Extract

Barbarossa’s Baths

The Çınılı Hammam

Another masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, the Cınılı Hammam in the Old City of Istanbul was built for the legendary corsair-turned-admiral Barbaros Hayrettın Pasha, or Barbarossa, in the 1540s. Today it is far from grand, and only a few of the tiles that gave it the name Çınılı (Tiled) are still in evidence. But nothing can diminish the effect of the soaring curvy arches supporting a series of imposing domes

For Charles White, writing in the early 1840s, the “Tchinelly Hammam” was “one of ther neatest and most picturesque in the city”. Zeyrek, close to the imperial Fatih Mosque and the Valancian Aqueduct, was a fashionable quarter with handsome wooden houses and views to the Golden Horn.

Today it is a rough-and-tumble area, whose houses are home to poor immigrants from the east, and the baths are shabby, if picturesque. Gone is the portico that shaded the entrances to the men’s and women’s baths. But, inside, Sinan’s domes and geometry still work their magic. Çınılı is above all an architect’s hammam, and a light hand could restore it to perfection.

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Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
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Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $11.09 / 42.21 TL
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