T he 'culture of water' and the 'bath tradition' have been known in Anatolia since time immemorial. But it was the 'Turkish hamam' that immortalized them, making them an integral part of everyday life and culture. In their homeland in Central Asia , the Turks had steam baths which they called 'manchu'. Bringing their Asian tradition with them, they merged it with the bath culture they found in Anatolia , and a new synthesis was born, the 'Turkish bath'. With their traditions, associated beliefs, and philosophy of life, baths became an institution, which spread all the way from Anatolia to Hungary in Europe . Many European artists took the Turkish bath, and women's gatherings at baths, as a theme in their paintings.
SPECIAL BATH DAYS
Although baths served society as a whole, men and women came to bathe at separate times. Bathing was a form of social life, and women in particular celebrated certain important occasions at the bath, for example: the 'bridal bath ceremony', which was held one day before wedding festivities commenced; the 'forty-day bath', which marked