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The Daut Pasha Hammam in Skopje, Macedonia

Daut Pasha Hamam, Skopje, Macedonia

One of the most preserved and most monumental building of Islamic profane architecture in Skopje is Daut Pasha Hammam. It is located in the old part of city, near Stone Bridge, built in the second half of 15th century by Daut Pasha, the great Vizier of Rumelia.

Vizier was a rank of a political advisor or minister in the Ottoman government and Rumelia means “the land of Romans”. Well, Macedonia it the antique period was part of the Great Roman Empire.

This building is a Double Hammam.

It has a rectangular base and distinctive technique of building: stacking one row of stone and two with bricks-together merged with mortar.

The internal space was organized according to the needs of its visitors. The Hammam was divided on two parts-one for men with the entrance on the west side, and the other for women with entrance on the north side.

Each part has a waiting room, undressing room, steamy rooms, bathing rooms and in the central part a beautiful fountains were built.

Daut Pasha Dome

On the west side of the building, two large domes are dominant, and 11 smaller domes with different size are placed along the roof.

Openings on the domes in a shape of stars provided light for the Hammam.
On some parts of interior walls decorations of stylized flowers
are preserved.
Through its existence the Hammam shared the same fate with the other buildings from the Old Bazаar. It managed to outlive all wars, natural disasters like earthquakes, although difficulty damaged, remained on its place until this day, to remind us of the past, about the time when it represented not only the Bath, but Center of social events.

And now, I`m standing in front of this amazing Hammam and thinking about its destiny, how its beauty was taken through the years, and become a warehouse for petrol company.

Inside of Daut Pasha Hammam

But after the World War II, it was renewed and become an Art Gallery, and today is a National Art Gallery with a wide choice of Macedonian icons from 14th to 19th century, collective works of Macedonian artists-picture, sculptors, graphics and drawings. Well, one piece of its glow it is restored.

Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted, I remembered a legend that I had read, written by the Macedonian writer D.Kocevski.

The legend talks about the wisdom of its builder:

Daut Pasha decided to build a most beautiful Hammam, trying to show his importance and wealth, but he also wanted to make his name immortal.

After the Hammam was built, there were no recognitions for him, why?
Well simply, the interest for visiting this Hamam was small.

The Hammam remained empty, while gossip started to spread among the citizens, that the owner threw his money for nothing.

Not only, he didn`t receive any recognitions, but now he had to preserve his dignity.

One day, when a few regular guests came, the doors of the Hammam were closed.

They were confused and asked why?
Well, didn`t you heard about the snake? – answered the employees.
What snake? – They asked confused.
Well, a snake appeared and bites a kid in the Hammam, so the owner was upset and angry and he decided to close the Hammam. People counts,not money.

From that day Daut Pasha started to receive recognitions for his humanity.
At last he managed to make his name immortal.

And the snake?

In my grandparents believes, every house has a snake which is a guardian of the house.

Who knows, maybe we should be grateful that the snake has managed to protect the Hammam until nowadays.

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