The hamam was once at the very centre of Baku social life. It was here that the local men would meet, relax and socialise, discussing the business of the day and unwind. One day a week would be women only, and competition was fierce between owners to create the most impressive surroundings and attract the most customers for the hard business of ultra-relaxation.
Today, the city of Baku might be changing rapidly, but the hamam can still be found, albeit far fewer in number, all over the city. Most have steadfastly refused to move with the times, perhaps adding a flatscreen television here or there, but still bastions of bygone well-being.
Amongst the most well-known today is Taze Bey. Built in 1886, it was restored to its former glory in 2003 and now treads an unusual line between the old and the new. There are Oriental, Russian and Finnish baths and a swimming pool, as well as pummelling massages and extras like manicures and pedicures to leave you feeling fresh and revitalised.
The Big in Baku team selflessly went in search for the ultimate steam bath.
Find out more about Taze Bey here