Arabic Baths, Granada
The Arabic baths here in Granada are for all the family to enjoy and you must wear a swimming costume!
The pools are about 39ºC
Prices are approx for the Hammam pools on Santa Ana:
Use of baths 13 euros (90 minutes)
Use of baths + massage + aromatherapy 19 euros. There are lots of other options too including visiting the teteria or restaurant they have there too.
Starting times (Hamman):
10am - 12-am - 2pm - 4pm - 6pm - 8pm - 10pm - 12 midnight.
You MUST reserve places in advance!! Phone : 958229978 for info or to reserve a time. You can also reserve online.
If you don't fancy taking a bath why not check out the 11th Century Arabic Baths on Carrera de Darro(see photo below).
Built in the 11th century, and carefully restored, this is one of the oldest public baths in Spain, and one of the best preserved examples of an Arabic Bath. (Not to be confused with the nearby Baines Arabes, which was opened in 1998)
During Moorish occupation, there were many bath houses in Albaicin, maybe as many as 60. (The city of Cordoba had around 800!!)
These served a religious, and social purpose.
Cleansing of the body, particularly prior to prayer, was of great importance to the Muslim religion. Cleanliness of the body = Cleanliness of the soul, and a stain on the skin = a stain on the soul.
To tell someone that they smelt like a Christian, was a favourite Arab insult of the time.
These public baths were a place to bathe, chat, conduct business, have massages, shaves and beauty treatments.
The style of bath was copied from the Roman thermal baths, but on a smaller scale. There is evidence of Roman Baths in the area, when water was drawn from the River Darro. Inside this bath house are stone columns from Roman and Visogoth periods.
I visited these baths as part of the Granada Guided tour (See my tip for more info).
Our guide explained the history of the baths, and described the purpose of each different room that we passed through.
Originally, the baths would have been quite ornate, with coloured glass covering the star shaped ceiling decorations.
Ornate tiles, stucco panels etc, would have adourned the floors and walls. We were shown some marks on a wall, where a stucco panel had originally been.
The first room was for undressing, and putting on wooden platform style sandals, before entering the heated room, where impurities could be sweated out. Water from the river, was heated by fires, under the floor. Horse hair was used to scrub the body! The cold room, was where the bodies' pores closed, after which, treatments such as barbering and nail care could be carried out, while copious amounts of tea were drank.
Open Tues - Sat 10.00 - 1600
On the road that runs along the between the border of the Albayczin and the base of the hill up to the Alhambra, the Islamic bathhouse is located in one of the oldest buildings in Granada having been constructed in the 11th century. You enter through a quite open courtyard with many plants surrounding a small rectangular-shaped pool. The interior design remained simple with the only ornamentation a few columns supporting Muslim arches and the characteristic round and star-shaped skylights in the ceiling. On a hot day the baths are also a nice sanctuary from the searing sun. Another plus is the free admission. Only open Tue-Sat, 10am-2pm.
Going up the interesting street "Carrera del Darro" you'll find the baths on the left side. I raccomend to visit it in sunny days cause there are skylights in the roof to let light go in and if it's a cloudy day it's not the same.
They were built in the XI century and they have been kept until present time in really good conditions.
The entrance is free and before the baths entrance there is a small yard with lots of flowerpots. It seems the jungle!
You can visit them from Tuesday to Saturday from 10-14
El Bañuelo is the name of impressive and well-preserved Arab baths, also known as Aammim Alyawza (Walnut Baths).
The Bañuelo is located at the bottom of a private house in the Carrera del Darro, at the foot of the Alhambra. It was built in the XI century, being the oldest work of Muslim Granada. The baths probably survived because of the construction of a house above them. In fact, walking along the street you can easily miss the door.
The Bañuelo has been declared a National Monument and restored.
The rooms are rectangular. The materials mainly used for its construction were bricks and mortar. There are marble floors, brick arches, columns with Roman, Caliphal and Visigothic capitals, horseshoe arches and vaulted ceilings with star-like windows in the roof for allowing in light.
You go in through a patio with a pool. Then you find the different rooms of Roman and Arab baths: frigidarium, tepidarium and caldarium. At the bottom is the room where the boiler was.
The public baths here were built in the 11th century, and are said to be the oldest in Spain
very soon they will be the best conserved as there is extensive restoration work in progress, this means they are currently closed to visitors, no matter how dirty they are
I came across these ancient, and rather lovely, Moorish baths as I wandered along the river Darro on my first, very wet, Granada afternoon.
The Moorish settlement was based on the hill opposite the Alhambra outcrop.....now called the Albaicin/Albayzin district. The El Banuelo baths lie at its base, on what is now called Carrera del Darro and was once the main road of the cit. They were once very well-used.
El Banuelo dates from the 11th century...that's the 1000s...and was built to serve the mosque which once stood alongside. The baths were originally called 'Hammam al Yawza (baths of the walnut tree). Water was drawn from the river Darro and the bath house follows the standard pattern of entrance area, cold room, warm room, hot room (with small 'plunge' pools). Underfloor heating was created by boilers and furnaces (hot room floors became so hot that footwear was essential).
If the above reminds you of Roman baths, you're right! The Romans took the concept of bathing, and the processes involved, and the architectural patterns, from the Arabs.
I love the star and sun- shaped ceiling vents in Moorish bath houses...they helped to regulate the heat as well as provide ventilation. I've seen them before....in Athens, for example...and the way they direct rays of light into the dim rooms is beautiful. Some in El Banuelo originally had stained-glass set in them, so the beams of light would not only have been star or sun-shaped but also beautifully coloured. Interior walls would also have been decorated with frescoes and paintings, though none of that survives.
Men used the public bath houses on a very regular basis...it was a community activity, used for networking, meeting friends and doing business (the Romans adopted that too) as well as for religious purposes. Women visited less often...separate days and times for the sexes, of course...but cleanliness and personal hygiene were highly important to both sexes.
El Banuelo is the oldest Moorish baths still in existence in Spain and, given its age and the attitude of the Christians who later ruled, it is surprising that it still exists at all. After the Christian conquest it was used as a public laundry (I suppose it was ideal for that purpose!) until renovation and restoration of the site to its original appearance began in 1927.
You'll find the baths on the left-hand side of Carreria del Darro, perhaps 5 minutes' walk from its beginning in Plaza Nueva. The entrance is very easy to miss (I almost did) so keep an eye open for the 'landmark' sign.
There's a small entrance fee (can't remember exactly but only a couple of euro or so).
At Carrera de Darro, it will take you a few minutes to see how it used to be.. the last time I was there, it was not in great conditions.. if you really want to have real baths... see my other tips...