Originally: the peshtemal
If it’s only a step from “fouta” to “spa”, let’s take a few steps back in time. A true symbol of Turkish culture and tradition, the hammam towel, also known as “peshtemal”, was born in Anatolia in the 13th century.
Our Turkish ancestors go to the hammam, a hot steam bath, as we go to the mosque. Because in addition to making a new face, these baths are places of spiritual purification and encounter. An ancestral practice, practiced by all social classes. The essential accessory is the peshtemal, used for its high absorbency, fast drying, and easy maintenance. Men tie them around their waists and women cover their bodies completely. From the 17th century onwards, some women in the Ottoman imperial palaces wanted to distinguish themselves by more ornate and colourful towels. We can thus know the situation of a woman (married, single…) in the colour of her towel. This is the golden age of peshtemal.
Since then, the Turkish hammam towel has continued to gain in popularity, and is attracting more and more attention in Europe. Its use has diversified considerably: it can be found on the beach, in the sauna, in sports and in the swimming pool.
The peshtemal towel
Different manufacturing methods (and this is what makes the main difference today)
Traditionally, turkish towel is made of carded cotton, towel of bamboo or carded cotton and kikoy of combed cotton.
But what is the difference between carded and combed cotton?
First of all, let’s make a quick reminder about cotton in general. Why use a cotton bath towel/beach? (yes, yes, there are reasons). Cotton is known for its very high absorbency. This is why it is often used in bathroom towels or in hospitals. It can also withstand very high temperatures without being damaged. So it’s very practical when you have to boil the fabric to get rid of stains!