Centuries-old public bathhouse in Shahrud undergoes restoration
Historical Chahar-Suq public bathhouse in Shahrud, north-central province of Semnan has undergone some rehabilitation works, Shahrud’s tourism chief has announced.
The project involves repairing the ceiling and staircase as well as reinforcing the foundation and walls, Hamidreza Hassani said on Saturday. A budget of 500 million rials (about $1,700) has been allocated to the project, the official added. The bathhouse, which dates back to the 18th century, was inscribed on the national heritage list in 2001. Bathhouses or ‘hammams’ in Iran were not only places for bathing and cleaning up. They had a social concept for people who gathered at these places weekly. It was a place where people talked with each other about their daily life and shared humor and news. There are still bathhouses in Iranian cities but they do not have their social function anymore since most people have bathrooms in their homes due to the modern lifestyle. Some cities had separate bathhouses for men and women. They were usually built next to each other. However, there were some bathhouses, which were used by men and women at different times of the day. There were also male and female public bathhouses; at daybreak, a longhorn (booq-e javaz) was blown to announce that the bath was ready. Men came to the baths from daybreak till the afternoon. Women could use the bathhouses from then to sunset. In some cases, five days were allocated to men and two days to women. Persian literature is full of proverbs, narrations, and folk stories about bathhouses, which indicate the importance of the place in the past time. The main population centers of Semnan province lie along the ancient Silk Road (and modern-day Imam Reza Expressway), linking Rey (Tehran) with Khorasan (Mashhad). While few visitors spend much time in the area, driving through you can easily seek out several well-preserved caravanserais (notably Dehnamak and Ahowan), cisterns (the Cafe Abenbar in Garmsar is a special treat), and ruined mud citadels (Padeh is lumpy but fascinating). The large, bustling cities of Semnan, Damghan, and Shahrud (Bastam) all have a small selection of historic buildings and Semnan has a fine old covered bazaar.