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Macedonian monuments -- Daut Pasha Amam
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The Daut Pasha Amam in Skopje is a monumental building of the secular Islamic architecture. Its construction was financed by the great vizier of Rumely, Daut Pasha, who served in Skopje from 1489 until 1497. The names of the builders are unknown.

Daut Pasha Amam exteriorThe Amam (Turkish bath) is vaulted with a total of 13 domes, two of which are large, three are of a medium size, two are somewhat smaller, and six are small. There are 15 separate rooms under the domes. The Amam was divided into two parts: a waiting room and a changing room. The two large halls in the central part were furnished with beautifully and richly ornamented fountains. Some of the smaller rooms had white marble urns for collecting bathing water, while others served as saunas. The Amam's division into two equal parts leads to the conclusion that it was simultaneously used by both men and women. Men used the west entrance, while the women entered through the north entrance. There was an east entrance as well, used by staff for servicing the amam.

Daut Pasha Amam aboveThe Amam's size aroused the curiosity of anyone who would see it for the first time and kept wondering if its normal heating and functioning as a bath was possible. Hence the emergence of a few legends expressing doubts if the Amam was ever used as a bath. One of them tells us that the wood, needed in very large quantities for maintaining the temperature in the rooms and of the hot water, was being brought from Mt. Vodno near Skopje. The woods there were completely destroyed, however, and the shortage of wood apparently caused the Amam's closure. Another legend is about Daut Pasha’s daughter, who visited the Amam prior to its opening. A huge poisonous snake came out of the walls and bit the girl, after whose death her father ordered that the Amam be closed down, and it was never used for its original purpose. There is, however, no reliable evidence that the Amam was not used, either. On the contrary, during the building's reconstruction, thick layers of limestone were detected along the pipes through which water was coming into the Amam.

Daut Pasha Amam interiorIn 1948, a decision on the building's restoration and conversion was adopted. It was turned into an art gallery and has remained so since. Its permanent exhibition displays contemporary Macedonian artists' works from the late 19th century to the present. In addition, collective and individual exhibitions of Macedonian and foreign artists are regularly organised, as well as readings and concerts.


From Stara Skopska Carsija (The Old Skopje Bazaar) by Kosta Balabanov

 
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