Sanduny bathhouses, с лёгким паром!
After having lived 3 years in Russia, I had still not been to the Russian bania. This is certainly one of the most typical Russian traditions and it really would have been a shame to try at least once.
I therefore decided to enjoy the Sanduny bathhouses, one of the most prestigious bania of the capital, located on 14 Neglinnaya Street. This institution was founded in 1808 and has kept all its charm.
The bania is a place of tradition, which has many rules and dos and don’ts. First of all, the bania are separated in two parts: one for men and one for women. The place which is for men is often bigger and much more beautiful from an architectural point of view. For example, in the Saduny bathhouses, a beautiful pool is available for men but not for women.
When you arrive in the bathhouses, you are not allowed to wear anything as a swimsuit for example. You must only cover yourself with a towel. After having cleaned yourself, you step into the bania. Felt hats are mandatory to protect your head from the heat as well as flip-flops to avoid burning your feet on the very hot stone. The woman that prepares the bania throws cold water on hot coal stones which creates steam. The main difference between the bania and the sauna is that the humidity in the bania is much higher (up to 70%) and the temperature lower (approximatively 60-70). This makes the bania a more therapeutical option. It is highly recommended for people who suffer with breathing problems. It is recommended to stay no longer than 15 minutes in the bania. You can lie down on the wooden benches and relax or book a ventik massage (massage with birch branches). This massage is not for the faint-hearted though it is said that the heat makes your skin much less sensitive. After spending some time in the steam room, you must through yourself a bucket of cold water on your head and then go inside a freezing bath three times. This allows you to better the blood circulation in the body. You should repeat this (bania and then cold water) about 3 or 4 times, allowing yourself to rest and also drink between each repetition. It is very important to drink as you will lose much water whilst sweating in the mania. After their last “visit” in the steam room, the Russian women like to give some extra care to their body. Body mud wraps, scrubs, masks: take some time to really do some good to your body and to relax.
When you leave the bathhouses, you will probably feel very tired and dozy. Your body is completely relaxed and you fall asleep very easily.
Honestly, if I had tried the Russian bathhouses earlier, I would probably have visited them each month.
Before you leave Russia, do try. It a uniquely Russian tradition and certainly something you will not regret.
1850 roubles for 3 hours