What is a Traditional Moroccan Hammam?

What is a Traditional Moroccan Hamman?

The traditional Moroccan hammam is similar to a steam bath or sauna and it is representative of the Byzantine and Roman baths. For the Islamic world, the hammam is a place of considerable for meeting and conversations. It is not unusual for Moroccans to have business discussions in the hammam or the ladies to be arranging a marriage while trying different beauty procedures. This is a place of cultural significance.

Where are the Moroccan Hammam?

There are hammams scattered throughout the medina. Some are really basic equipped with couple of small tiled rooms. These are very easily recognizable by the sun faded sign. There are also those that are old and filled with character whose internal architecture with stained glass and great domed rooms are completely fantastic.

Many Moroccans visit the hammam at least once a week for a complete cleansing. Visiting a public hammam can be a true experience if you want to see this specific part of the local culture. It is important to mark here that men and women bathe separately.

What to Expect When Visiting a Moroccan Hammam

The interiors of the hammam comprise of several premises. You would first enter the warm room where the body gets accustomed to the temperature of the air before entering the hot room. It is in the hot room where you would spend time over the warm stone benches. This is a place for relaxation and loosening up. After that you return to the warm room where you can have a bath with soap and shampoo while pouring water from small buckets. Finally you enter the cold room where you can take a shower and let your body get used to the normal temperature of the air.

If there is one word that can describe this experience it would be: rejuvenating. Normally for some symbolic fee, you can have a traditional soap massage. The massage itself is done with an exfoliating glove known as kese or kesa.  Your body will be covered with a coat of foam made out of olive oil soap. Cleansing clay masks are also being used to enhance the effect of this ritual. When attending a hammam, make sure to carry with you a bath towel, flip flops, and toiletries. If you are not sure where is the closest hammam, ask any of the locals and they will gladly show you the hammam and the times for men and for women.

About the author

Joshua Mok is a cultural enthusiast and adventurer who can speak 6 different languages. Joshua currently lives in Tunisia and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. At Mosaic North Africa, Joshua is combining his business marketing expertise with his passion for travel to help others discover and enjoy the cultural and historical beauties of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

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