Saim Yörük

Keywords: XVIII th Century, Eyüp, Turkish Bath, Craftsmen, Demographical structure


The physical structure of Ottoman cities as well as their cultural features are the legacy of previous Islamic cities. According to the historians of Islamic civilization, there are three basic elements in an Islamic city; the mosque, the marketplace and the public bath. A colorful feature of the Turkish culture, the public baths survived until today despite undergoing partial physical changes. Public bathrooms are spaces where people develop their social relations as well as fulfilling their needs of personal hygiene. There are several valuable historical studies on craftsmen groups on the Ottoman period. A literature review on studies concerning public bathrooms would demonstrate that they are mainly on architectural and artistic specifications of these buildings. There are no comprehensive studies on the bathroom employees. However, Turkish bath workers, especially in Istanbul, are among the leading groups of craftsmen in Ottoman society and their role in social and economic life should be examined separately due to the job they professed. During the period of interest, Eyüp was a residential area rich with public bathrooms established in the neighborhood. This study would concentrate on the public bathrooms established in Eyüp township and environs in the XVIIIth Century and their employees. Istanbul public bathroom records dated 1735 (I. 1147) and 1766 (I. 1180) were used as the basic reference. Furthermore, Hadîkatü'l-Cevâmi (History of the Mosques in Istanbul) by Hüseyin Ayvansarayî and the Travelogue by Evliya Çelebi, which provides significant information on XVIIth Century Istanbul was utilized. In addition to the above mentioned resources, various studies on Istanbul public bathrooms of different periods were also referenced. The study aimed to determine the demographical features of the public bathrooms and their employees in Eyüp and environs.