The prominent health institutions (Darü'ş-şifas) and their functions in Anatolia from the Turkic conquest through the Ottoman era
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Following the Turkic conquest of Anatolia by the end of the 11th century, some of the health institutes that were built are still extant. Almost nothing is known about their actual functions in the Pre-Ottoman era. However, at least for some of them, we encounter some information in the Ottoman documents. The oldest of these institutes is the Şeyh Eminüddin Bîmârhânesi in Mardin which is said to be founded by Artukids in the first quarter of the 12th century. The second health institute following the bîmârhâne in Mardin is the one founded in Kayseri in the beginning of the 13th century by Selcukids. After them, many others appear to be erected in various cities during the remainder of 13th century. Some pioneer researches dealing with these institutions that were done in the 1940’s with relatively inadequate material support, and the information quoted from these works continues to be referred to, without adding much to the existing knowledge. Herein, the existing information is re-evaluated while the Ottoman documents relating to these institutions are investigated. This study is restricted to the four health institutes, which were the earliest ones chronologically. These are Şeyh Eminüddin Bîmârhânesi in Mardin, Gevher Nesibe Mâristan in Kayseri, Keykavus Darüsıhhası in Sivas and Turan Melek Darü’ş-şifâsı in Divriği. These were the first four health institutions, which were founded in Anatolia after the year 1071. Although the main objective of this study is to investigate the existence and the functions of these health institutes in the Ottoman era, the available information about the pre-Ottoman era is re-evaluated. Owing to the integrity of the subject, the information about the other darü’ş-şifâs (Çankırı, Kastamonu, Tokat, Konya and Amasya) was summarized using the secondary sources.