Unveiling the Timeless Tradition: The History of Banya

Steeped in tradition and shrouded in mystique, the banya has long been a cornerstone of Eastern European culture. Its origins are as ancient as they are intriguing, offering a glimpse into a world where wellness and communal bonding intersect. Let’s embark on a journey through time to unravel the captivating history of the banya.

The earliest known mention of the banya dates back to 1113 in The ‘Primary Chronicle,’ a historical record of the early East Slavic state. It recounts the visit of the Apostle Andrew to what would later become Russia and Ukraine. His astonishment at encountering wooden bathhouses among the Slavic people paints a vivid picture of this ancient practice. The Apostle observed a ritual of extreme heat, followed by self-flagellation with young reeds and a revitalizing drenching in cold water—a process that seemed almost miraculous in its rejuvenating effects.

Fast forward to the 18th century, and the banya’s significance transcended mere cultural curiosity. Dr. Antonio Nunes Ribeiro Sanches, a Portuguese physician serving as a court physician in Russia, played a pivotal role in elucidating the therapeutic benefits of the banya to Western audiences. In 1779, he shared his insights with fellow medical professionals, asserting the crucial role of the banya in maintaining health and hygiene.

Intriguingly, Dr. Sanches recalled a conversation with none other than Peter the Great, the visionary leader who modernized Russia. When questioning the necessity of training medical doctors for the burgeoning Russian military, Peter famously quipped, “Not for Russia. The banya alone is enough.” This proclamation underscores the profound esteem in which the banya was held, as Peter recognized its unparalleled contributions to the well-being of his people.

Dr. Sanches echoed Peter’s sentiment, emphasizing the therapeutic potential of the banya in promoting good health. He opined that the collective benefits derived from the judicious use of the banya outweighed the interventions of medical professionals—a testament to the profound wisdom embedded within this ancient practice.

Across the centuries, the banya has endured as more than just a place of physical purification; it serves as a sanctuary for spiritual and social rejuvenation. Beyond its therapeutic properties, the banya fosters a sense of camaraderie, where individuals gather to share stories, laughter, and life’s trials and triumphs.

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and tension abound, the allure of the banya remains as potent as ever. Its timeless appeal transcends borders and cultures, offering a refuge from the chaos of modern life. As we immerse ourselves in the steam and embrace the purifying heat, we not only honor an ancient tradition but also reconnect with our deepest selves and the shared heritage of humanity.

In conclusion, the history of the banya is a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the timeless pursuit of well-being. From its humble origins in wooden bathhouses to its recognition as a cornerstone of holistic health, the banya continues to captivate and inspire all who partake in its ancient rituals. So, the next time you step into the enveloping warmth of a banya, remember that you are not merely entering a sauna; you are embarking on a journey through history, culture, and the boundless potential of the human spirit.

Now Experience the Blow Hot Blow Cold Magic of Banya Forrest in Dubai!

Despite its splendour, Banya Forrest remains accessible to all, extending a warm welcome to guests from across the UAE. Future plans include introducing women-only days and obtaining an alcohol license to enhance the original social aspect of the experience.

Ronak Kotecha

May 4, 2024 – 13:06

Banya Forrest, situated on Dubai’s Bluewaters, seamlessly merges Slavic wellness traditions with contemporary western luxury. Under CEO Artem Avanesov’s management, it delivers the first modernised yet authentic banya experience, featuring spacious Slavic banya chambers, body scrubs and invigorating Venik massages.

Guests can take part in the signature Parenie ritual led by skilled banshchiks, also known as Sauna therapists specially invited from Eastern Europe, benefiting from detoxification, skin rejuvenation and most significantly contrast therapy (Alternating between hot and cold).

The inclusion of lavish amenities such as a state-of-the-art snow room, plunge pools and an allocated VIP Banya elevates the experience. Artem’s visionary leadership ensures excellence and innovation, setting a standard in luxury hospitality.


The sanctuary’s Slavic Restaurant offers a culinary journey through Eastern Europe with a touch of opulence, perfectly complementing the holistic wellness offerings. The outdoor terrace with chic wooden decor features prime views over the Arabian Gulf – a perfect place to relax and dine inbetween sauna sessions.

Despite its splendour, Banya Forrest remains accessible to all, extending a warm welcome to guests from across the UAE.Future plans include introducing women-only days and obtaining an alcohol license to enhance the original social aspect of the experience. Whether guests seek ancient rituals, modern indulgence, or just a good time with friends, Banya Forrest invites them on a transformative wellness journey unlike any other.

Discover relaxation and rejuvenation at Banya Forrest. Learn more at www.banyaforrest.com and @banya_forrest.


В Дубае на искусственном острове Bluewaters открылась первая в эмирате русская баня Banya Forrest. Как сообщил RTN ее генеральный директор Артем Аванесов, Дубай не случайно был выбран как место, наиболее подходящее для популяризации традиционной русской бани: в эмирате высокая концентрация экспатов, большая русскоговорящая аудитории. Да и привыкли местные жители и проживающие здесь иностранные граждане, что в Дубае постоянно появляется что-то новое – отели, рестораны, парки развлечений.

«А теперь есть и настоящая парная. Мы хотим познакомить весь мир с традициями русской бани и решили начать с ОАЭ. Запрос на это есть, прежде всего, у русскоговорящих дубайцев. Они так и говорят – «как же мы соскучились по бане, как нам ее не хватает». Местное население в принципе очень любит все, что связано со здоровьем, спа и оздоровительными процедурами. Помимо этого, при выборе локации важно было учитывать еще три фактора: доступность для резидентов премиум и люксового уровня, престиж места и инженерные требования, так как вес печей составляет около 45 тонн, и далеко не каждый объект в Дубае подходит для их установки», – пояснил он.

Банный комплекс рассчитан, в первую очередь, на постоянное использование туристами и жителями районов Bluewaters, JBR, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills Блувотерс, JBR, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills.

«Хотим сделать русскую баню популярным, модным и известным продуктом наравне с йогой, акупунктурой, спа и другими общепринятыми процедурами во всем мире. Мы установили настоящую монолитную печь, которая позволяет гостям париться неудушающим и поистине «легким» паром. Предлагаем общие «вкусные пары»: это процедуры, наполненные ароматами хмеля, травяных настоев, запахом степи и лугов, которые создают в парной атмосферу благополучия и расслабления. Также делаем индивидуальные парения, помывки, скрабирования и массажи – в мокрой зоне и классические. Есть снежная комната и ведерный душ с ледяной водой», – рассказал Аванесов.

Интерьер бани выполнен в натуральном стиле, с использованием бревенчатых стен, сквозь которые пробивается мох, много настоящей зелени. В комплексе работает ресторан славянской домашней кухни: повара готовят борщи и квас, лепят пельмени и вареники, варят раков. Из России были выписаны и банщики.

Banya Forrest вмещает 70 гостей плюс вип-зона на 20 человек. Помещение состоит из двух зон: публичная и вип-баня. Входной билет в публичную зону стоит 315 дирхам ОАЭ (около 8 тыс. рублей) с человека за стандартным столиком, кабинка на 4 человек обойдется в 2,1 тыс. дирхам (53,3 тыс. рублей). В стоимость входит банный халат, тапочки, полотенце и банная шапка. Дополнительные услуги оплачиваются отдельно.

Русская баня в Дубае работает первый месяц, но уже появились постоянные клиенты, которые приходят каждую неделю. Установлен своего рода рекорд посещаемости – 120 человек в день, но в среднем Banya Forrest посещают около 50 человек в день.

«Естественно, как мы и ожидали, первыми пришли русскоговорящие клиенты, однако мы уже принимаем граждан Саудовской Аравии, Японии, Америки, Великобритании, Китая, Италии и других стран», – подчеркнул Аванесов.

Наталья Панферова

Фото Кати Асквит

Banya Forrest Review: What’s it like at Dubai’s first traditional Slavic Banya?

The soon-to-be licensed location includes saunas, snow rooms and a Slavic restaurant.

Forget about the ice bucket challenge. Banya Forrest has opened on Bluewaters. The new Slavic spa is the first fully equipped traditional Slavic banya in the United Arab Emirates. For those unversed in the tradition of banya, the experience hit the headlines for its ice-cold bucket showers. If you want to channel your inner Wim Hof, get ready to be refreshed.

Not to be confused with the adjacent Banyan Tree Dubai hotel, Banya Forrest is a social bathhouse experience. Insta gimmicks aside, it offers a way to relax and unwind and represents a vital bonding place in Slavic culture. The venue embraces the forestry of its name, and guests enter into a cosy reception area resembling a log cabin, with chopped timber lining the walls and patches of moss bursting through. This immersion into the ‘wild’ promotes relaxation, which continues into the modern changing room where you’re armed with slippers, cosy robes and hats to help regulate body temperatures once inside the banya. Forget Ravi X adidas or Hello Kitty X Rascals; Banya Forrest’s pixie hats are this spring’s must-have merch.

Banya Forrest Review
Photo by Katya Asquith

Banya Forrest’s wet area facilities include the largest banya sauna in the MENA region, a cold plunge pool (set to a chilly seven degrees), traditional ice bucket showers and a snow room where snowflakes tumble gracefully from the ceiling before collecting in clumps on the floor. The space can accommodate 70 guests, although a VIP experience for 20 people is available. Staff are friendly throughout and happy to guide newbies through the banya experience, which involves subjecting the body to extreme heat and cold, also known as contrast therapy.

Banya Forrest Review
Photo by Katya Asquith

Banyas are typically made of wood and heated by a wood-fired stove. The heat and steam can help to loosen tight muscles, improve circulation, and relieve pain. Banyas are also believed to boost the immune system and help clear the respiratory system, offering a great way to relax and de-stress. Banya Forrest prides itself on its traditional Eastern European techniques dating back to the 11th century. The in-house banshchik (bath superintendents) will perform a Parenie Ritual, which involves brushing and massaging guests with soaked leaf veniks to help stimulate circulation and improve skin health. These bathhouse masters have been brought to Dubai from Russia for their specialism.

Banya Forrest Dubai
Photo by Katya Asquith

Following a sauna session, guests should douse themselves with water from the suspended ice buckets before plunging into the cool pool and caressing themselves with snow from the snow room. It’s a sharp shock to the system, but it will leave them feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Banya Forrest Dubai
Photo by Katya Asquith

The process is repeated over the course of several hours, with breaks for lounging. As it is traditional to drink beer in an Eastern European banya experience, Banya Forrest is soon-to-be licensed, and yes, you can drink and dine in your robes and slipper (#lifegoals). The onsite restaurant offers traditional Slavic cuisine such as calf liver with buckwheat porridge (AED 115), signature crayfish with dill and lemon (AED 150) and homemade pelmeni dumplings stuffed with beef and chicken (AED 65). The traditional Borscht (AED 75) is highly recommended, as is the layered Honey Cake with blackcurrant (AED 65).

Banya Forrest Review
Photo by Katya Asquith

Above the restaurant lies treatment rooms where guests can make a day of it and indulge in body scrubs, body washes and massages. An outside terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf features woven mats, fringed parasols, low-slung sofas and sun beds. When the sun sets, it’s an ideal spot for dinner and drinks, and congratulating yourself on completing the challenge.

Go on, take the plunge.

Embracing Wellness with Banya Forrest

Embracing Wellness with Banya Forrest

In the tranquil setting of BlueWaters Dubai, Banya Forrest stands as a beacon of holistic rejuvenation and well-being. Beyond its serene ambiance, Banya Forrest offers a gateway to profound healing and relaxation through the ancient practice of banya. Let’s delve into the transformative benefits of banya and how it can nurture your body, mind, and spirit.

  1. Stress Relief and Relaxation:

Step into the soothing warmth of the banya and feel your worries melt away. The gentle heat and steam envelop your body, relaxing tense muscles and calming your mind. As stress levels diminish, you emerge feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the world with renewed calmness.

  1. Detoxification and Cleansing:

Sweat is nature’s way of detoxifying the body, and the banya provides the perfect environment for this natural process. As you sweat in the steam room, toxins and impurities are flushed from your system, leaving you feeling lighter, cleaner, and more energized. Regular banya sessions can support your body’s natural detoxification pathways, promoting overall health and well-being.

  1. Improved Circulation and Heart Health:

The heat and steam of the banya stimulate blood circulation, aiding in improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart disease. Enhanced circulation means oxygen-rich blood is delivered more efficiently to your organs and tissues, supporting their function and vitality.

  1. Skin Rejuvenation and Radiance:

Experience the transformative effects of banya on your skin as pores open, allowing for deep cleansing and detoxification. The steam helps remove dirt, oil, and impurities, leaving your skin soft, smooth, and radiant. Regular banya sessions can improve skin tone and texture, reduce acne flare-ups, and slow down the aging process, giving you a youthful glow.

  1. Immune System Support:

The heat and steam of the banya can help boost your immune system, making you more resistant to illness and infection. As your body temperature rises, your immune system is activated, producing white blood cells and antibodies to defend against pathogens. Regular exposure to the banya’s heat and steam strengthens your immune system, promoting better health and vitality.

  1. Mental Clarity and Emotional Well-being:

Banya offers more than physical benefits; it also impacts mental and emotional well-being. The relaxation induced by the heat and steam can reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, and promote a sense of peace. As you immerse yourself in the tranquil banya environment, stress and tension melt away, allowing your mind to find clarity and balance.

In essence, banya is more than just a spa treatment – it’s a holistic healing practice that nurtures your body, mind, and spirit. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, detoxification, or overall health improvement, the transformative benefits of banya await you at Banya Forrest in BlueWaters Dubai. Experience the healing power of banya and embark on a journey to wellness and vitality.

From Heat to Ice

From Heat to Ice: The Fascinating Science Behind Banyas Hot-Cold Therapy

What’s more invigorating than taking a plunge into an icy pool of water after sweating it out in a steamy sauna? If you’ve ever had the chance to experience this phenomenon before, then you know that Banya hot-cold therapy is one of the best ways to boost physical and mental well-being. Whether you’re looking for stress relief or a way to detoxify your body, banyas offer an intriguing holistic approach backed up by science. In this blog, we will explore how alternating between warm and cold temperatures works its magic on our bodies and uncover some amazing benefits that come with it. So, let’s dive right in and discover why a banya’s hot-cold therapy is such an effective health practice!

How does hot-cold therapy work?

For starters, the heat experienced in the banya helps to activate sweat glands and stimulate blood flow. As our body temperature rises, so does our heart rate, causing increased blood circulation throughout our body. This allows oxygen and essential nutrients to reach different organs and tissues more efficiently, helping them function better.

On the other hand, when we immerse ourselves in cold water or air, our body responds by constricting blood vessels, slowing down circulation, and reducing inflammation. This physiological response, known as vasoconstriction, helps reduce swelling in sore or inflamed areas of the body. As a result, cold therapy effectively treats various conditions such as muscle pain, arthritis, and even skin disorders like psoriasis.

But how do these hot-cold treatments actually work at a biological level? The answer lies in our body’s natural response to changes in temperature. When we experience extreme heat or cold, our body activates its “fight or flight” mode, triggering the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help us adapt to the changing environment and provide energy for our muscles to keep us warm or cool.

Furthermore, this response also triggers the release of endorphins, commonly known as the “feel-good” hormones. These neurotransmitters act as natural painkillers and can help alleviate chronic pain and inflammation symptoms. This is why many people feel a sense of relaxation and well-being after a session in the banya.

What are the benefits of banya’s hot-cold therapy?


The alternating heat and cold temperatures in a banya can stimulate our lymphatic system, helping to flush out toxins from our body. The increase in circulation also promotes the elimination of waste products through sweating, resulting in a deep cleanse at the cellular level.

Pain Relief

The release of natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory substances during cold exposure can relieve muscle soreness, joint pain, and other inflammatory conditions.

Stress Reduction

The relaxation response triggered by heat exposure in banya therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. The sudden temperature change also stimulates our nervous system, promoting mental alertness and improving mood.

Immune Boost

The stimulation of the lymphatic system and increased circulation during banya therapy can also boost our immune function. The release of natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory substances can help reduce inflammation and fight off infections.

Skin Health

The combination of heat and cold in banya therapy can improve skin elasticity, promote cell regeneration, and enhance collagen production. It can also help improve conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Cardiovascular Health

The fluctuation in temperature during banya therapy can benefit our cardiovascular system by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Regular banya sessions may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Respiratory Health

The inhalation of steam and essential oils during banya therapy can help improve respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. It can also help clear out congestion in the sinuses and lungs.

Weight Loss

The increased metabolism and sweating during banya therapy can aid in weight loss by burning calories and eliminating toxins from our bodies.

Muscle Recovery

Banya therapy can also aid in muscle recovery by increasing blood flow to sore muscles and reducing inflammation. It is a popular choice for athletes to help speed up their recovery time after intense training.

Joint Pain Relief

The heat from banya therapy can penetrate deep into our joints, relieving conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. It can also improve joint mobility and flexibility.

Mental Health

Aside from physical benefits, banya therapy also positively affects our mental health. The combination of heat and relaxation can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote better sleep, and improve overall mood.

In short, the banya offers a range of benefits for both our physical and mental well-being. Incorporating regular sessions into our self-care routine can help us maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So next time you’re feeling stressed or in need of some rejuvenation, consider giving banya therapy a try.

Banya Therapy: Snow Room & Cold Plunge


In today’s fast-paced world, prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining overall well-being. While the concept of self-care may vary from person to person, one timeless practice that offers profound benefits is banya therapy. Originating from Eastern Europe, banya therapy combines the therapeutic properties of heat, steam, and cold therapy to create a rejuvenating experience for the body, mind, and soul. Join us as we explore the transformative power of banya therapy and discover how it can elevate your self-care routine to new heights, complemented by our snow room and plunge pool.

Embracing Rituals of Relaxation:

At Banya Forrest, we believe that self-care is more than just a luxury – it’s a necessity for nurturing your well-being and finding balance in your life. Our banya sessions offer a sanctuary where you can unwind, recharge, and reconnect with yourself. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, muscle relaxation, or simply a moment of serenity, our banya therapy provides the perfect opportunity to indulge in a moment of relaxation amidst the chaos of everyday life.

The Healing Properties of Heat Therapy:

Central to the banya experience is the therapeutic power of heat therapy. As you step into the steam room, the gentle warmth envelops you, melting away tension and promoting deep relaxation. The heat opens pores, allowing for a deep cleanse and detoxification of the skin, while also increasing circulation and promoting overall vitality. With each breath, you inhale the aromatic steam infused with healing herbs and essential oils, further enhancing the soothing effects on your body and mind.

Harnessing the Benefits of Cold Therapy:

In addition to heat therapy, banya sessions at Banya Forrest often incorporate invigorating cold therapy experiences. Our guests have the opportunity to indulge in the refreshing benefits of cold plunges or contrast showers. This abrupt shift from extreme heat to cold triggers a series of physiological responses in the body, including vasoconstriction and vasodilation, which can enhance circulation, stimulate the immune system, and promote detoxification. What sets us apart is our unique snow room, where guests can immerse themselves in the crisp, refreshing snow, further enhancing the cold therapy experience. Paired with our rejuvenating plunge pool, the combination of hot and cold therapies, complemented by our snow room, creates a revitalizing and invigorating experience that leaves you feeling renewed and energized.

Mindful Moments of Reflection:

As you bask in the warmth of the steam room, banya therapy provides an opportunity for mindful reflection and introspection. Take this time to connect with your breath, tune into your body, and let go of any stress or tension weighing you down. With each exhale, release any thoughts or worries that no longer serve you, allowing yourself to fully embrace the present moment and cultivate a sense of inner peace and tranquility.

Integrating Banya Therapy into Your Self-Care Routine:

Incorporating banya therapy into your self-care routine is simple and effortless. Whether you visit Banya Forrest for a weekly indulgence or create your own banya-inspired retreat at home, the key is to prioritize your well-being and carve out time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Treat yourself to a banya session as a reward for your hard work and dedication, and savor the benefits of enhanced relaxation, improved skin health, and increased vitality.


In a world filled with constant distractions and demands, it’s more important than ever to prioritize self-care and nurture your well-being. Banya therapy offers a holistic approach to relaxation and rejuvenation, providing a sanctuary where you can unwind, recharge, and reconnect with yourself on a deeper level. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, muscle relaxation, or simply a moment of serenity, banya therapy has the power to transform your self-care routine and elevate your overall well-being. So, why wait? Treat yourself to a banya session today and experience the transformative benefits for yourself at Banya Forrest.

10 Benefits Of Regular Banya Visits

Visiting a banya can be an exciting cultural experience that soothes both body and soul. Going to the banya regularly offers numerous physical and psychological benefits – from boosting cardiovascular health to reducing stress. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 10 of the most compelling reasons why you should regularly visit the banya as part of your healthy lifestyle. From improving circulation to strengthening immunity, there are many rewards for getting yourself to the banya on a regular basis. Come with us as we explore how visiting the banya can improve your life in unexpected ways.

1- Improved Circulation

Banya visits can help to stimulate blood flow and improve circulation throughout the body. The combination of heat, cold water plunges, and massage techniques used in the banya can aid in dilating blood vessels, allowing for increased blood flow to all areas of the body. This improved circulation not only helps to nourish cells and organs but also assists in removing waste and toxins from the body.

2- Detoxification

The high heat levels in the banya can help to open pores, promoting sweating and releasing toxins from the body. The combination of steam and birch or eucalyptus leaves also has a purifying effect on the respiratory system. Regular banya visits can aid in detoxifying your body and improving overall health.

3- Stress Relief

The banya experience can be incredibly relaxing and calming, making it an excellent stress reliever. The heat and steam help to soothe both the body and mind, while massage techniques used during a visit can release tension held in muscles. Regular visits to the banya can provide a much-needed break from daily stressors, allowing you to relax and recharge.

4- Improved Skin Health

The heat and steam in the banya can positively affect your skin. It helps open up pores, allowing deep cleansing and removal of dead skin cells. The combination of hot and cold temperatures also aids in improving blood flow to the skin, resulting in a healthier, more radiant complexion.

5- Boosted Immune System

Regular banya visits can also have a positive impact on your immune system. The heat and steam help to stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are essential in fighting off infections and illnesses. Additionally, the banya’s detoxifying effects can help strengthen your body’s natural defense mechanisms.

6- Improved Respiratory Health

The high humidity levels in the banya can benefit those with respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis. The steam can help open airways and reduce inflammation, making breathing easier. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of birch and eucalyptus leaves used in the banya can also aid in clearing out congestion.

7- Social and Cultural Experience

In addition to the physical benefits, visiting a banya can also be a social and cultural experience. Traditionally, banyas were used as gathering places for people to socialize, relax, and connect with others. It is a great way to bond with friends or family while enjoying the many health benefits of this Russian tradition.

8- Mind-Body Connection

The banya experience also promotes a mind-body connection. The ritual of alternating between hot and cold temperatures, along with relaxation and meditation, can help to reduce stress and promote mental clarity. Additionally, the release of endorphins during the steaming process can leave you feeling rejuvenated and blissful.

9- Overall Wellness

Overall, visiting a banya can contribute to your overall wellness and well-being. It offers a unique combination of physical, mental, and social benefits that can positively impact your quality of life.

10- Muscle Recovery

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can also benefit from banya visits as the heat helps to relax muscles and aid in recovery after a strenuous workout. The steam can also improve flexibility, making it easier to prevent injuries.

From improving respiratory health to promoting social connections and overall wellness, there are numerous reasons to visit a traditional banya. If you can experience this unique cultural tradition, don’t hesitate to try it and reap the many benefits for both your body and mind.

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