Harran (Turquie): Traces of centuries-old bath found
The discovery of a bath and toilets in Şanlıurfa’s ancient city of Harran make the city unique as the facilities were devoted to personal use
Excavations have unearthed a 1,250-year-old bath, toilet and large sewer system at the ancient site of Harran, considered one of the world’s oldest settlements, in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
The ancient site had been a continuous settlement from 6,000 B.C. and was the capital city of the Assyrians and the Umayyads during some eras.
The bath, the traces of which were discovered last year and partially unearthed this year, also has single sections for bathing.
The head of the excavations, Professor Mehmet Önal, said this year’s excavations revealed that the bath and toilet structure was built using Greek and Roman architecture, adding that seven single sections made it unique to Harran.
“We have seen interesting architectural features in this bath. For example, an area of the bath was divided into seven small cells. These cells were for private bathing. With its basin and hot water pipe drains, the bath was used personally. We don’t see these cells in Greek, Roman and Ottoman baths. This bath of Harran was a developed one.”
The fresco found on the wall of the bath was possibly made during the Umayyad or Abbasid era, said Önal, adding that the bath was also used in the era of the Ayyubids.
Single toilet and sewer system
Unlike the Greek and Romans who used latrines, there were personal toilets next to the Harran baths, Önal said. “Personal toilets were built in the early Islamic era in the Middle Age.”
Noting that they had found four personal toilets, Önal said the toilets also included water tanks. “We have unearthed a toilet here. It has channels and a water tank used for cleaning. Just like the bath, the toilets were for personal use.”
Below the toilets were a sewer system measuring 150-by-170 centimeters, said Önal. “It is a pretty big sewer system. We estimate that it was used for the discharge of rain and waste water from the city.”