Medieval Uzbek hammams (bathhouses)


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Bathhouse - hammam is the most frequent type of civil construction in Central Asia. Based on a detailed study of the set of artifacts and documents we can say that these buildings have undergone many changes over the centuries. Some archaeological findings allow scientists to assert that in ancient times the baths were an important part of any settlement.


From the example of the baths one can easily trace the dynamics and the main vector of development of the architectural technology of different eras. Often the bathhouse was erected not in isolation but as an essential part of a palace complex in the central part of a settlement. Baths that were built separately were always located in the business part of the city.


Various historical documents show that by the tenth century Bukhara had many full-functioning baths. The most famous of them was called "Khan's bathhouse." The number of baths increased significantly to the nineteenth century, sixteen pieces. For example, Tashkent at that time could boast of only eleven baths.


Classification of baths


Historians, who conducted a detailed study of the ancient baths, have been able to develop a certain system of classification based on the place of their actual location:

  • Bazaar or citywide baths were built always in close proximity to major shopping areas. In Bukhara baths like Hammom Gavkushon, Hammom Sarrofon and others belonged to this type of baths. As a rule, this type of bathhouses has only one floor, the front entrance, a locker room and a washing room. The building itself had a domed shape;
  • Quarter bathhouses. This type is found much less frequently in Bukhara. These baths were built in certain parts of the city, and their equipment and the interior were largely in line with the level of the income of the initiator of the construction.


The architects of that era always tried to take care of the maximum convenience of people who wanted to go to the bathhouse. That is why they were built on the busiest crossroads, near the socially significant buildings and so on. This principle was strictly adhered to in Bukhara, Samarkand and other cities. The location of baths on the corner intersections predetermined their name, like "Hammom Kundzhak" which means "the bathhouse, located on the corner." One of these baths can now be found in the city of Bukhara, not far from the Kalyan minaret.


The functional features of traditional Asian baths impose certain restrictions on their use. For example, there was a definite schedule according to which the bath could be visited by women and men. As a rule, in eastern countries baths have always been in close proximity to various palace complexes, mosques or madrasas. A striking example of this is the bathhouse of Anusha Khan, located in the city of Khiva. This bathhouse is located near the mosque Ak.


These days you can find many mosques that are well preserved in our time like Hammom Kunzhak, Bozori Kord and so on. The interior of the baths still preserve many elements of that distant era. Anyone can not only get refreshed but also feel like an ancient nobleman.








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