What is a hammam? A hammam is a steam bath, a feature of north African societies since Roman times and later refined by the Ottomans into the Turkish bath that is so common today.
The aim, of course, is to wash away dust and grime but, as importantly, to achieve a state of pure relaxation, especially when followed by a soothing massage. A hammam session consists of several stages.
1) The steam bath itself, often in several rooms, each warmer than the one before. After a while absorbing the full beneficial effect of the steam comes a hot water wash down, followed, eventually, by an envigorating dousing of cold water poured from a wooden bucket!
2) After the bathing comes the gommage when the body is subjected to a vigorous scrub down with black beldi soap made from olives and eucalyptus leaves which is left on the body for around 15 minutes.