Niksar, The Capital of Damishmend Dynasty

Niksar, The Capital of Damishmend Dynasty

Niksar is a district located in Tokat province, and it is situated on routes that connect Iran to Central Anatolia, the Aegean Region, Istanbul, and many other areas. Its strategic position as a crossroads has made it historically significant - the Royal Road from Persepolis passed through Niksar, and the Black Sea Spice Routes also went through it on their way to the Black Sea. Furthermore, Niksar owes its importance to the Kelkit River, which originates in Anatolia and flows into the Black Sea.

During the Danismend Dynasty, Niksar was the capital city. The word "Danishmend" is of Persian origin and means "wise man." The Danishmenids invited scholars and learned individuals to their new territories, and as a result, Niksar became a cultural and intellectual hub. The town's history is a testament to how Anatolia has accumulated numerous layers throughout the ages.

Niksar, The Capital of Damishmend Dynasty

One of Niksar's most remarkable cultural heritage sites is the Yağbasan Madrasa. Constructed in 1157-1158, Yağbasan is the first madrasa in Anatolia. Thanks to the Danishmendid, the madrasa institution was introduced to Anatolia, making significant contributions to education and science within the Muslim community.

Davis Kayseri, a renowned Islamic scholar and the founder of the Ottoman Medrese system, received his education at the Yağbasan Madrasa in Niksar for 12 years. It was there that he completed his first philosophical text work. During the reign of Orhan Bey, Kayseri established the Ottoman Medrese System. The building features an atrium and two iwans without porticoes.

The Yagbasan madrasa was significant for medical education, as it enabled Anatolia to reach the most advanced level of medical science during its time. It was also the first step towards the eventual developments that would make Anatolia the most crucial center for medicinal purposes under Ottoman rule.

Niksar Castle, built in the Roman era, has undergone many changes in ownership due to its fragile nature. When it was under the control of the Danishmendid, for example, they repaired the castle and added a palace, baths, fountains, mosques, Mausoleum, and Yağbasan Madrasa to the inventory of cultural structures within the castle.

In 2018, Niksar was added to UNESCO's Tentative List as the "Early Period of Anatolian Turkish Heritage: Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend Dynasty."