Byzantine Bath, Thessaloniki
It was built in the late 12th/early 13th century and functioned continuously until 1940, when it was shut down probably due to World War II and the German occupation of Greece. Originally, the Bath likely formed part of a monastery complex. During Ottoman times, it was known as Kule Hammam, i.e. "Bath of the Citadel".
Its original architecture followed Roman conventions. The entrance in the south leads to the frigidarium (dressing rooms). There are also two tepidarium (warm rooms) with vaulted ceilings, and two caldarium (hot rooms). Both the tepidarium and caldarium rooms had hypocaust (underfloor heating). To the north of the Bath was a cistern, heated with a hearth underneath it, to provide hot water.
The Bath's long use led to numerous alterations of the original structure over time. In Byzantine period the building was used alternately by men and women, but under the Ottoman rule the Bath was divided into exclusively male and female sections, by blocking off each pair of rooms from one another.
Closed since 1940, the Bath was subject to neglect and damage during the 1978 earthquakes, and only survived thanks to the support from the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities and the protection offered by an external metal sheet covering. In 1988 it was included, among other Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
After four years of restoration work, the Bath was re-opened to the public as a museum and cultural space in June 2015.
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Byzantine Bath on Map
Sight Location: Thessaloniki, Greece (See walking tours in Thessaloniki)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:
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