Shahrud’s centuries-old public baths are being restored

TEHRAN — The historic Chahar-Suq public bath in Shahrud, in the north-central province of Semnan, has undergone rehabilitation works, Shahrud’s tourism chief has announced.

The project involves repairing the ceiling and staircase as well as reinforcing the foundations and walls, Hamidreza Hassani said on Saturday.

A budget of 500 million rials (about $1,700) has been allocated for the project, the official added.

The public baths, which date back to the 18th century, were included in the national heritage list in 2001.

Public baths or “hammams” in Iran were not just places for bathing and cleansing. They had a social concept for 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 modern lifestyle.

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) sounded to announce that the bath was ready. The men came to the baths from daybreak until the afternoon. Women could use the public baths until sunset. In some cases, five days were allocated to men and two days to women.

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

The major population centers of Semnan Province lie along the ancient Silk Road (and present-day Imam Reza Highway), connecting Rey (Tehran) to Khorasan (Mashhad). Although few visitors spend much time in the area, you can easily find several well-preserved caravanserais (notably Dehnamak and Ahowan), cisterns (Abenbar cafe in Garmsar is a treat) and ruined mud citadels (Padeh is lumpy). but exciting). The bustling larger towns of Semnan, Damghan and Shahrud (Bastam) all have a small selection of historic buildings and Semnan has a beautiful old covered bazaar.


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