Üsküdar Sifa Hamami

In one of Üsküdar's less trafficked streets, full of former and current slaughterhouses, mosque-goers meet up at Sifa for ablutions, relaxation and a lot of gossip. “All these kids that go to those fancy spas, they go because they want to check out the girls!'” says a respected hacı sitting on the heated marble platform. “I went to saunas in Munich, and men and women were naked in the same room! I prefer Russian girls though. Germans are too rough,” declares another man, ordering bottled mineral water to splash on his face. The bearish men laugh at his fancy requests. He tries to dismiss the matter, shifting attention to soccer and the Galatasaray team’s new acquisitions. A man from a different neighborhood didn’t bring his swimming suit, and the masseur who is thrashing his nipples with a coarse cloth mitten asks him to tighten his pashtamal to avoid accidental slip-offs. In the changing room, men are lying on benches watching a Turkish telenovela and commenting on the symmetry of the main actor's face. The convivial evening progresses with rants about wives and the Syrian refuges in Aksaray.AP

This review is included in TTA10. Click here for more information about the issue.

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