The Turkish Bath, or Hamam al-Basha, served as an active bath house for about one hundred and fifty years beginning in the Ottoman Period.
Located in Old Acre, “Hamam al-Basha” was built at the end of the 1700s by Governor of Acre, Jazzar Pasha.
At first it was called “Hama al-Jadid” (the new Hamam), but its name was subsequently changed to Hamam al-Basha (the Pasha’s hamam), in honor of el-Jazzar.
Hammam is a type of steam bath or a place of public bathing associated with the Islamic world commonly known as Turkish Bath.
In addition to its religious function of fulfilling the commandment of purification preceding Islamic prayer, it served the community as a whole as place for social gatherings, for recreation, and celebrations.
It is where doctors and barbers met and it also served as a house of luxury for the city’s well-to-do.
So, this the place to be and where you discussed news and gossip.
The Turkish bath’s construction was part of the transformation of Akko during the Ottoman Period from a small fishing village back into a major port city and trade center.
The sculpted characters displayed in the rooms show the activities typical of the hammam, including the bath attendants and the people who bathed there.
In the Hammam there are three main parts: the summer dressing room, the four mezzanine rooms, and the last room is the essence of the Hammam.
The summer dressing room
This is the first room you will enter from the courtyard.
This is where the Hammam visitors got undressed, left their clothes, wrapped themselves in towels, and went for their various treatments.
After the bath and treatments, this is where they returned to rest and unwind.
The four intermediary rooms
These rooms are located between the cold room and the hot room – the lukewarm rooms.
They served as various treatment and activity rooms, from cosmetic treatments, healing and massage treatments, dating parties and childbirth preparation sessions.
The hot room
The hot room is the heart of the hammam – the steam room, which housed a heated pool and a steam bath.
Treatment consisted of scrubbing, soaping, and massaging of the body and soul.
The small rooms surrounding the central stage were used for individual treatments for the wealthy and the privileged.
See the Treasures in the Walls Museum webpage for visiting hours and ticket prices – including combination tickets for other sites.