Kasımiye Medrese

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Portal of Kasımiye Medrese
Elephant clock in Kasımiye Medrese

Coordinates: 37°18′29″N 40°43′12″E / 37.30806°N 40.72000°E / 37.30806; 40.72000 Kasımiye is a former medrese in Mardin, Turkey. Medreses were traditional seminaries, Islamic schools prior to Republican era; in 1924 all medreses in Turkey were closed down in order to secularise education.


The medrese is in the urban fabric of Mardin, located southwest of city centre,[1] the altitude of Kasımiye is about 975 metres (3,199 ft).


The first patron of the medrese was İsa Bey of Artuklu an Anatolian beylik, but he was killed in a battle against the Karakoyunlu in 1407, before the building was fully constructed. The construction was resumed after the city fell to Akkoyunlu Turkmens. Kasım, a member of Akkoyunlu dynasty, commissioned the medrese and it was opened in 1469.[2]

The building[edit]

The main building is rectangular, the entrance through an ornamented portal is from the south. In the courtyard there is a pool, the water source is a funnel in the wall that represents birth. The water from the pool drains through a narrow slit that represents death and sırat (in Islamic belief a narrow bridge on hell which leads to paradise) , the classrooms surround the pool. The classroom doors are kept deliberately low to ensure students would bow reverently before their teachers as they entered.

Elephant clock[edit]

On the north of the iwan there is the reproduction of an elephant clock designed by Cezeri,[3] a Muslim engineer who lived in the early period of the Artuklu Beylik.