Alaa el Habashi



Historic hammams a used to be. They are falling into an advanced state of disrepair and are located in dilapidated historic zones. In some cases, they are associated with bad reputations and socially unacceptable behaviours. Many historic hammams’ are therefore, being demolished to make use of their land plots. The few ones that have managed to still survive and operate, witness heavy modifications that not only diminish their historic values but also their operational efficiency. They are becoming rare, and therefore require legal protection either as a heritage building or as a historic monument. This relatively new protection is usually more concerned to preserve the physical existence of the building rather than to maintain its original function and social role. This paper is based on five case study’ in five different countries, investigated as part of the EU funded HAMMAM project. It presents a comparison of the various protection frameworks of the fi ve hammams, and explores the effects of such protection on their current status. It recommends establishing a coherent protection system that respects ethics of heritage conservation and emphasizes on the revitalization of the hammams’social, financial and health roles in the society.


Historic hammams; waqf; antiquities law; international heritage; heritage conservation

Full Text:



Awad, M. & Abdel-Hafi z, M. (2007). Hammāmat aliskadariyya fi al-qarnin al-tasi‘ ‘ashr wa al-‘ishrīn (the bathhouses of Alexandria iin the nineteenth and the twentieth century), Maktabit al-askandariyya: markaz dirāsāt al-iskandariyya wa hadarāt al-bahr al-mutawasit.

Al-Barry, Beshr, Chief of Documentation Department of Old Damascus City (2007)- Interview conducted on 15th of February 2007.

Behrens-Abouseif, D. (1994). Egypt’s Adjustment to Ottoman Rule: Institutions, Waqf and Architecture in Cairo, 16th and 17th centuries, Leinden: E.J. Brill.

Dahir n° 1-80-341 (25 décembre 1980). Portant promulgation de la loi Marocaine n° 22-80 relative à la conservation des monuments historiques et des sites, des inscriptions, des objets d’art et d’antiquités, Morocco.

Ecochard, M. & Le Cœur C. (1942-43). Les bains de Damas, Beyrouth, Lebanon.

el-Habashi, A. (2008), “Historic Hammāms between Protection and Reuse,” in the proceedings of “Heritage 2008” conference, vol. 2, pp. 619-629.

The Getty (2007).

Khallaf, A. (1953). Ahkām al-waqf ba‘d sudūr almarsūm bi-al-qānūn raqam 180 li-sanat 1952 bi-ilgha’ al-waqf ‘ala ghayr al-khayrāt, al-nasr Press, Cairo, Egypt. al-Khassaf, Abi Bakr Ahmad Ibn ‘Amr al-Sibani (ca. 870). Ahkām al-awqāf, Cairo: the Awqāf, published in 1904.

Mahdavi, A.; Lambeva, L.; Shehayeb, D. K. & El-Habashi, A. (2006). “A Systematic Approach to Scientifi c Study of Traditional Architecture.” Proceedings of PLEA 2006. Vol. 1, pp. 125 – 130.

Maqrīzi, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali (1364-1442). Al-mawa‘iz wa al-i’tibār bi-zikr al-khitat wa al-athār, known as al-khitat al-maqrīziyya, al-thaqāfa al-dīniyya, Cairo, Egypt.

Marino, B. (2008). “The Medina, the Hammām and the Future of Sustainability,” abstract and presentation in The Traditional Hammam: A Gift from the Past for the Future, International Conference, Damascus 13th-16th July 2008.

Mubārak, ‘Ali (1888). Al-Khitat al-Tawfīqiyya, Bulāq, Cairo, Egypt.

Law No. 1/80 (25th December 1980). Syrian Law for the Protection of Monuments, Historic Sites, Inscriptions, and Historic and Artistic Collections, Damascus, Syria.

Abun Nasr, J. (1987). A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Law No. 2863 (1983). Kültür ve Tabiat Varlıklarını Koruma Kanunu (the Law of the Protection of Cultural and Natural Property) 21 July 1983.

Özsunay, Ergün (1997). “Protection of Cultural Heritage in Turkish Private Law.” International Journal of Cultural Property, Vol. 6, pp.278-290.

Pauty, E. (1933). “Les Hammams du Caire,” in Mémoires publiés par les membres de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie orientale du Caire, Vol. 64.

Qadri, Muhammad (1870’s). Kitāb qanūn al-‘adl wa al-insāf li-al-qadā’ ‘ala mushkilāt al-awqāf, the edition consulted is published by al-Amīriyya, 1909, Cairo, Egypt.

Qura’a, M.A. (1934). Fi al-waqf: ‘ala ma ‘alih fi almahākim al-shar’iyya al-masriyya wifqan li-manhag al-lisans bi-kuliyya al-huqūq fi al-waqf (On Waqf: on it related issue in Egyptian shar’ courts according to the curriculam of Law school on waqf), al-futūh Press, Cairo, Egypt.

al-Sanhūri, M. A. F. (1949). “Fī qanūn al-waqf,” in Majmu’āt al-qawanīn al-misriyya al-mukhtāra min al-fi qh al-islamī, Part 3: Vol. 1 and 2. matba’at masr, Cairo, Egypt.

Sibel Ö. and Ahan K.(1998). The law of cultural property and natural heritage: Protection, transfer and access, Evanston IL: Kalos Kapp Press, p. 1-20,

Tanaka, E. (2007). “Protecting one of the best Roman Mosaic Collections in the World: Ownership and Protection in the Case of the Roman Mosaics from Zeugma, Turkey,” in Journal of Archaeology, pp. 183-202.

Vernoit, S. (1997). “The Rise of Islamic Archaeology,” in Muqarnas XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, Gülru Necipoglu (ed), Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1-10.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 International Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR


- ISSN (Online) #1938 7806 - ArchNet-IJAR is covered by ArchNet@ MIT Libraries, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCO, CNKI, Pro-Quest, Scopus-Elsevier, Web of Science.

- Published work in ArchNet-IJAR is licensed under Creative Commons: CC-BY--NC-ND license, see

Copyrights © Archnet-IJAR 2007-2018


Hit Counter
Visitor Hits Since 15 Jan 2014