Peshtemal towels (a.k.a. Turkish towels) have an increasing popularity throughout the world. These traditional towels are 100% natural (cotton, bamboo or linen) and they come in various designs and colors.
Peshtemal is a unique fabric. It is a lightweight, compact and extremely absorbent towel that dries quickly. This multipurpose fabric is hand loomed and flat-woven with hand-tied fringes. Traditional peshtemals are 100% cotton and they are still produced in the same way as they have been for centuries, but today they are woven with different kinds of yarns like cotton, linen or bamboo. They have a history of almost 600 years originated in Anatolia.
First peshtemal towels are known to be used in hammams - Ottoman baths that have hot steam rooms and cold water for bathing. The first Turkish Hammams, or public baths, were built in the 14th century. Traditional hammams have three main chambers. First is a hot steam room with a large marble stone at the centre, where bathers lay and bath attendants scrub and massage them. Second is a warm room for bathing and third is a cool room for resting. You can watch a clip about a well-known Turkish hammam here.
Peshtemal, which was greatly liked by the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, was a very important part of hammam culture and it still is. But today it is not only used in hammams, but also in other parts of life as a table cover, throw, scarf, beach towel, or a decorative accessory. Peshtemal is light in weight, easy to carry and takes up little space – meaning it is a perfect choice if you prefer to pack lightly when travelling. It can be used at the beach, bath, Spa, pool, sauna or sports club.
There is a region in Turkey called Buldan and most peshtemal manufacturers are located in this small town. Weaving is like an inherited occupation in this town. Families are weaving peshtemal towels for generations. If you want to see peshtemal weaving process, you can watch a clip here.