Get To Know More About Banya

Get To Know More About Banya

Banya is an Eastern Slavic kind of steam bath with a wood stove. It is part of the Russian culture having Finno-Ugric and Slavic roots for wet or dry sessions.

As far as banya is concerned, the bath usually takes place inside a building or small room. It is also designed for wet heat or dry meetings. The high heat and steam make all those bathers perspire in this type of bath. The term banya in the Russian language means public bathhouse. It is most historically popular as a Sanduny.

Get To Know More About Banya

If you want to sweat and relax, banya can be the perfect answer. This kind of bath will definitely help you relieve stress and other problems in life. The steam and heat that this bath will give you will let you sweat and allow you to enjoy.

History and Cultural Significance

Banya is not only a well-known steam bath. It is also considered to be historic when it comes to its significant impact in the past years. It has an effect on people’s lives with the relaxation and enjoyment it induces.

Banya’s history and roots

Banya is historically found in Radziwill Chronicle, the Princess Olga’s story revenge for her husband murder named Prince Igor in 945 AD. It was executed by the Drevlians Slavic tribe since their leader wanted to marry Olga. Thus, they sent a messenger for the discussion of the idea. When Drevlians arrived, widow Olga commanded that there should be a bath ready for their visitors.

The place where the visitors need to wash was heated. Then, they started bathing. Men of Olga immediately closed the bathhouse and ordered to put fire on the doors. This was to make sure that all the Drevlians involved in the death of her husband die.

Early banya description comes with Primary 1113 Chronicles of East Slavic. According to the Chronicle, it was called primarily “The Tale of Bygone Years.” Apostle Andrew visited some territories that become Ukraine and Russian Greek colonies of the Black Sea. Such belief was chiefly held when Andrew crossed the lands of East Slavic from Dnieper River, passed the Kyiv hills, and went to the Novgorod City.

Andrew saw the Slavs land and also noticed the wooden bathhouses. Such bathhouses were warm to the extreme heat. Then, he undressed and took some young reeds while lashing their bodies. The reeds were hit so violently that they could barely escape. After that, their body was drenched using cold water, reviving them subsequently.

The original kind of bathhouses is low-lying and can be characterized by detached wooden structures that are firelit dependent inside. The stove in its corner is primarily made of large sorts of round stones, and when heated, these are lifted with some iron rods in a wooden tub. Once the fire is already built, the bather will remove the fire and just flushes the smoke out before starting the bath.

Banya’s Russian cultural significance

Banya is considered to be an essential place for bonding as far as Russian culture is concerned. Throughout Russian history, it is used by social classes in the Russian society, including those noble people and villagers. It is also used as a meeting place by Russian politicians and business people.

How banya is constructed

Banya building is a bit large compared to other kinds of bathing areas like the traditional saunas in Finnish traditions. Russian banyas primarily consist of three rooms: washing room, entrance room, and steam room. Its heater also has three compartments, namely the firebox, rock chamber, and water tank.

Get To Know More About Banya

The top part of the banya’s water tank is closed to avoid infiltration of the vapor. Apart from that, water from the stove’s bucket is poured into the heated rocks. You may also see some wooden benches all across the bathhouse room. People who want to try this kind of bath can enter the room when the stove is already hot and before the water is placed on the rocks.

How white and black banyas differ from each other

In black banya, smoke primarily escapes into a hole found in the ceiling. On the other hand, the white banya has exhaust pipes to vent the smoke completely. Venting such steam will definitely darken the interior wood of the banya.

Black banya is also more rudimentary when compared to the white banya. However, both white and black banyas are mainly composed of clay balls, boulder stones, and large cauldrons.

Bathing rituals to follow

The temperature of banya usually exceeds about 93 Celcius. Thus, wool or felt hats are worn for head protection against intense heat. These headwear are also used as hair protection from heating since it might unexpectedly cause burns. It is also common to sit on a small mat to protect your bare skin against hot nails and woods located at the interior benches.

After you release your first sweat, it is a typical routine to cool yourself off outdoor. You can also splash cold water around you. In areas where winter is commonly experienced, some are rolling in the snow without wearing clothes. Others, meanwhile, are dipping their bodies in lakes. After that, the banya is again re-entered; however, this time, only a small quantity of the water is splashed on rocks.

Comparison With Other Thermal Bathing

Ancient Romans’ bathhouses differ from each other. Most of them were utilized not only for washing but also for socializing, painting, reading poetry, singing, and many more. Apart from that, old bathhouses emphasize special rooms intended for gyms, libraries, and massages. Below are different banyas that you may choose from.

Finnish Sauna

The Finnish sauna is a close relative of Russian banya. Sometimes, nevertheless, it is different from banyas with wet steam and sanyas with dry steam. However, this sauna historically makes use of wet steam. In Russia, Sauna is commonly known as Finnish Banya to differentiate it from various ethnic and high-temperature facilities like Turkish baths.

Swedish Bastu

This kind of bath is generally derived from the terms “bad” and “stuga”. It became prevalent in Middle Ages city during the 16th and 17th centuries. It applies grains and dry meat in a bath. It is common to see some bastu in gyms, sports venues, arenas, and swimming pools. In some public bastu, swimming pools, for instance, are separated based on gender.

Turkish Hammam

This bath is glamorous similar to the Roman baths. When you enter a Turkish hammam, you can find a spacious hall where you can leave some of your clothes. You can then proceed down using stairs and walk along a narrow corridor to the bathhouse soap room. With this kind of bath, the steam source is a gigantic water tub inside. The bather will lie on the stone to perspire.

Get To Know More About Banya


People are undoubtedly into banya not only for relaxation but also for the pleasure that it offers. It is also valuable for the health of everyone. The huge number of people who have truly enjoyed banyas in the past years proves that it is such a massive benefit to many.

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