Hammam - or Hamam - the steam bath of Agkistro

Hammam - also Hamam - the steam bath of Agkistro

The Hammām is a further development of the Greek-Roman bath, which the ancient Greeks, Romans and Byzantines have already implemented in their urban concepts as public baths 2,000 years ago.

Later, the Arabs adopted the concept of a public bath. The first Hammāms in the Islamic world were built in the Middle Ages in Jordan, today they are an important part of the Islamic bathing and body culture. Facilities of this kind are today also known with the  name "Turkish bath" or "Oriental bath". With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, Hamams were also established in the entire Balkan region, including Agkistro just before the border with Bulgaria.

Despite its distance from the larger cities, Agkistro is visited by around 100,000 tourists every year, especially the bathing facilities. Despite the general financial crisis in Greece, there is no local unemployment in Agkistro; more than thirty companies supply the tourism sector. The main attraction is the Byzantine spa complex, which has recently been renovated. The complex has seven bathing pools, the oldest one dating back to 950 AD.

The hammam is also a steam bath, which usually consists of marble with a circular lying surface in the middle of the room, the umbilical stone. Public hammam are used separately by sex: there are either separate rooms or different times of usage for women and men. In hotel facilities the Hammām can also be visited together. The visitor places a special towel (Peştemal) as a loincloth. On the walls are sinks with hot and cold water, with which you can either clean yourself regularly or you can be washed by a "Tellak", a bathing master or masseur. For this purpose, a cotton bag is soaped, filled with air, manually closed, and foam is stripped from the bag to the body. Massages and peelings are often offered at an extra charge. When peeling, the skin is scrubbed by rubbing with the so-called "kese", a rough towel or glove of wild silk or goat hair under strong pressure.

In addition to cleaning and sweating, there is also plenty of beauty care in the Hammam. The men use the relaxed atmosphere to shave, the women epilate the entire body (in Islam, the removal of the axillary and pubic hair is mandatory) or even color the hair. After visiting the warm steam bath, a phase of recreation and relaxation follows in a cooler room.

The baths of Agkistro are open all year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The accessibility is one of the most important positive factors, so people can enjoy the whole weekend on the premises. The temperature of the water is between 35 and 39 ° C and its quality is hypotonic, slightly radioactive, suitable for curing rheumatism and arthritis.

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