Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Hammam is the Turkish variant of a steam bath or sauna. The process involved in taking a Turkish bath is similar to that of a sauna, but is more closely related to ancient Greek and ancient Roman bathing practices. First you relax in a warm room that is heated by a continuous flow of warm, dry air, allowing you to perspire freely. You then move to an even hotter room before splashing yourself with cold water. After a full body wash and a massage, you move on to a cooling room for a period of relaxation.

The Bath-house of the Winds, or Hammam of Abid Efendi as it was called, is the only one remaining of the three public baths in Athens in the late 19th century. Dating from the 15-17th centuriy, it is located near the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds, and it functioned until 1965. Today it operates as a museum.

The hammam in addition to its role in bodily hygiene was a gathering place and centre for social life. For women especially it was the premier place for social interaction and amusement.

Originally, during the period of Ottoman rule in Greece the hammam was a single bath-house, operating for men and women in turn at different hours during the day.

During the 1870s it was altered to acquire two complete and independent wings so that it could operate for both sexes simultaneously.

An ancillary building was later added that included individual, so-called 'European' baths.

The heated spaces were domed in order to achieve uniform heat distribution.

Lighting was obtained through circular glass skylights, the pheggites

features that I particularly liked

here's one more

and another one.

the top landing.

And what about the art? That was mixed so I will include only a few pieces.

Georgia Gremouti, Seen/Unseen, 2012

one more view

Andreas Embirikos, Portrait of Woman in Hydra.

Unfortunately I could not do anything about the reflections.

Andreas Embirikos, Portrait of a Greek Woman

Andreas Embirikos, Portrait of a Greek Woman

Andreas Embirikos, Portrait of Greek Woman

Andreas Embirikos, Portrait of Greek Woman.

The highlight of the exhibition was Monique Renault's 'La Donna e Mobile', a journey into male fantasies seen through the eyes of a woman. The duke of Mantua dreams of nudes, languishing beauties. The women depicted are animations of famous paintings by Matisse, Ingres, Botticelli and Degas while the music is an aria from Verdi's Rigoletto. It was inspired. I watched it three times.

And two water colours that accompanied the video

We left the hammam in an exuberant mood singing the aria from Rigoletto

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