Gay Sauna and Bath Houses in Istanbul

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Gay Turkish Baths in Istanbul

A scene in a male Turkish Bath


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 ago.
-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.

Visitor feedbacks:
"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." (15/05/2009)

 


 

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.

Galatasaray Hamam

Opening Hours: 08:00 am-10:00 pm
Address: Turnacibasi Sokak 24 Beyoglu, Istanbul +90 212 2524242
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)
Web: www.galatasarayhamami.com   

Visitor feedbacks:
"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 13, 2010)

"Suleymaniye 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)

Cagaloglu Hamam
 

Scrubbing massage in Turkish Bath

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
Web:  www.cagalogluhamami.com.tr  

Cemberlitas Hamam
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 18 50
Web: www.cemberlitashamami.com.tr 

Suleymaniye Hamam

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
Web: www.suleymaniyehamami.com.tr


Gedikpasa Hamami
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 district. 
Address: Hamam Cad. No : 65 - 67 Gedikpasa, Beyazit, Istanbul. 
Web: http://www.gedikpasahamami.com

Other Non-Gay Hamams in Istanbul

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.  

Firuzaga Hamam.
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.

Horhor Hamam.
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.

Sofular Hamami
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. Google map
Address: Sofular Caddesi, No: 66 Aksaray/Istanbul.

Buyuk Hamam
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, Istanbul.
Web: http://www.buyukhamam.net/


Cinili Hamam

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 Istanbul
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 official website
Address: The Marmara Hotel, Taksim. (at Taksim Square)

Flash Gym
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
Web: www.taksimflashgym.com/

Aquarius
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 Taksim-Beyoglu, Istanbul.
Web:
http://www.aquariussauna.com/

Visitor Feedbacks:
 

"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

 


 

What is 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 relaxation.

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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