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Istanbul - Day 5 - Education, Education, Intimate Massage

TURKEY | Saturday, 14 July 2012 | Views [6326] | Comments [3]

Mosaic Museum

Mosaic Museum

Last day in Istanbul. Four days of walking around a lot and my feet hurt. So today will be taking in some museums and a chance to relax before a blitz through the Marmara region.

Starting with the Mosiac Museum. In 1933 excavators discovered a mosaic pavement below the Arasta Bazaar, and identified as a section of the Peristyle Courtyard of Constantine's Great Palace. Looking like a building with a hastily cover roof, the museum houses a collection showing typical, but beautifully preserved Byzantine mosaics showing pre-Christian artistic era scenes of hunting, life and mythology:

Then right on the Hippodrome is the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. The name says it all really. Not just art, there's plenty of archaeological artifacts, Arabic calligraphy and of course Turkish carpets. There's also a courtyard area set amidst gardens, where there's a cafe serving Turkish coffee. It's like an espresso, only stronger tasting and more caffeine. Hate Turkish Delight, but the one that came with my coffee certainly help smooth things over with my throat after the coffee.

And finally, what better way to finish off the stay in Istanbul than a quitessential and traditional Turkish experience. A Hamam or traditional Turkish Bath, which is a type of steam room sauna followed by a session with a masseuse.

I had passed the historic Hamam near Çemberlita yesterday. A Hamam that claims to have been operating since the 16th century. The eye watering price of price of 120 Lira for the works was a bit too much, so I found a place in the south part of Sultanahment for 90 Lira. Still expensive, but that's the price you pay for being in a super-tourist area.

The reasonable English spoken by the reception was not matched by the big Turkish dude who greeted me inside, dressed only with a bath towel around his waist. I've no idea what he's telling me in Turkish, but he hands me a key and an oversized towel which I took to mean "Here's the key for your locker, get changed", and I did.

The same dude ushers me into a steam room while speaking more Turkish I can't understand and leaves. Steam room, straightforward enough. Stay in the room and sweat. The room is decorated with marble walls, with running water coming from taps attached to the walls. A marble platform area is in the middle of the room. Ceiling with small windows allowing little rays of light. The steam room was a hot, but not as hot as I was expecting. Cool enough to relax and lie down on the marble platform, staring up at the shafts of light.

After about 20 minutes, the masseuse comes into the room and instructs me to shower, then leads me to a room which clearly stated in plain English, "Women Only". He igores my protestations and points me to a marble table. I lie down and he assaults me with cold water, a wash down for the scrub. Expecting some like the exfoliating wash, instead I got a scouring pad all over body. The ordeal lasts for only a minute and doesn't half hurt. The foam bath next was a little awkward being given by another guy. As he soaps up my stomach and chest, then start rubbing all over. Then increasingly awkward as he's also rubbing back and forth on the nipples. I kind of imagine the famed Thai soapy massage can't be too different. 

Then the massage. An oil massage is of course necessary without cloths, but when it was time I was still surprised when the masseuse asked me to take my underwear off. OK I'm lying on my front and at least I've still covered with a towel. That is, until the masseuse takes it off and covers up one bum cheek at a time while massaging the other leg. The most awkward massage I've ever had, as the masseuese rubbed my leg much further up than I was comfortable with.

Overall, I don't think I'll ever get a Turkish massage again. It's just too awkward. I much prefer Thai massages as the muscles are really stretched.

Tags: istanbul, massage, mosaic, museums, sauna, turkey




Thanks for sharing your story. I wonder how Turkish massage is. After I have read all over internet that Turkish baths are rush service I decide to call masseur to my hotel room. Is it safe ? or visit his place ?
It would be good to get good massage also some sensual touch from Turkish masseur. There are some opitons on internet but I try to find certified masseurs.

  Victoria Jan 15, 2013 10:47 PM


The Turkish baths around the Istanbul Sultanahmet area are mostly oriented towards tourist (and priced accordingly). The steam room, bath, massage lasted around an hour, so it's not exactly a rush service.

  Macedonboy Jan 16, 2013 12:26 AM


I was at Hamam today. I think the service is just washing and foaming and most of the time spending to pour water on you. I prefer to get real massage all over my body. It was good experience but after that I have searched internet to find private massage in my room. when I search "certified male masseur Istanbul" I found some options and tried I think hamam also private massage in hotel room is the best.

  Dave Aug 1, 2013 5:21 PM

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