What Are Turkish Towels? Unveiling their History

Turkish towels, also known as Hammam towels, are more than just absorbent pieces of fabric. They hold a rich history and cultural significance.

This article explores the history, features, types, benefits, and care tips for Turkish towels, explaining why they have become a must-have in homes worldwide.

A Brief History of Turkish Towels

The origins of Turkish towels date back to the 17th century and the Ottoman Empire. These towels were traditionally woven from cotton or linen and used in public baths known as hammams. Their exceptional absorbency and quick-drying features made them ideal for repeated use in the baths.

An Ottoman-era painting depicting people using Turkish towels in a hammam.

During the Ottoman Empire, they became a symbol of status and wealth due to their high-quality craftsmanship and designs. They were an essential part of Turkish culture, being used in traditional weddings and as fashion statements like scarves or shawls.

Over time, the popularity of Turkish towels expanded beyond Turkey. Today they are used globally as beach towels, bath towels and more. Their versatility and functionality have made them a worldwide household staple.

What Makes Turkish Towels Unique?

Material Composition

They are mainly made from premium cotton, ensuring a soft and luxurious feel. The high-quality fibers contribute to their durability and excellent absorbency.


One of the standout features is their remarkable absorbency, allowing them to quickly dry the skin. This characteristic makes them ideal for everyday use and a must-have for beachgoers.

Lightweight and Compact

Despite their absorbent capabilities, Turkish towels maintain a lightweight and compact design. This feature makes them perfect for travel, as they take up minimal space in your luggage.

Types of Turkish Towels

They are available in various sizes for different purposes:

  • Hand Towels: Approximately 20″ x 40″ in size. Used for drying hands and face. Easy to pack for travel.
  • Bath Towels: Around 40″ x 70″ in size. The most popular size for everyday bath and shower use.
  • Beach Towels: Similar dimensions to a bath towel. The lightweight fabric and absorbency make them ideal as beach and pool activities.

Popular Uses of Turkish Towels

A person relaxing on a Turkish towel in a beach

  • Beach and Pool Trips: The fast drying and fashionable patterns make these towels perfect for the beach.
  • Stylish Accessories: Used as scarves, shawls or wraps, the beautiful designs of these towels can spice up any outfit.
  • Home Decor: In addition to drying, these absorbent and colorful towels can be used as throws, blankets or tablecloths around the house.

Benefits of Using Turkish Towels


These towels are made using organic materials and traditional methods that are better for the environment. This also improves their quality.


The excellent materials and detailed making process give these towels great durability. They can handle regular use and washing without getting damaged.

Soft and Cozy:

Experience how plush and soft these towels feel on your skin. Their cushy texture makes them extra comfy to use everyday.

Easy to Pack:

The lightweight and compact design makes these ideal for travel. Whether going to the beach or on a weekend trip, these towels won’t weigh you down.


These towels are not only practical but also stylish. With a variety of patterns and colors to choose from, they can enhance the appearance of any space.

How Do Turkish Towels Differ From Regular Towels?

Turkish TowelsRegular Towels
Highly absorbent.Less absorbent
Initially may not feel super soft but improves over time.Immediate softness, but may lose softness with repeated washes.
Lightweight and compact, suitable for various uses like beach, travel, yoga.Primarily used for drying after a shower or bath.
Highly durable, improves with each wash, resistant to tearing.Can be durable but tends to wear out more quickly.
Dry QuicklyDry Slowly

Caring for Your Turkish Towels

Follow these tips to keep Turkish towels looking and feeling their best:

Turkish towel placed in a basket in front of a washing machine.

  • Wash in cold water to avoid shrinkage.
  • Use a mild detergent and avoid fabric softener.
  • Wash similar colors together to prevent color bleeding.
  • Opt for air drying instead of machine drying.
  • Avoid bleach and ironing that can damage the loops.
  • Shake out towels before storing to prevent mildew.


In summary, these towels are more than just bath accessories. They represent luxury, history, and flexibility. From their start in Ottoman baths to becoming a popular fashion item, these towels have become part of Turkish culture. Enjoy the elegance, coziness, and eco-friendliness of these towels. They can improve your daily life and travels.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Turkish towels thick or thin?

Turkish towels are thinner and more lightweight compared to regular towels. They are made of cotton or linen woven in a special looped pile design. This creates a thin, soft and very absorbent towel.

How do I choose a good Turkish towel?

Look for ones made from natural fibers like 100% Turkish cotton that are OEKO-TEX certified. Check the grams per square meter (GSM) and choose 300-500 GSM for good absorbency. Also, pick a reputable brand and check reviews of specific towels before buying.

Why are Turkish towels so expensive?

There are a few reasons Turkish towels cost more than regular towels:

  • They are handwoven using quality natural materials which increases labor costs.
  • Traditional Turkish weaving is intricate and requires skill, so there is a premium for that craftsmanship.
  • Turkish towels are more durable than regular towels and last longer.
  • There is global demand that drives the price up, especially for towels exported from Turkey.


Leave a Reply