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The “Hammam” is a traditional public bath which has been separated into different sections for men and women. It dates back to the Roman and Arab cultures around 600AD. As hygiene became an important tenet of the Muslim religion, the hammam increased in importance. It’s also a place for social gathering, pampering, relaxation and rituals. Moroccans see the bath as an opportunity to meet with neighbors and friends. The typical hammam consist of three, interconnected rooms: a hot (steam) room, a warm room and a cool room. Usually the first room is the warm room when the body adapts to the heat.
Then one goes into the bath and gets washed to remove the dirt from the skin and hair. Next is the hot room which allows the pores to open and let the body sweat. This will bring the dirt out from the deep areas of skin. Then the bather goes back into the warm room for another wash, and this time with Moroccan black soap made with olive oil. The skin is exfoliated with a “loofa-like” glove making the skin softer.
The hammam has become a very important part of the lives of Muslim women. It gives them an opportunity to spend time with other women to talk, share experiences and visit. They’ve also found it a good opportunity to inspect prospective brides for their sons.
This photo was taken with a Canon EOS 6D, EF24-105mm f/4L IS lens, 1/13 sec at f/11, -2 EV, ISO 16,000 captured on a Lexar 400x SDXC UHS-1 memory card