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A building equipped with bathing facilities: a small structure containing rooms or lockers for bathers, as at the seaside.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



premises equipped for washing the body with the simultaneous action of water and hot air (in Turkish and Roman baths) or steam (in Russian baths). In Russia, as in many other countries, bathhouses were widespread from ancient times; they are mentioned by the chronicler Nestor (11th century).

The construction of bathhouses in the USSR is carried out according to standard layouts accommodating 50–300 people in cities and 10–50 people in urban-type settlements and rural localities. Depending on their arrangement, bathhouses may be classified as ordinary, disinfection center type, or combination bathhouses; buildings furnished only with showers—known as shower baths—which are sometimes installed in summer pavilions, are also built. Modern bathhouses may have swimming pools, rooms for physical therapy, and disinfection chambers. So-called steam rooms, in which the temperature reaches 40–50° C and the relative humidity is 90 percent, are also widespread. In some bathhouses there are separate rooms with dry heat. The layout of a bathhouse depends on its purpose.

In bathhouses of the disinfection center type, which are intended for sanitary processing, the bathers’ dirty clothes are disinfected and clean underwear is issued. During the Great Patriotic War bath trains, dugout baths, and portable shower installations were widespread.

In determining the size of a bathhouse, the space needed for one person is computed as 0.35 sq m for the cloakroom and vestibule, 0.75 sq m for the waiting and cooling-off rooms, 1.3–1.4 sq m for the dressing rooms, 2.25–2.40 sq m for the soaping rooms, 3.5 sq m for the showers, and 6 sq m for the steam rooms. Not less than 150 liters of water are used per person in the bathhouse; the shower facilities use 400–600 liters per hour; a bath with a shower requires 550 liters per hour.

Washing in the bathhouse affects the whole organism. In the steam room the body almost completely stops emitting heat; its temperature goes up to 38–39° C, as a result of which oxidizing processes and metabolism increase in the organism. Intensive secretion of sweat (in the steam room and dry heat compartment) promotes removal from the organism of the end products of metabolism and eases the work of the kidneys. Under the influence of high air temperature the dilated skin capillaries become filled with blood diverted from internal organs, thereby promoting the elimination of manifestations of congestion and improving the circulation of the blood. In healthy young people the alternating action of heat and cold, accompanied by the dilation and constriction of skin capillaries, has a beneficial effect on the blood pressure and cardiac activity. For persons with organic heart diseases, arteriosclerosis, aneurysms, hypertonic diseases, and so forth, as well as for children, use of the steam room is harmful.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. A building equipped with bathing facilities.
2. A small structure containing dressing rooms or lockers for bathers, as at the seaside.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Yoshio explained the reason why there were so many public bathhouses, saying: 'Few houses had a bath at that time.
Due to their importance in preparing for prayer, bathhouses were often built in close proximity to mosques.
According to a Farsi report by IMNA, in the past, a number of factors were taken into consideration when constructing a bathhouse and designing its spaces.
Hatched in ystanbul's Beyazyt Hamamy it had ended with the killing of the grand vizier, the same Damat ybrahim PaE-a who had commissioned this bathhouse. The revolt had been led by an Albanian boilerman, which meant that no sooner had it been quashed than the sultan ruled that in future all bathhouse staff would have to be selected from a cluster of villages in the Tokat-Sivas area, a quirk of history of which GE-l might or might not have been aware.
It also says bathhouses should ban people with sexually transmitted diseases and infectious skin conditions.
These denote the presence of a historic bathhouse. Baden-Baden is chief among them.
Oakel believes that there is no other bathhouse in Egypt that offers better service than his does.
Satoot, of Tripoli's Al-Abed Hammam, is proud of keeping one of Lebanon's last remaining bathhouses running.
The police bureau, however, has shown it appreciates the fact that its staff needs to relax, and it is allowing them to have massages at bathhouses and has opened a ballroom in its office building for karaoke and dancing.
The archeological findings at the site, particularly the clay pieces and tools prove that the bathhouses witnessed a stage of restoration and precise organization in the 4th and 5th centuries AD while an external square was built in the 6th century.In the 12th and 13th centuries AD, a number of commercial shops were built over the streets surrounding the bathhouses, in addition to establishing a network of roads passing through the ancient buildings and fixing water pipes made of baked clay.
In comparison, he said, the Shine Pool design, with many additional amenities, is expected to cost $1.7 million, excluding the bathhouse. Bathhouses, which are required at pools by statute, are expected to cost an additional $500,000, the commissioner said.