Visiting a traditional Moroccan hammam and taking advantage of the vast variety of services is unquestionably on the bucket list of any visitor visiting Morocco. Even while public bathhouses are often linked with Turkish and Roman traditions, the traditional Moroccan hammam offers a very different experience.
You may be wondering what precisely a traditional Moroccan hammam is before you decide to go and experience it for yourself. What are the stages involved in having a hammam session? What are the advantages of using a hammam and what things should one use during the bathing procedure?
This guide will assist you in learning more about the traditional bathhouse. Also, it will provide you with all you need to know before your first visit. Its goal is to assist you in minimizing any uncertainty you may be experiencing and allowing you to fully enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience.
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The history of the Moroccan hammam
Moroccan hammams get their inspiration from the earliest original bathhouses. They were established by the Roman empire more than 2000 years ago to improve public cleanliness and hygiene in general. The Roman occupation of North Africa had a significant impact on Moroccan culture. It can be observed in the architecture of Roman remains that can still be seen across the nation. The most obvious manifestation of Rome’s influence in contemporary Morocco is the Moroccan hammam.
The ancient bathhouse expanded swiftly in Islamic Moroccan culture, with a few alterations that distinguished it as distinct and different from the others in the region. Moroccan hammams are traditionally positioned near mosques in order to aid the cleaning of the body and spirit before religious ceremonies such as prayers.
The structures are generally rather massive. The majority of Moroccan hammams are made up of three or four lengthy rooms. Turkish baths, on the other hand, do not have pools, unlike these baths. As an alternative, bathers partake in the rites in these expansive, tiled steam chambers. The temperature varies from one room to the next. They often feature vaulted or dome-shaped ceilings.
The Moroccan hammam quickly established itself as a customary, weekly habit among Moroccans. Particularly given the fact that having a bathing room in one’s home was not popular in Moroccan households. Another factor contributing to the popularity of the traditional Moroccan hammam is the fact that water is seen as a highly significant symbol of purification and cleanliness in Islam.
The traditional Moroccan hammam
A traditional hammam is where Moroccan men and women go to wash themselves, speak about life, socialize, and sometimes even create connections or new acquaintances. Moroccan men and women bathe in a typical hammam once a week, either by themselves or with their friends and family.
Hammams are typically two structures that divide the women’s and men’s sections of the facility. Bathers who want to dress in just their underwear in these large, open places will feel more secure as a result of this divide. If they don’t have separated buildings to accommodate both men and women, smaller hammams arrange distinct hours for men and women to accommodate both.
The types of the Moroccan hammam
Hammams are available in a variety of types in modern Morocco. There are the more local, more traditional hammams that are popular with Moroccan bathers. These are mainly found in smaller towns. However, you may sometimes come across one in more affluent sections of larger cities as well. Morocco’s public bathhouses are hammams, which Moroccans visit on a regular basis as a form of relaxation.
Major cities have more luxurious hammams, which are commonly housed inside hotels and are reminiscent of a spa. This magnificent spa hammam provides the whole pampering experience for its guests.
When visiting a spa-hammam, as opposed to a regular hammam, you will be assisted through every stage of the procedure. Massages, mud baths, oils, and a variety of other goodies may be added to your bath to make it a true spa experience for you! When you’re done, relax with a drink of Moroccan mint tea in a warm and comfortable Moroccan salon setting.
In addition to the regular hammam, there is also the professional hammam. The latter is more upscale than the regular hammam, but less costly than the luxurious one. It preserves the traditional Moroccan bathing technique.
The cost and the experience
The cost of admission to a local, every-day hammam is around MAD 10 to 20 ($1 – 2). Professional or spa-style hammams might be much more costly.
Visitors who are visiting Morocco for the first time should start by visiting a professional hammam where they will be offered a traditional Moroccan experience. An attendant will follow and lead you through all of the processes of the hammam experience. Besides, assists you in avoiding any faux pas or culture shock while still gaining an understanding of what a traditional hammam is all about.
The visit to a traditional hammam, which is far more genuine to Moroccan culture, is a must following your first experience at either a spa or professional hammam.
The hammam procedure
Once you have entered the hammam, you will change into your bathing suit in the changing room. Men often bathe in their boxers, underpants, or swim shorts, depending on their preference. The majority of women bathe with just their underwear or bikini bottoms, however, others choose to bathe entirely naked.
Immediately following your change, you will leave your belongings in the changing room with the attendant. He/she is responsible for safeguarding all of the clients’ belongings. People do not bring valuables like mobile phones, jewelry, or big quantities of money to public hammams. Instead, they opt to leave just their clothing and towels with the attendant in order to reduce the risk of losing things.
Upon entering the changing room, inquire about water buckets that you will need to use inside the steaming rooms. The products you need for showering will be brought along with you. Also, your Moroccan black soap and kees.
A pair of plastic sandals or flip-flops is also a good idea to have on hand. If you are at a spa-type hammam, they will give you the Moroccan hammam products, so you won’t have to worry about bringing any with you.
Traditional Moroccan hammams are typically comprised of three chambers with progressively rising temperatures. However, the first chamber is substantially colder than the second, despite being heated space. You may use this chamber to get used to the heat before going on to the next room. The second chamber is much warmer, while the third room is very hot.
Many individuals like to begin by breathing deeply, relaxing, and allowing their pores to open for a few minutes in the hot chamber.
Each room contains two or three hot and cold water taps, as well as a sink. Bathers take it in turns to fill their buckets of water. Fill yours to the temperature you choose for bathing, being sure to mix the water from the two aspects.
You will next decide which room will be most comfortable for you to sit in for an extended period of time when you are taking a bath yourself. There, you will bathe with Moroccan black soap, also known as soap Beldi. It is manufactured from natural soap and olive oil and will be applied from head to toe.
Allow yourself to unwind for at least five minutes before fully rinsing with warm water to finish. The soap will work its magic on your skin, softening it and aiding in the exfoliating process.
In addition to kees, another significant Moroccan product that you will utilize is a soft glove that is comparable to soft sandpaper. When scraping and exfoliating your body, this glove will assist you in removing any dead skin. When you see how much dead skin you can remove, it will take your breath away!
If you are at a spa or professional hammam, your attendant will be in charge of the whole hammam procedure. That includes the application of products, exfoliating, and rinsing you.
Traditional Moroccan women and men will invite their friends or those seated next to them to assist them in scrubbing their backs or their complete bodies in the hammam (bathroom). Kessalas are available for hiring (a person who scrubs visitors in the hammam).
Do not be embarrassed to ask the person next to you to scrub your back if you feel you need assistance exfoliating. They may urge you to do the same for them in exchange for their assistance.
Using your regular shampoo, you will wash your hair after the deep exfoliation procedure and thorough rinse. Then it’s time for the third Moroccan product, a clay mask known as Ghassoul, to complete the look. Wait till after you’re done with this mask before applying your conditioner.
The clay mask is smothered all over the body, face, and hair to deep cleanse and wash away dirt and oil. The product is made entirely of clay and rose water, and it is excellent for any kind of skin. For the skin and hair, Ghassoul provides several health advantages. It helps to keep them looking and feeling healthy and beautiful.
Moroccan women frequently apply natural henna to their skin to make it smoother and healthier. They rub the henna into their skin and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it off completely.
After taking a bath in a spa hammam, you will be provided a massage using the world-renowned Moroccan argan oil to relax and rejuvenate. Because of the oil’s moisturizing properties, your skin will feel as soft and smooth as the skin of a newborn baby. In a typical Moroccan hammam, you may apply your own oil in the changing room before getting into the bath.
The benefits of the Moroccan hammam
Visiting a traditional Moroccan hammam may provide a variety of health advantages. After your bath, you’ll feel like a completely different person from the inside out.
Detoxification of the body and the spirit
The act of washing and purifying your body will assist you in being more relaxed on the inside. It has a calming effect on the mind, helping you to think more clearly, as well as relieve any worry or tension that has built up, and it may help you sleep better at night.
Relaxation of the muscles
The act of exfoliating your body in heated rooms is nearly as relaxing as receiving a thorough body massage. There are therapeutic benefits to both your skin and body from this treatment, which helps you to relax by loosening any tight knots in your muscles and allowing you to fully let go and rest.
The many vitamins and minerals included in the natural and traditional Moroccan hammam products will be beneficial to your skin. These products will nourish your skin, increase its suppleness, and keep it looking and feeling young and vibrant. Because Beldi soap includes olive oil, your skin will get the benefits of vitamin E as well as a high concentration of antioxidants. It is a thorough cleanser for the skin, which helps to maintain it clean and youthful.
Fight acne and hydrate
Exfoliation, or the removal of dead skin, as well as the use of ghassoul, may assist to unclog pores, enabling them to breathe more easily and effectively. Additionally, you will aid to remove toxins from the skin, balance skin oils, and minimize scars and redness by using this method.
When you visit a traditional Moroccan hammam for the first time, it might be a complex and intimidating process. Having one’s body exposed in such a public place may even be considered an embarrassment by others. A Moroccan hammam, on the other hand, will undoubtedly relieve your travel tension while also providing you with several health advantages, allowing you to continue your travels in Morocco in the best possible form.