Qajar-era public bathhouse undergoes restoration

March 16, 2021 - 21:41

TEHRAN – Hammam-e Asgari, the Qajar-era (1789–1925) public bathhouse in the city of Bojnurd, northeastern province of North Khorasan, has undergone some rehabilitation works, the deputy provincial tourism chief has said. 

With an area of 305 square meters, the aging structure is located inside Sabzeh Meidan historical complex near a caravanserai, Ali Mostofian announced on Tuesday. 

Besides the bathhouse and caravanserai, Sabzeh Meidan complex consists of a bazaar, some small markets, and coffee shops, the official added. 

Every year, a proper budget is allocated to the restoration and preservation of the complex, which was once the main trade center of the city, he explained. 

The complex has been inscribed on the National Heritage list. 

Bathhouses or ‘hammams’ in Iran were not only places for bathing and cleaning up. They had a social concept for people who gathered at these places weekly.

It was a place where people talked with each other about their daily life and shared humor and news. There are still bathhouses in Iranian cities but they do not have their social function anymore since most people have bathrooms in their homes due to the modern lifestyle.

Some cities had separate bathhouses for men and women. They were usually built next to each other. However, there were some bathhouses, which were used by men and women at different times of the day.

There were also male and female public bathhouses; at daybreak, a longhorn (booq-e javaz) was blown to announce that the bath was ready. Men came to the baths from daybreak till the afternoon. Women could use the bathhouses from then to sunset. In some cases, five days were allocated to men and two days to women.

Persian literature is full of proverbs, narrations, and folk stories about bathhouses, which indicate the importance of the place in the past time.

Most foreign tourists pass straight through North Khorasan in transit between Mashhad and Gorgan, but if one has time to explore, it’s worth diverting south from the capital, Bojnurd, towards Esfarayen, famed for its wrestling tournaments, the remarkable citadel of Belqays and the partly preserved stepped village of Roein some 20km north.



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