Middle East

Aleppo baths boom where the Syrian crisis cools the shower

The ancient baths of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, were refilled not because of the resurgence of the epidemic, but because of the luxury of hot showers due to power outages. “We rely primarily on electricity to heat water at home, but most of the time the electricity is cut off,” says Mohammed Hariri, a crowded bathhouse where he waited 30 minutes for his turn. I did.

“We’re taking all the time we need to take a shower here,” said 31-year-old AFP. Featuring a marble steam room, a hexagonal fountain and a unique dome, Aleppo’s baths have been social for centuries for men to gather to wash, listen to music and eat. It has functioned as a place. However, the lack of water, fuel and electricity throughout Syria, which was devastated by the war, has also become a haven for those looking for a long, warm bath during the cold winter months.

Hammam Alkawas, one of more than 50 traditional baths in Aleppo’s Old Town, uses diesel fuel and firewood to power furnaces that supply hot water and steam. Under the arched dome, a man wrapped in a towel sits in one of many side rooms, and some sing traditional Arabian songs as they scoop hot water from a stone basin. In adjacent areas, the restrictions on coronavirus pandemics appear to be far from the world, so masseurs use soap and rufa to scrub clean clients lying flat on a marble floor.

Active business

Hariri used to visit Aleppo’s bathhouse with her father and uncle when she was a child. Now he comes with his son-not to continue the tradition, but because the water in the house is not enough for his family of five. “At home you have to take a shower in 5 minutes, but you can stay in a public bath for 5 hours,” he said.

Many of the structures were severely damaged during several rounds of combat between government forces and rebels. Only about 10 people have resumed since Aleppo returned to full government control in 2016, according to AFP correspondents. Anma Radwan, sitting in the drawing room in Hammam Al-Kauwas, answered a call from a client looking for a reservation.

A 33-year-old woman who inherited a 14th-century public bath from her grandfather said she never expected the business to return. “I resumed Hammam in 2017 after the fight in Aleppo, but I didn’t expect to see such turnout,” he told AFP while renewing his client registration. Among the regular guests of the public bath is Jalal Al Hero, the father of three 53-year-olds. “I go to the public bath at least once a month and clean it clean,” he told AFP, covering his wet body with a towel from inside the laundry room.

‘necessity’

Like most of Aleppo’s inhabitants, Helou usually has to use cold or lukewarm water at home. Due to a serious shortage of diesel fuel, this year the 24-hour power outage reached 20 hours a day. Hero said he sometimes had to rely on firewood instead of an electric water heater so that his family could take a bath. “Our priority is to provide (hot water) to our children,” he said. The same is true for Nader Mashler, a regular customer of public baths. “The last time I took a proper bath was two weeks ago,” said a 58-year-old woman after scrubbing down in Hammam.

At home, he added, “Children are prioritized, and if there is hot water left, the bath is too fast and unsatisfactory.” Mashra, a civil servant and six-year-old father, said he could hardly afford comfort in his home. But in the public bath, he was relaxing and smoking shisha across the big fountain when other guests passed by. “Before, going to the public bath was mainly for entertainment,” he said in between puffs. “Today, it’s a necessity at least once or twice a month.”-AFP

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/aleppo-bathhouse-boom-as-syria-crisis-turns-showers-cold/ Aleppo baths boom where the Syrian crisis cools the shower

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