Peshtemal as a picnic blanket. photo by Camarademtl

7 reasons why everyone should own a peshtemal

As many of us know, Turkish baths, or hammams, are a staple of Turkish culture. They evolved from Roman baths traditions under the Ottoman empire around the 11th century. An important part of the hammam is the peshtemal, they are traditional towels used in Turkish baths. Peshtemals were originally designed so that bathers could maintain privacy while going about the baths. They date as far back as the beginning of the Ottoman empire and are still in use today. The cotton used to make them was initially loomed in Antioch but is now produced in different areas of the country. Over time, various fibres like linen and, more recently, bamboo have been introduced in their production to offer more choices.

Peshtemal as a beach towel

What makes them different from the bath towels we’re used to in western countries is that they are a lot thinner that what we've seen as towels. But does that make them less absorbent you ask? Not at all! To go in some technical detail, the fibers used in the threads are long, and they open up the more you use them. This means that, over time, your towel will grow to be even more absorbent than when you first got it. In fact, from day one, it will absorb as much water as any other towel but will dry twice as fast as a regular towel because they are so thin. The fact that they are so thin also makes them take up less space when they are folded, which cannot be overlooked in today’s world of tiny houses and apartments.

Why should you own a peshtemal (or 10)?

  1. They are beautiful. Whether you hang one next to your bath or bring it with you to the lake, they will be sure to brighten your day. Anyone is sure to appreciate the craftsmanship from the first look.

  2. They are softer that anything you have dried yourself with. The fibres used are of the greatest quality and they will wrap you in warmth anytime you use your towel. The good news is that this will only improve with time. So no matter how soft it is when you first get it, your peshtemal will get even softer as you use it.

  3. Lightweight, they won’t make your sports bag or luggage heavier than it should be.

  4. They dry fast, no more taking the towel you used the night before only to realise it’s still damp. They also won’t smell musty because humidity doesn’t linger in them.

  5. Peshtemals are Machine washable. Any good towel should be easy to wash and a peshtemal is no exception to this. You can machine wash and tumble dry your towels (on low temperatures) without any worries. They even take less time to dry, using less electricity.

  6. They take up less space than regular towels, meaning you can have more space in your linen storage space.

  7. Not just a towel. They look so nice and are so soft that you’ll want to use them outside of your bathroom. Good news is that they can be used for anything you want, from a bath towel to a shawl or scarf and everything in between.

Peshtemal as a scarf

If all this hasn’t convinced you that you should get a peshtemal today, you should also know that our Turkish towels are handmade by local crafts people in Turkey. They keep a centuries-old tradition alive and sustain their families with theses productions.


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