The Turkish Baths in Elbasan: Architecture, Geometry and Wellbeing
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The two Turkish baths in Elbasan have been object of a remarkable survey as part of a vast international research. The original system of the two public baths dates back to the mid-sixteenth century. In the Albanian typology of the hammam, the various environments of increasing temperatures are located along a longitudinal axis ending in the cistern area where the boiler is located. The Albanian baths reveal their Ottoman roots in the complex concept of the vaulted structures. Different types of vaults in a same space are placed side by side in order to realize more complex compositions; the inner surfaces of the vaults are embellished by elaborate decorations that resemble stalactites. The complexity of the plan and the decorations reveal a rigorous geometric pattern that dominates the space and underlies its composition. All seems the product of a centuries-old wisdom where each element contributes to a complex system aimed at comfort and pleasure of the human being.