Iran’s historic bathhouses, known as ‘hammams’ in Persian, where patrons are rinsed and massaged beneath graceful archways and tiled walls, may soon disappear as interest in them diminishes. But business has declined as modern conveniences now allow showers and baths in most homes across the Islamic Republic. The few that remain, mostly in old neighbourhoods, largely draw day labourers and travellers.“Nowadays, there are only three or four public bathhouses in Tehran,” stated Mahdi Sajjadi, Head of the Tehran bathhouse owners’ association.Now, bathhouse owners like Gholam Ali Amirian, 70, who has spent four decades working in a hammam that is some 850 years old, fear the institution will dissipate like the steam from its heated pool. “Some 35 years ago, before the revolution, we had lots of customers. Five people worked here and we had over 50 customers a day. But now we have three customers a day on average,” informed Amirian.Sajjadi suggests that the government could turn the bathhouses into tourist attractions by offering low-interest loans to owners to renovate their aging interiors.