Sauna with a difference

Done with the hamam or itching to spoil yourself? Try Teremok for Berlin's best imitated traditional Russian sauna. Available (separately) to both ladies and gentlemen, steam, flagellation and relaxation are the three steps to "ahhh".

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Photo by Charlotte Eberwein

Teremok brings traditional Russian sauna to Berlin  a three-step process of steam, flagellation and relaxation.

Ever wondered what the Russians actually do in the sauna with those birch branches they call veniki? For the price of a half-hour S-Bahn ride to the eastern wilds of Marzahn, a €10 entrance fee and another €5 for an actual venik, you’ll get the answer.

Welcome to Teremok, Berlin’s best imitation of a real Russian banya. Enter the shabby-looking building and you’re met with photographic wallpaper of a white birch forest, an ancient cash register, and a row of trolleys crammed with sauna accessories. There’s none of that promiscuous German gender-mingling here. True to Russian tradition, the banya alternates women-only and men-only days; mixed groups are welcome to hire private rooms (€50/6 people/3 hours or €60/8 people/3 hours).

Teremok offers two rooms that use the traditional semi-dry steam (something between a wet Turkish hamam and a dry Finnish sauna) with temperatures of around 90°C and 110°C respectively. The hotter room is intense; stick to the lower bench if you want to survive. The ritual includes three sessions of intensive venik flagellation (of yourself and others) in the steam rooms – thus improving circulation – flanked with three cooling-off sets in the next-door shower space, where you can pour a wooden bucket of cold water over yourself by pulling on a rope.

Once you’re done, park yourself alongside the crew of middle-aged regulars in the relaxation space just off the entrance and watch Russian music videos while drinking beer and snacking on salt-dried fish (vobla). “S lyogkim parom!” (“Have a light steam!”), as they say.

Teremok, Märkische Allee 388, Marzahn, S-Bhf Ahrensfelde, Mon-Sun 9-22 (check for men/women days)

Originally published in issue #122, December 2013.