Mimar Sinan, the court architect to Suleiman the Magnificent, designed the Kilic Ali Pasa mosque and its hammam, which first opened in 1580 just off the Bosphorus. Its waterfront location is appropriate given the mosque’s patron: Kilic Ali Pasa was an Italian-born pirate who converted to Islam and eventually became the Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Empire.
After seven years of painstaking restoration, the hammam reopened in 2013. The reception area is under one of the tallest domes that Sinan designed—at 56 feet high—while smaller domes are pierced by star-shaped openings that flood the space with light. There are few more atmospheric places to experience a traditional Turkish bath, while the spa menu also includes massage treatments. The hammam’s renovation has given it a more contemporary feel, but in other ways it is decidedly old-fashioned: women are welcome only before 4 p.m. and men only after 4:30 p.m.
Take flight on Turkish Airlines newest route, from Miami to Istanbul, beginning this month.