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An empire built on steam

The Ottoman Empire is long gone but its cultural legacy lives on in the hammans - Turkish baths - that Islamic architects built across its former lands. In cities such as Cairo, Budapest and, of course, Istanbul, bathgoers can luxuriate in the unique combination of heat, steam and langour.

Each hammam boasts a combination of hot and cold pools, saunas and steam rooms in varying degrees of intensity together with other services such as fearsome massages from grumpy-white coated attendants, or gentler toning treatments. Some of the baths have bars and cafes attached, where the rested may share the sulphurous smell of the mineral-rich, slightly radioactive waters. What is most remarkable is that many of the baths have survived for up to 500 years in their original form.
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