Historic public baths in central Iran undergo restoration

TEHRAN – Some parts of Hammam-e Okhovat have been the subject of rehabilitation works. The public baths from the Pahlavi era (1925-1979) are located in Najafabad, in the province of Isfahan.

Strengthening and repairing the walls of the public baths, which have been badly damaged over the years, are essential parts of the project, Najafabad tourism chief Alireza Habibi said on Sunday, CHTN reported.

The monument was fully restored in 2006 with a budget of three billion rials ($ 71,400 at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials to the dollar), the official added.

However, due to its abandonment, parts of this private structure were demolished, he explained.

The historic public bath has been inscribed on Iran’s national heritage list, the official said.

Public baths or “hammams” in Iran were not only places for bathing and cleaning. They had a social concept for the people who gathered at these places every week.

It was a place where people talked about their daily lives and shared humor and news. There are still public baths in Iranian cities but they no longer have their social function since most people have bathrooms in their homes due to the modern way of life.

Some towns had separate public baths for men and women. They were usually built next to each other. However, there were a few public baths, which were used by men and women at different times of the day.

There were also public baths for men and women; at dawn, a longhorn (booq-e javaz) was blown to announce that the bath was ready. The men came to the baths from daybreak until afternoon. Women could use the public baths until sunset. In some cases, five days have been allocated for men and two days for women.

Persian literature is full of proverbs, tales and popular stories about public baths, which indicate the importance of the place in the past.

ABU / AFM

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