Turkish bath relics in Timisoara, praised on BBC

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BBC has recently published an article in its travel section praising the relics of a former Ottoman bathhouse dating since 1700, discovered be archaeologists in Timisoara (western Romania).

Entitled „An ancient Ottoman capital surfaces”, the feature says that archaeologists had found more than just the Turkish bathhouse. Crews were digging in several areas of the historic centre, and the city’s Oriental past was literally emerging from the ground.

Thus, the author takes the opportunity of presenting Timisoara city in general, starting from Liberty Square, where the site of the Turkish bath was actually discovered. “The piazza is centrally located between Piata Unirii (Union Square), a popular meeting spot with bars and cafes, and Piata Operei (Opera Square), which hosts some of the city’s most important community and cultural activities. The two buzzing squares make Piata Libertatii feel like an oasis of relative calm, its trees offering shade to anyone who cares to sit and watch life sweep past”, writes the British journalist.

According to the BBC feature, the excavations revealed that the Grand Hammam contained 15 rooms arranged around a large central hall. The floor of the baths was suspended on brick pilasters – square columns – to allow the circulation of hot air, which was produced in an oven chamber. Each room was equipped with air passages and smoke chimneys. Outside, the area was surrounded by gardens and interior courts of nearby buildings, creating an atmosphere that was private and calming, and ideal for conversation.

The reporter also talks about Piata Sf Gheorghe (St George Square), less than 100m to the west in the city, where important discoveries have also been made, among whom the Grand Mosque of Timisoara. Following 2014 excavations, archaeologists found out the mosque’s foundation and artefacts from the 15th century.

Archaeologists have also excavated 160 graves around the mosque, most containing commoners who were wrapped in a single piece of cloth in accordance with Islamic tradition, but also the remains of wooden houses and aqueducts came to surface.

Yet, while the foreigners are praising Timisoara’s discoveries, local authorities are still struggling to turn them to profit, as they haven’t concluded yet the auction so that the relics could be admired by tourists.

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