A hammam is a traditional public steam bath. Once a necessity, since the introduction of private residence plumbing, these bath houses have become a hodge-podge of luxury spa experiences as well as a social gathering spot for both tourists and locals alike. In addition to housing popular functioning Hammams, Morocco is home to several historic spas, the oldest of which dates back to the late 9th century. Public baths have played a significant role in the social and cultural history of the country—in both urban and rural settings. Especially popular with women, with just a little digging around, you can find the perfect spot for your tastes.
Unlike other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries, Morocco was never under Ottoman rule. Therefore, a hammam experience here will be necessarily different than those found in Egypt, Istanbul, or parts of southeastern Europe. In Morocco, hammams are often close to mosques. This is by design; the placement was meant to facilitate the performance of ablutions. Entrances are often discreet, and the buildings are often windowless. These spas are also much smaller than Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman baths.
Second only to mosques, hammams are an incredible example of Islamic architecture and urbanism. If you are interested in the cultural and social history of Morocco and the greater Northern African region, a trip to or tour of a hammam should be on your “must-do” list.