Bey Hamam, alternatively known as the 'Baths of Paradise', is a Turkish bathhouse in Thessaloniki.
Built in 1444 by sultan Murad II, it was the first Ottoman bath in Thessaloniki and the most important one still standing throughout Greece. For this reason, it is a part of those few important vestiges of Ottoman culture remaining in Thessaloniki and Greece in general.
It is a double bath, with two separate parts for men and women. The male quarters are the most spacious and luxurious, but each one follows the same tripartite plan - a succession of three parts, the cold, tepid, and hot rooms. A large rectangular cistern flanks the baths to the east and guarantees their water supply.
The baths for the men include a large octagonal cold room, with a gallery resting on columns, arcades surrounding their windows, and a painted cupola. It is followed, in south-east, by the tepid room, also octagonal, equipped with a cupola with occuli and with a rich series of painted depictions of plants. Further to the east lies the complex of hot rooms, ordered around a large cruciform room, wherein the massage table might always be found, standing, now as ever, in its centre. Eight small hot and tepid rooms open on this space and are equipped with basins and marble benches.
The baths remained in usage, under the name 'Baths of Paradise', up until 1968, where they were leased to the Greek archaeological service for four years. After the 1978 Thessaloniki earthquake, which shook Thessaloniki especially hard, the baths were restored, and are used to this day for cultural events and short-lived exhibitions. Meanwhile, the eastern annex became the principal shop of the Foundation of Archaeological Receipts of the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.