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The architecture of Islamic public baths of North Africa and the Middle East: an analysis of their internal spatial configurations

Sibley, Magda and Jackson, Iain 2012. The architecture of Islamic public baths of North Africa and the Middle East: an analysis of their internal spatial configurations. arq: Architectural Research Quarterly 16 (2) , pp. 155-170. 10.1017/S1359135512000462

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Abstract

The hammams (or Islamic bath-houses), commonly known as ‘Turkish baths’, are one of the key urban facilities in Islamic cities. They evolved from the Roman and Byzantine public baths, as these were assimilated when the Umayyad dynasty conquered Byzantine territories in the Middle East between AD 661 and 750. Early hammams were built in the eighth century by the Umayyad rulers who established their capital in Damascus. The most famous ones are Qusayr Amra, in today's north-eastern desert of Jordan and Khirbat al Mafjar. The period following the rise of Islam witnessed a rapid development in the architecture of baths and the change from Roman to Islamic bathing habits. Public Roman baths consisted of very large establishments, the thermae, which comprised not only bathing facilities but also recreational ones such as libraries, gymnasiums, exercise grounds and gardens, tanning rooms, ball courts and concert halls. The balnea were the smaller privately or publicly owned Roman baths, located in greater number within the city.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: In Press
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 1359-1355
Funders: AHRC
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 15:00
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/139845

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