Name of Monument:

Eski Kaplıca (Old Spa)


Bursa, Turkey

Date of 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:

Early Ottoman


Sultan Bayezid II (the changing area).


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'.
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.

View Short Description

Bursa is renowned for its healing thermal springs, so the city houses numerous spa facilities. One of the earliest Ottoman spas in Bursa, Eski Kaplıca still serves the public.

How Monument was dated:

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.
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.

Citation of this web page:

Yekta Demiralp "Eski Kaplıca (Old Spa)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. 2021.;ISL;tr;Mon01;17;en

Prepared by: Yekta DemiralpYekta Demiralp

Yekta Demiralp is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. He was born in Soğucak, Balıkesir, Turkey in 1959. He graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Linguistics, History and Geography, Department of Art History in 1980. He worked as a teacher of history of art and then joined the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Ege University, as an expert. He became a research assistant in the same department in 1988 and an assistant professor in 1997. He participates in Beçin excavations and has published on the history of Turkish architecture and art.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 26


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

Water | Water Usage: Drinking and Washing


As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)