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Name of Monument:
Eski Kaplıca (Old Spa)Location:
Bursa, TurkeyDate of the monument:
Reign of Sultan Murad I (r. hegira 761–91 / AD 1360–89); the changing area hegira 917 / AD 1511 (under Sultan Bayezid II, r. AH 886–918 / 1481–1512)Period / Dynasty:
Sultan Bayezid II (the changing area).Description:
In Turkish architecture, baths built near thermal springs are called kaplıca or spa. Eski Kaplıca, the Old Spa of Bursa, is one such building. In some publications it is referred to as the Armutlu Hamamı, literally the 'Pear Bathhouse'.How monument was dated:
Eski Kaplıca comprises a changing area known in Turkish as ılıklık or (Lt. tepidarium or warm-water room) and a sıcaklık (Lt. caldarium or hot-water room). Since the building was built on the slope of a hill, a basement was built beneath the changing-rooms. Although it is not known exactly for what purposes this area was used, some researchers have suggested that it might have been a stable for the animals of visitors to the spa. The changing area was ordered built by Sultan Bayezid II; it is a large space covered by two domes and two half-domes. There is a fountain in the centre. The changing area receives a great deal of light through numerous windows in the walls. The square tepidarium is covered by a dome. On either side of this room is another, rectangular room. The caldarium, which is square on the outside, has no private rooms such as those found in bathhouses. In the middle is a domed baldachin on eight columns; beneath it is a circular pool measuring 7 m in diameter. The healing waters pour into the pool from a lion's-head spout in the wall opposite the entrance. The caldarium's four corners have, instead of private chambers, semi-circular recesses for washing.
The outer walls of the building are made of stone and brick courses. Much of the building material is spolia.
The historian, J. von Hammer-Purgstall wrote that the waters of Eski Kaplıca were good for skin diseases but very hot, so hot that you could cook eggs at the waters' source.
Archival documents indicate that the roof of Eski Kaplıca was covered with lead sheets in AH 942 / AD 1535–6 and that these were torn down and replaced with red roof tiles in AH 1021 / AD 1612.
Since there is no foundation inscription, we do not know the exact date of the construction of Eski Kaplıca. However, according to what can be found in archival documents, the building was built under Sultan Murad I (AH 761–91 / AD 1360–89). The inscription above the entrance informs us that the changing area was ordered built by Sultan Bayezid II in AH 917 / AD 1511.Selected bibliography:
Ayverdi, E. H., İstanbul Mi'mârî çağının Menşe'i Osmanlı Mi'mârîsinin İlk Devri Ertuğrul, Osman, Orhan Gaazîler Hüdavendigâr ve Yıldırım Bâyezid 630–805 (1230–1402) [The Origins of Istanbul Architecture, The First Period of Ottoman Architecture, The Reigns of Ertuğrul, Osman and Orhan Gazis, Hüdavendigar and Yıldırım Bayezid 630–805 (1230–1402)], 2nd edition, Istanbul, 1989.Citation of this web page:
Baykal, K., Bursa ve Anıtları [Bursa and its Monuments], 2nd reprint, Levent, 1982.
Beşbaş, N. and Denizli, H., Türkiye'de Vakıf Abideler ve Eski Eserler (Bursa il merkezi) [Waqf Monuments and Antiquities of Turkey (Bursa City-Centre)], Vol. III, Ankara, 1983.
Gabriel, A., Une Capitale Turque, Brousse, Bursa, Paris, 1958.
Hammer-Purgstall, von J. F., Erinnerungen aus Meinem Leben, 1774–1852, Wien-Leipzig, 1940.
Yekta Demiralp "Eski Kaplıca (Old Spa)" in Discover Islamic Art. Place: Museum With No Frontiers, 2015. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;17;en
Prepared by: Yekta Demiralp
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 26