Stage 2: Omeriye Bath PDF Print E-mail

The Omeriye Bath dates back to the late 16th century when Lala Mustafa Pasha built the baths as a gift to the city. The bath complex or hamam was dedicated to the Caliph Omar and thus the area became known as Omeriye.

The condition of the Bath complex deteriorated to such a point that the Nicosia Master Plan decided that it should be restored within the scope of the rehabilitation of the entire area. The Bath, although functional, suffered from structural degradation and general dilapidation. At the time of the project, the Bath complex was completely obscured by modern buildings and cut off from the rest of the area. Inappropriate additions to the Bath threatened the original structure and interfered with its proper functioning.

Studies were conducted on the soundness of the structure and laboratory tests were carried out on the steam system located under the floor. Since the Bath is a historical monument, research was conducted in order to determine the way the Bath was originally constructed and the materials used so that appropriate interventions could be done.

Composition of the Bath

The Omeriye Bath

The Omeriye Bath has two entrances, one in the north facade and the second on the south side accessible through a small courtyard.

The sequence and use of spaces follows the common typology of Ottoman Baths of the time (16th century) which includes three main areas: the changing and resting room leading to the warm and hot chambers via an intermediate tepid area.

From the main entrance the visitor enters into a large square room with a dome and cupola at its peak. This space “sadrvan”, is used as a changing and resting room, where one would undress and prepare to proceed into the intermediate and warm areas. The domed space of this room has an octagonal pool located in the centre and divans along the walls.

The intermediate area “kapaluk” consists of three main spaces, which are covered by domes and pointed vaults and host sanitary uses.
The tepid temperature of these spaces helps the body to prepare for entering into the warm and hot areas.
Shaving, dyeing and cutting of hair were the common activities in these spaces.

The warm room “mejdan” is square with a central dome and has smaller chambers, halvets “eyvan” (hot areas), in each corner. Each halvet includes two marble basins with running hot and cold water and is lit by round and star-shaped openings in the dome above.

At the centre of the warm room stands an octagonal stone platform of about 50cm high, which is used as a massage and scrubbing bench.

All of the spaces of the warm and hot rooms are heated from the floor under which hot air flows. The air is heated by a burner at the east end of the building under the hot water tank.

The water in the tank is heated to produce steam for the warm and hot areas simultaneously with heating the air under the floor.
The temperature of these spaces reaches the range of 38°-40° grades Celsius.
After bathing in the hot chambers, one would follow the reverse sequence of spaces and temperatures in order to reach the resting room where the divans offered a pleasant resting place before leaving the hammam.

The Project

The restoration of the Bath complex has upgraded the environment and the overall image of the project area. The intent of the project was to restore the complex within a historical context, stripping away the modern additions and revealing the original components of the monument. During the works, cultural treasures were revealed such as a fountain found along the front of the complex and part of an arch discovered inside, hidden for many years under the cement plaster.

The rehabilitation and redesign of the Omeriye Bath complex included:

* Structural repairs of walls, roof and domes, including waterproofing
* Repair and cleaning of the external stone walls
* Internal finishes to walls, ceilings and restoration of floors, replacement/restoration of the steam system, WCS, electrical plumbing installations, etc
* Restoration of an existing traditional two-story building next to the Omeriye Bath to accommodate additional facilities
* Redesign and landscaping of the open space around the Omeriye Bath complex
* Restoration of the mechanical (boiler) room located at the front of the complex

The Beneficiaries

The primary beneficiaries are the residents in the Omeriye area and the surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as the rest of the residents of Nicosia

Photo gallary: Before restoration, during restoration, after restoration

Technical Site Visit homepage

Project Map link

Opening Ceremony Video: Omeriye

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2012 )
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