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Historical, pampered bath in Gaza draws visitors from afar

The majestic Hammam al-Sammara, the only bathhouse left standing in Gaza City, is an architectural masterpiece that has survived many hundreds of years.
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Like other cities under Islamic rule, Gaza has had its fair share of public baths, or hammams, considered the pre-eminent characteristic of any Muslim state of old because of their association with religious matters having to do with purity and cleanliness. The baths also played important social and economic roles in their localities, as merchants, princes and sultans competed to build and exploit them as sources of wealth and income. These hammams served the needs of ordinary folk and merchants who traveled through the city during far-flung business trips.

In Gaza, the sole remaining bath is Hammam al-Sammara, considered to be the most important historical landmark in the whole of Palestine. Despite the debate over when it was built, a plaque displayed inside reveals it was first renovated during the Mamluk era by Sinjer bin Abdullah al-Moayyedi in 1286.

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