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Modern Turkish baths not just for scrubbing

Turkish baths are enjoying a revival among trendy urbanites with modern amenities and services.

The Turkish media reported May 23 that Madonna is having a Turkish bath, or hamam, built at her new estate. She is not alone in having discovered the hamam. The hamam is the retro-hip hang-out among Turkey's urban and trendy crowds. Turkish hamams have changed quite a bit in the last decade with the revival of all things Ottoman. Most of them are cleaned up and renovated, staying true to the unique traditional hamam architecture and environment.

In the days of the empire, Ottomans built hamams in every town. Some have survived and still function today, such as the famous Veli Bey (or Csaszar Bath) Hamam in Budapest. Up until the 2000s, hamams in Turkey were considered the destination of curious tourists and working-class single men. Now, with their revival, hamams represent a niche for different experiences. You can choose a more relaxing, solitary package with fruit juices and calming tunes, or a girls' day out package featuring shisha, dancing and a variety of food after being scrubbed clean.

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