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Pompeı's oldest baths complex at the corner of Via Stabiana probably dates to the 2nd century B.C.. The bath complex covers a total surface area of over 3,500 square metres and is divided into two adjacent sections reserved for men and women and includes a courtyard which was used as a gymnasium.

Three sides of the courtyard have colonnades and the fourth side borders onto a large swimming-pool one and a half metres deep. it is separated from the gymnasium by a low wall. After the earthquake of 62 A.D. the swimming-pool area was embellished with elegant coloured stucco decorations which are about mythological figures and athletes.



Only a few bathing chambers were annexed to the gymnasium to the north. The other rooms were later turned into a large lavatory situated at the rear of the apartment belonging to the manager of the baths. A door in the right-hand corner of the colonnade leads to the men's section. The first room on the left is a chamber for cold baths called as Frigidarium. It  has a round shape with four corner niches and a pool in the centre. The fact that this room was actually used as a laconicum, which can be described as a steam room where the air was heated by bronze braziers.


From the entrance hall to the the changing room (Apodyterium), the vault has stucco decorations in various colours. The next room is the Tepidarium, in which warm baths could be taken. It was heated by hot air which circulated under the floor.
The following room is the Calidarium where the tub on the right-hand side was being used for hot baths. Above the bath we can see three niches which contained statues.  The fire places for heating both the water and the air were situated behind the Calidarium wall. I you followthe colonades of gymnasium, you reach the entrance door to the women's section. Here the rooms follow one another in the same sequence as in the men's section.

Plan of Stabian Baths.png
the Stabian baths. Photograph by Alinari
Stabian baths in Pompeii
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