known and profession spa center in
Istanbul. It is part of the The Marmara Istanbul
Hotel, but open to local people and tourists from outside.
The activities available are gym, swimming pool, sauna, bath
and massage. For more details see the
Address: The Marmara Hotel, Taksim. (at Taksim Square)
This is comparatively modest gym located on the 4th
floor in Aznavur Passage (a historical building functioning
as a traditional shopping mall on Istiklal Caddesi). The
building is located after Galatasaray square (the middle of
Istiklal) if you arrive from Taksim.
Address: Istiklal Cad. No: 212 Aznavur Pasajı Kat:4 Tomtom
Mh. Taksim Beyoglu, Istanbul
If you prefer a more liberal atmosphere for gays, you
can try Aquarius Sauna which has a small gym section.
The gym section has very basic work-out equipments such as
barbells, treadmill, bikes although some of these may
not even be working well. The swimming pool is not very big
but should be good enough for daily swimming exercises.
Address: Istiklal Caddesi, Sadri Alisik Sokak, No: 29/1
"Gyms in Taksim area - Was in Taksim for 8 days and had
gym workouts in 3 different places :
Aquarius Sauna just a couple of weights and a
bench, as indicated in your guide
CS Club Siraselviler Caddesi No : 188 tl +90 212
245 12 55
http://www.cihangirsportscenter.com/ nice gym ;
not gay, not really set up for short-time visitors. Cost
50TL per day or 150TL per week to work-out. INNPERA
SPORTING CLUB Siraselviler Caddesi No :15, Small but
excellent gym ; including free weights up to 50kg and a
small swimming pool. Better set up for visitors : 1 day pass
15, 1 week 50. Entrance through the Innpera Hotel. Ask for
the Spor Salonu and the staff will activate the elevator to
floor -2. Not gay. " Posted by Paul from Belgium on
November 13th, 2011
a Hamam ?
The Turkish hamam (also Turkish bath or
hammam) is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath, which
can be categorized as a wet relative of the sauna. They had
played an important role in cultures of the Middle-East,
serving as places of social gathering, ritual cleansing and
as architectural structures, institutions, and (later)
elements with special customs attached to them. Europeans
learned about the hamam via contacts with Turkey hence the
European name for it: "Turkish" hamam.
Taking a Turkish bath firstly involves relaxing in a room
(known as the warm room) that is heated by a continuous flow
of hot dry air allowing the bather to perspire freely.
Bathers may then move to an ever hotter room (known as the
hot room) before splashing themselves with cold water. After
performing a full body wash and receiving a massage, bathers
finally retire to the cooling-room for a period of
In Turkey, the advent of modern plumbing systems, showers,
and bathtubs in homes caused the importance of hamams to
fade in recent times.
A typical hamam consists of three interconnected basic
rooms similar to its Roman ancestors: the sicaklik (or
hararet -caldarium) which is the hot room, the warm room (tepidarium)
which is the intermediate room and the sogukluk which is the
cool room. The sicaklik usually has a large dome decorated
with small glass windows that create a half-light; it also
contains a large marble stone at the center that the
customers lie on, and niches with fountains in the corners.
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