Shirvanshahs Palace Bath-house. Hamam in Baku, Azerbaijan

The Shirvanshahs Palace Bath-house (Hamam) is situated on the lowest terrace of the complex. It was discovered in 1939. The archaeological excavations exposed a big bath-house consisting of 26 rooms, covered up with earth above which there was a garden. In 1953 the bath-house was partly cleared and in 1961 it was laid up.


On the basis of the surviving remains of the walls of the bath-house one can say that its rooms used to be covered with cupolas and the light penetrated through the openings in the cupolas. The bath-house was semi-underground for keeping the heat in winter and the cool in summer. The indicated system is typical for the bath-houses in Baku and Apsheron.

The project of the palace bath-house consists of 2 big square apartments, further divided by 4 pylons into smaller rooms.

One group of rooms “churl” or “bayir” (external) was designated for undressing and another group “icheri” (internal) for bathing. The bathing section adjourns reservoirs for cold and hot water – “khazna”. A special furnace chamber for heating the water was installed in the place where the reservoir for hot water was. The heating of the baths was carried out with the condensed white oil, hardened as a yellow stone that burns like a candle. The heating went through the steaming channels beneath the floor of the bathing section. The cloakroom was heated by means of the hot air coming from the bathing section.

Traveller I.Lerkh who visited the palace in 1733, wrote about the bath-house, “It is well decorated both from outside and inside.” The water from the ovdan (reservoir) at the walls ran into the boiler-room of the bath-house – “gyulkhana” and further was distributed through ceramic pipes for which special channels were built. The entrance into the ovdan under the earth had a lancet aperture leading to the staircase cut in rocky tracts that ended in the depth of 70 steps at the big reservoir. The water ran there from the subterranean galleries – kahrises. During the construction work near the western fortress wall in the depth of 10 metres there was found an ancient water pipe running from the mountains towards the ovdan and the Shirvanshahs’ Palace. The palace and bath-house must have been provided with the water from this water-pipe.

There were many rooms: a cloakroom, a bath-house and “khalvati” (a secluded place) – a nook for single bathing. There are small swimming pools of a round shape and cells for shoes in the rooms. The last compartment with a restored cupola has a majolica decoration of the walls partially preserved.

Source: Window to Baku

The Palace Bath-House
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