Polinario Baths

Polinario Baths are also known as Calle Real Baths or Mosque Baths. They were a tavern in the 19th century and received the intellectuals of the day. The great classical guitarist Ángel Barrios was born there. In modern times a Museum-House dedicated to him was built connected to the bathhouse. The bath was re-established by Leopoldo Torres Balbás between 1935 and 1936.

The entrance is in the street called Calle Real Alta (High Royal Street), between the bath and the adjoining palace, via a passage way providing access to the al-bayt al-maslaj (relaxation room), which has a beautiful lantern and leisure beds, similar to the later-built Comares Palace. From there you can go into the al-bayt al-barid (cold room) and al-bayt al-wastaní (temperate room) which has two immersion pools.

Today, the al-bayt al-sajun (hot room) only maintains the immersion pool and the boiler from which we can see the columns of the hypocausis that held up the room.

Public Baths or Hammamats

The use of public baths was fully controlled as far as gender division was concerned; in the morning for men and in the afternoon for women.  The tayyab (workers) were in charge of its operation and cleaning, while the hakkak (masseuses) worked to relax tired muscles. These hammamat did not only play a role in hygiene, but also an important role in social relations in so far as conversations in the al-bay al-maslaj (dressing room), behind the bath, and a religious one as well when performing the alguado or ritualistic cleansing.

The alguado requirement was more involved at special times of year such as the great Feast of the Break of the Fast at the end of Ramadan, or id al-fitr, when a full cleansing of the body was done, and which had to take place in a bath.

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