Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dreaming of a Turkish Bath House

Blame it on the cold winter we are having in Chicago, but I am dreaming of the Turkish Bath House in Akko, Israel. The place itself is a dream, because it is not a functioning bath house anymore, but rather one of the sites you can visit on a tour of historic Akko. A bodiless voice guides you through this 18th century Ottoman hamam, pretending to belong to the last bath house attendant, a hereditary position.


In the first room, people would gather to socialize, smoke, trade gossip, and acclimatize to the steamy heat. Belongings would be placed in these "lockers" before moving on to the actual baths and steam rooms.

The light dims and doors open magically to usher you from one room to the next.

Life size statues populate the bath house, as if frozen mid-action by some magical power.


Light streams in through a sieve-like dome roof.

Time for a rub down.

The ultra green lime tree in the bath house courtyard. Yes, dreams of green, too!

Today's bath house attendant...

PS: These photos were taken during my July 2014 trip to Israel, when the bath house was cooler inside than the arid heat outside.