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The Bath House of the winds is the only public bath of Athens surviving at the present days. It dates from the first period of Turkish rule (1453 – 1669) and stands near the Roman forum and the Tower of the Winds. It functioned as a bathhouse until 1956, and is now the property of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
In 1984, the bath-house at Kyrrestou 8 was ceded to the Museum of Greek Folk Art. The study for the restoration of the monument and its adaptation as a museum was completed in 1989-1990, under the offices of the Directorate for Cultural Amenity buildings.
In 1998 the building was handed over to the Museum of Greek Folk Art, which is responsible for its new use as a Museum-Information Centre, devoted to the subject of the cleanliness, care and beautification of the body throughout the ages.
According to the Turkish traveller Evliyia Celebi, who visited Athens in 1667, there were “three pleasant hammams” in the city. The Abid Efendi hammam, now called the Bath-house of the Winds, was built at an unknown date.
At present the Bath-house extends between Kyrrestou and Lysiou Streets. It has a labyrinthine ground plan, the outcome of modifications and additions detected during the study of the constructional history of the building.
In the first building phase at the time of Turkish domination, the Bath-house in Kyrrestou Street was a single bath, comprising changing rooms and a tepid and hot room. It operated at separate times for men and women.
In the second building phase, about 1870, the character of the Bath-house changed. Through the additional of new rooms and the conversion of old ones, it was converted into a double baths with separate with separate wings for men and women, each with a changing room with a mezzanine, a tepid room and a hot room. An ancillary building contained individual baths, known as “European baths”.
The building complex is completed by an underground furnace, from where the hot air generated by the fuel, was channelled to the hypocausts, and also by a water cistern and the ancillary rooms of the Baths. On the terrace there is a buildingfrom which access may be gained to the open area over the vaults and the furnace. The main bathing rooms are roofed by barrel vaults or domes, in which there are small glazed holes to admit light (phengides