HISTORY OF CAGALOGLU HAMMAM
The Cağaloğlu hamam was constructed in 1741 and is the last hamam to be built after a long period during the Ottoman Empire. It was constructed in İstanbul Eminönü, in Alemdar, on Prof. Kazım İsmail Gürkan Street as a çifte public hamam to bring revenue for the library of Sultan Mahmut the first situated inside the mosque of Ayasofya. When we take a look at the names of the head architects of that time we can say that it was begun by Süleyman Ağa finished by Abdullah Ağa. It is the last example of it’s kind to be built in Istanbul and is a successful hamam that is still operational in our time. The door of the women’s section is on a side street called Hamam while the mens’ entrance is from the main road with two marble columns with classic stalactite capitals on both sides.
In time when the street was elevated, the men’s section is reached by a staircase of 10 steps. The architecture of the door is contrary to eclectic Turkish style. On the tablet above the door is a long inscription of 7 lines and 28 verves. The high and wide camegah is joined to the large dome by segmented corner trumpet-like vault panels. In the middle is a pool with a waterjet of great artistic value. The windows are placed between the vault panels in threes. On the top of the dome is a lantern for illumination.
There is a şirvan in the camekan with rooms for undressing. The soğukluk is entered through a double door from the camekan and is covered with seven barrel vaults and a half sphere small dome. The domes are supported by arches and columns. There are eight arches on eight marble columns supporting the dome in the sıcaklık. In the center is the marble göbektaşı, surrounded by halvets in the four corners and three sofas in between the undressing room of the women’s section and the camekan of the men’s section. The beginning of the camekan and the soğukluk is different from classis plans. The soğukluk is also separated by two columns into three sections. In the middle there is a dome. The heat room is the same as in the men’s section. The külhan continues behind the wall of both heat room.
One of our folk poets Bitlisli Ali, had an interesting experience in this hamam where he first worked as a külhancı then as tellak. In his dream a 70 years old white bearded sheik is to go to a hammam and wash a tellak. At that where Ali worked was owned by Hacı Mustafa and the külhancı was a müslim. So the sheik choose to go to this hamam and after washing Bitlisli Ali, gave him a piece of gold. Ali kept the gold for good luck and never spent it in his life. According to a list made of the dates of company establishments, Cağaloğlu Hamam build 1741 is the oldest Turkish firms still active today. Evliya Çelebi states that in the second half of the 17th century there were 150 large and 150 small, totalling a number of 300 hamams were built for the use of the workers constructing other buildings of foundations. The revenue from these hamams were paid out as salary to the workers and for the preservation of the buildings.