martes, 17 de abril de 2012

Valencia Tours and guided Visits: East in the West-Arabic Baths

I know one Tourist guide, who had the privilege of being pilgrims-guide in the middle East and returned to Valencia City (Sapain). For him, things of the past awakes back in his heart ancient memories of the common past of arabic times. I am going to submit our readers a tale he told me once:
“Walking through Damascus, during the time of the group purchases at the common Market, I started to wandering through the city Souk and I stopped by chance at the gates of an ancient aribic Bath or Hamman, “Nour Ed-Din” its name, of the 12th century. Still fonctioning at present, I looked carefullyy at his hall in the form of an square andalousian patio ,as men were sitting there and chatting away, a cup of Turkish in their hand and the shisha or oriental pipe at their mouth.
I undress myself and with a simple white towel I pass through different rooms. The hot room where water was taken by me almost boiling with a saucepan and pulled then over the body. Next, in the warm room, I received an exfoliating massage by a specialist of this complex that, not without some scratch, left my skin smooth and soft as that of a child. Finnaly the cold room where I received a relaxing massage by the trainer, who gave me an entertaining arabic conversation, but in an extremely difficult way for me to understand his wise arabic sentences. In the meantime, some of the men present talked among themselves about their business while others seemed concentrated in a deep cleansing of their body, for a holiday or some weekend event.”
As Valencia guide I take some special small groups to the so-called "Arab baths" of the city or “Admiral baths”. It is however a Christian building, built in a piece of land granted by James I in 1313 to the Vilarrasa famimly. The restaured Building, with its quadrangular lobby, gives way to the cold room, with the tub for the reserve of cold water, the room for renting cleaning stuff such as sponges, towels, clogs, soaps and other utensils. And the latrine.
The warm room is the best illuminated by three small domes with eight-pointed stars windows and horseshoe arches. Now covered by soft glass, in its origin came the light through multicolored glass. What effect of hot water, warm, cold, with steamed blurred by some glass irisados in shades of pink and violet. And the hot room where one must walk with clogs and  collect water with buckets from the small hot pool.
The guide tells us that it was a place of socialization, as that one in Damascus that visited my guide-friend. A fine feast for the senses. Jose Vicente Niclos