This is in one of the earliest Turkish schools of medicine, the Giyasiye Şifahiye (early 13th century). It can be visited and has its charm, but the display of what medical instruments and the like they have is pathetic. Compare the similar museum in the Beyazit II complex in Edirne: another world. The Lonely Planet Guide mentions that an inscription in the hospital stressed that no regard should be paid to the religion of the patients, be they Muslim, Jew or Christian.
This is one of the main courts.
The Giyasiye Şifahiye has several other names: ‘Çifte Medrese’ (Double High School) or ‘Gevher Nesibe Külliyesi’ (Complex of Gevher Nesibe, the daughter of sultan Kılıç Arslan II and sister of Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev I). The complex includes a mosque too.
As to the ‘Çifte Medrese’, these are a medical school and a hospital adjacent to it. ‘Şifahiye’ refers to the latter (Şifa = cure). The tomb within the medrese is said to belong to Gevher Nesibe, who took the initiative of building the Hospital.
Regarding the name ‘Giyasiye Şifahiye/Medrese’, this refers to sultan Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev I who ruled in 1192-1196 and 1205-1211, and ordered the complex to be completed, in honour of his sister Gevher Nesibe, who died in 1206.
Both the Hospital (the western part of the complex) and the Medical School (the eastern part) have the structure of a four-iwan-medrese with open courtyard. This means that, opposite to the entrance, a large iwan closes the yard. (An iwan is a rectangular hall or space, usually vaulted, walled on three sides, with one end entirely open). Another three smaller iwans open to the yard too: one in the South, and two halfway the yard (one East, one West). The Hospital is a little larger than the School (41 x 32½ m against 41 x 27½ m).
On the picture: The open courtyard of the Medrese/School, with its large iwan on the northern side.
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen
Sources: ‘Kayseri Kültür Varlıkları Envanteri’ (Kayseri Belediyesi 2008) & Wikipedia .