Usually, when we think of Byzantine architecture, we think of churches. But, in fact, there are other various noteworthy examples of secular architecture that survive to this day. One of them is the Byzantine bath at Ano Poli (Upper City). This monument is a unique case. It’s the only extant Byzantine bath in Thessaloniki and the best-preserved example of Byzantine baths in Greece! It has been restored relatively recently.
The building dates back to ca. 1200 and it was in function until 1940! During the Ottoman period, it was known as Koule Hamam. It was constructed in a period during which the tradition of public baths was revived after the Late Antiquity, until then only emperors or dignitaries had access to these buildings. It follows the typical arrangement of a small-scale Roman bath. It consists of an antechamber, where the bathers undressed (apodyterium), a warm room (tepidarium), and the hot room (caldarium), but lacks a cold room (frigidarium). There is also a water reservoir and a hearth (the place where the fire for the heat of the bath was burning). Just step in and admire the masonry, the dome, and the other vaults and imagine how it would be to have a bath here as a Byzantine. A charming time capsule!