Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah

Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah

The Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah is a historical landmark located in Kayseri, Turkey. It was commissioned by Giyaseddin Keykhusrev I in 1206 and was named after Gevher Nesib Sultan, the daughter of Seljuk emperor Kilicharslan II who ruled from 1105.

Gevher Nesib Sultan was severely ill and during a visit by Sultan Keykhusrev I, she expressed her wish for her property to be used to build a hospital that would offer free medical treatment to all, including those who could not afford it. In accordance with her wishes, Giyaseddin Keykhusrev began construction of the hospital in 1204 and completed it within two years, opening it to the public in 1206. Later on, Izzettin Keykaus built a medical madrasah to the east of darussifa between 1210-1214.

Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah

The darussifa building is located adjacent to the madrasah and has a square courtyard in the center, measuring 42.3 x 41.40 meters. It contains four small iwans, 23 rooms, and 5 great halls.

The hospital also had a special unit for the treatment of mental patients. The patients were treated with a combination of water therapy, music, and suggestion techniques.

Today, the Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah stands as a museum of medical history and is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at Kayseri. It is a testament to the remarkable vision and generosity of Gevher Nesib Sultan and the commitment to healthcare and education of the Seljuk rulers who commissioned the building.

During the time of Gevher Nesibe, the hospital utilized treatments from Islamic-Arabic medicine, a common practice in other hospitals of the time. The hospital was notable for having a designated section for treating psychopathic patients.

On the east side of the hospital, there were two rooms. The inner room was used for preparing drugs, and historians suggest that the Seljuks had knowledge of photosensitivity and the importance of light in treatment.

At the far end of the hospital, there was a hammam (Turkish bath) and evidence of copper pipes, suggesting the use of central heating. The hospital was staffed with a head physician, two internists, at least two surgeons, junior hospital doctors, and a pharmacist. The Darüssifa, established in the 13th century in Anatolia, was the first known public medical school. It was founded 350 years before its European counterpart and was one of the earliest schools to incorporate music therapy. Today, it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.