Syrian men have for centuries been bathing in traditional hammams, or bathhouses.
The tradition continues in Damascus today - and provides a brief escape from the turmoil of a country in civil war.
Here in the Al-Malik al-Zahir bathhouse in the old city of Damascus, the timeless tradition of public bathing continues.
It is hard to imagine the conflict raging elsewhere in Syria, when here all is tranquillity.
The sound of splashing water, the patter of wooden clogs, men's quiet conversation.
The hammam is a tradition that goes back centuries and still follows the same routine.
Bathers change out of their clothes, wrap a cloth round their waist and put on a pair of wooden clogs, or "kabkabs".
Attendants hand each bather a bowl containing soap and a sponge.
Bathers then shower before progressing into the inner steam room.
The owner and manager Bassam Kabab says the Al-Malik al-Zahir hammam is more than a thousand years old.
"Al-Malik al-Zahir bathhouse is considered the oldest Hammam in Syria and it might be the oldest in the world," he says. "What I am sure of hundred percent is that it is the oldest in Syria. It was built in 985 A.D. which means it is 1,029 years old."
Once in the steam room, some bathers choose to have an attendant give them an invigorating exfoliating back rub, or a relaxing massage.
At the end, swaddled in fresh robes to dry off, bathers relax with a hot mint tea and a hookah pipe, known an argilah, a water pipe used for smoking flavoured tobacco.
Although the hammam still attracts locals, tourists no longer visit due to the Syrian conflict.
"There are two kinds of customers of the bathhouse: locals and tourists. Nowadays only locals visit the Hammam because tourism is not like in the old days. In winter, locals used to come to the Hammam, while in the spring and summer most of our customers used to be tourists, both Arabs and foreigners," Kabab says.
The Romans introduced public bath houses to Syria when the land was part of the Roman Empire and the tradition has remained popular ever since.
The hammam became an important place for the local community and there used to be hundreds in Damascus alone.
But as modern bathrooms in Syrian homes replace public bathing, the popularity of hammams is waning and there are now fewer than 20 left in the capital, according to research by travel writer Richard Boggs.
The Al-Malik al-Zahir hammam still attracts loyal customers, however:
"I have been coming to the bathhouse my whole life. I have done it for the last 30 or 40 years. It is bliss for me. When I have pain in my feet or back, I come here to get refreshed. I love coming to the bathhouse," says one regular, Khalil.
Although the bathhouse is a tranquil haven, it is still affected by the turmoil of Syria's civil war, which has killed more than 190,000 people and left much of the country in ruins.
"We have problems with the water and electricity, even with the fuel. But we are managing to solve this problem and run the bathhouse," says Kabab.
Although the Syrian capital has been heavily protected by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, rebel mortar attacks on government-controlled areas have become daily occurrences.
For his customers, however, Kabab's hammam can provide some respite from the world outside.
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you...
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
I was there for the first time when I was 12. So many gys fucked me :D I loved it. I was living near by this hammam and at least 3 times a weak I was there. I cannot count how many men I had. I loved it :D
Quoi ...? Non mais, quelle genre d'éducation de rue c'est ça ou tout simplement de la jalousie comme toujours ...! Vous ne changerez donc jamais, j'ai pitié mais, qu'est ce que tu es dégoûtant et, je ne t'y accepterai pas moi, chez moi des gens saints pas des déchets de la nature !
For those of you who don't speak Arabic I'll translate for you. "What happens in the steam room stays, stays in the steam room! You say anything and we'll cut your head off and parade it down the streets! You understand? Thought you did. Sh... Now, my brother, welcome! Come on in. (*wink)"
what I personally find "prudish" here in these muslim baths is that they're not naked not even when they have a shower together, that means there is a form of malice and suspicion one towards the other...in various European countries, fortunately, like Austria, Switzerland, Germany and the very northern part of Italy (not to mention Finland orsome others) in saunas etc at least men feel at ease with their own naked bodies in the presence of other men, exactly as it should be, and that's nothing to do with sex or something related to sex
It's simply a different culture with different sensibilities. Why can't you simply accept their ways? You don't have to project your own way of doing and seeing things onto every other culture in the world. The differences are what makes traveling and getting to know people from around the world interesting. I'm Western, and I don't have any hang ups about nudity. But if you ask me, I prefer to keep my clothes on. Not everyone feels comfortable being naked. Learn to respect that.....
What do you want to know, he le speaking over the ''hammam'' very good against toxins in the body and To have a very clean and Nice skin for long time etc... In Syria but, it's finish now, Emmanuel Macron haved send a big explosition so there are nothing now in Syria...!!!
I don't know why they have these in Argentina, but it was absolutely one of the highlights of my travels to South America. When he finished, i told him let's start over again and it only 4 USD! Best 8 bucks I ever spent!!
C'est le top, j'y vais tantôt et, ça sera un hammam de Fes sur Bruxelles mhhh le top, la relaxation, propreté impeccable, soins dermatologiques, la détente et, à ma sortie thé marocain et, crêpes au miel etc... Le top pour s'évader, bien dormir, un spa thalassothérapie ne fera jamais mieux, j'en ai pas vu en tous cas ... J'en ferai un incha Allah 😉
I am Algerian, when the war ends, I will go to my lovely Damascus to bathe there and certainly to have some good Syrian Dick in me coz I have got insatiable deep asshole which could take huge dicks... Are Syrian dicks really big? Who knows?
Not just Syria. Arabic men are some of the most gorgeous in the world. In Saudi Arabia they paid some a lot of money to leave the country because they were too beautiful. Women were talking about them all the time. I remember reading a story about it somewhere
@ keltin quesnel, spoken like a typical USA dunce who can't separate sex from nudity or his own primal debauched repression. You have more churches than any country, yet you're the most spiritless simpletons on the planet
We do now mostly owned by Korean and it's for the whole family to come in and joy the Korean and Japanese bath experience and very good environment I am a member of the one I nearby and is very environments and good for socialize as well Google Korean sauna and Spa in your area see if you can find one
i missed this place when everything is still ok in Syria. I hate some of my syrian colleagues but I love most of them bcoz of their situation now. but i hope some of these arrogant syrian have to show goodness to their country men
Special Alert: Now Available In Your Area!
Hi, my name is Ross Williams . Let me share a personal story with you. Back in 2007, I held an excellent position at a large IT company with a nice monthly salary. By 2008, the great recession hit. The company ran into financial problems and was forced to lay off over 50% of its staff. Unfortunately for me, I was included.
So there I was stranded, unemployed, with all the bills to pay and a family to support. Where I lived, such jobs werent easy to come by. So I decided to do a little research. I spent many sleepless nights on the web just searching for something to do, anything that could help support me and my family. I just wanted a way to make money, and not lose it, as I soon found to be the case with numerous internet scams.
Just like you, I often stumbled upon all types of web sites offering me some money matrix scheme, promising me all the money in the world. Yeah, right! From stuffing envelopes, Multi Level Marketing, High Yield Investment Programs, to selling all types of useless products. You name it, Ive been there, done that.
Finally, I came across something that worked.
Online advertising has skyrocketed over the past few years. In 2015, companies spent close to $50 billion advertising online. That figure is expected to increase substantially in 2016. What does this mean for you? A lot more money could be going into your bank account this year. Thats IF you take advantage of this secret system.
Companies worldwide are desperately searching for people just like you to type up their ads and post them online, and theyll pay you nicely in return. Its a win-win situation. They get more customers, you get paid. Its as simple as that. These companies have cash, LOTS of it and theyre eager to share it with you. All types of individuals around the world are using this system to make more money than they ever could working in a boring, dead-end job. You can work part-time or full-time, its all up to you.