Friday, February 3, 2017

KÜÇÜK MUSTAFA PAŞA HAMAM since 1477

Küçükmustafapaşa, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'53.8"N 28°56'27.5"E / 41.031611, 28.940972

Kucuk Mustafa Pasha Hammam Center / Fatih photo kmpasa_hamam103.jpg

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One of the oldest hamams in Istanbul, it was built in 1477 during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and 24 years after the conquest of Byzantium by the Ottomans. Covering an area of 1,900 square metres, it ceased being used as a bath house in the 1990s. It has since been restored, and is now being used as a venue for exhibitions and other events.

In Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hamam too, the gents’ section opens to the front street, while the ladies’ faces the less crowded back Street. This marvelous Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hamam was such a place, and although it is in disuse now, thanks to the Marmara University students it is being restored. It is a good example of Ottoman architecture and what’s more, it is a good example of temples of devotion to the body.

Though the building fell into disuse in the 1990s, the features of early hammam architecture are beautifully preserved: pointed arches with mukarnas geometric decoration, domes with ventilation holes that allow shafts of sunlight below, and floors of tessellating colored rock.

Its plan and the incredibly varied and intricate structure of its domes would entirely bear out that early date. Its camekân, about  14.5 metres square, is among the largest in the city, so that not even the wooden galleries around it detract much from its impressiveness; in its centre there is a pretty marble basin. The soğukluk, as so often, is merely carved out of the hararet, consisting of its right-hand cubicle and the bottom arm of the cross. The hararet itself is very splendid.

Here, there are changing rooms and a fountain made of one-single bulk piece of marble, where people get undressed and wrap a cotton or silk loincloth, known as peştemal around them. Then they walk into this place, called the soğukluk and pass through a saringing door to the first section of the hamam housing toilets and shaving compartments on one side. This is the point of transition to the "sıcaklık", which makes the hamam special.

The central dome has a deep cornice of elaborately-carved stalactites. Each of the three remaining cross-arms is covered with a vault of utterly different structure, the prettiest being perhaps that on the right which has a semidome in the form of a deeply ribbed shell. The two corner cubicles at the back have domes supported on a cornice of juxtaposed triangles, while the third cubicle has a very beautiful opus sectile pavement in a variety of brilliant coloured marbles.

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