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.