Trakya University Complex of Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum

Enver Şengül

head of the museum

Trakya University

Health Care Complex of Sultan Bayazid II Yeniimaret, Edirne, Turkey

Living Museum

Trakya University Health Care Complex of Sultan Bayezid II opened to the public in 1997 is the project aiming to bring the important details in the history of medicine to the present.
This museum is located in Edirne, the European border of Turkey. Edirne having been the cradle of the important cultures due to its geographical location is an historical settlement. Having lived under the sovereignty of Traks, Roma and Byzantium during many years, Edirne became an Ottoman city after 1961 and the capital city of the Emperorship during the years of 1365-1453. Although the capital moved to Istanbul, Edirne had always maintained its importance as a second capital of the Ottoman.
The historical works of Ottoman having been famous for their architectural value, take place in Edirne. The most important one among them is The Selimiye Mosque, built by Architect Sinan and known as the top work in the domed structure tradition, also is in Edirne. The 8th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Bayezid II. constructed an excellent complex in Edirne. The most important feature of this complex was its hospital where extremely interesting treatments have been applied at that time.
There were social, cultural and religious units that completed the services of the hospital in the complex directly and indirectly. These structures consisted of Medical Medresseh, mosque, guesthouse, public bath, mill, bridge, musical school, bakery and dining hall. The architect of these unique buildings was Hayrettin. Its multi domed architecture and graphical feature still attract the attention of today's architects.
This complex having serviced until 1916, lost its importance and later was closed due to the wars during the period and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Trakya University being a regional university, dealt with these buildings which were in a desperate situation due to negligence for 80 years. Firstly, our university completed the restoration of the hospital and medical school sections.
Trakya University having a training hospital with 1000 beds and Faculty of Medicine has showed that it attaches great importance to education and the history of medicine by its approach. At first, these restorated buildings were used as the application area of the departments of the archeology, history of art and restoration, and in 1997 they were converted into a museum with the consent of Turkish Ministry of Culture.
The Health Care Museum takes place in the hospital section of the complex called ls"Daruuml;şşifa'. The importance of this hospital is great in the history of medicine. Although this place has been known as the psychiatry hospital, in fact it was multifunctional hospital in its early years.
The mentally ill were also treated in this multifunctional hospital which had 1 head doctor, 2 doctors, 2 surgeons and 2 ophthalmologists. Treating people with advanced and humanistic methods in that era is considered an important mark in the history of medicine. This is especially so, when compared with other parts of the world including parts of Europe, where the mentally ill diagnosed to have Satan in them and were tortured to get it out or even burnt. The main aim of the treatment in this hospital is based on spiritual relief.

Its architecture has the feature of giving relief to the people.
Besides the medical knowledge of the period; music, water sound and beautiful odors were used during the treatment period. As such kind of treatments had positive effects on patients, this hospital became a center where only the mentally ill were treated after the 16th century. The hospital consisted of three sections. In the first section, there are polyclinic rooms and service rooms, and in the second section there are the rooms of administrative and doctors. Lastly, the third section where resident patients were treated consisted of 6 rooms for winter and 4 rooms for summer. The bed capacity of this section was 32. The hospital had an orchestra consisting of 10 people. These musicians took their places on the music stage built by Architect Hayrettin on some days of the week and played various makams of Turkish music.

Each makam of Turkish music was used for different illness.
For instance, Irak makam calmed down people, Isfahan makam helped to remember the memories, Rehavi makam cured headache, Zirefgent makam was good for backache and lumbago. Buuml;zuuml;rk makam removed suspicions and fear. Rast makam caused to cease fervent illnesses and hemiplegia, and Uşşak makam calmed down heart and healed stomach.
Not only music but also water sound was also important in treatment. The sound of the water springing up from the pool in the middle reached to the patient rooms by echoing in this building with excellent acoustics. This method helped the patient to get rid of their fears and depressing thoughts with the sound of music and water, and relieved them. Various odors of the flowers growth in its garden were also used in the treatment, and the patients were made deal with handcrafts. This service served in the hospital without any pause for 400 years was carried out by the aid institution called ls"Vakif'. Thus, both treatment and medicine were free of charge.
All these expenses were covered by the villages, fields and the rents of shops in Edirne Bazaar which were donated by the Ottoman Sultans to the Complex. The rich people also donated a great amount of money here. The aim of this museum is to keep this hospital, having an important place in the history of medicine however not being known too much, alive and make it known by everybody and keep contact with today's medicine.

A different design was used in the museum.
In this museum it is aimed to make the visitors coming to the museum perceive the old times of these cultural heritage. Not the objects but the life itself has been displayed here. Thus, it is called as ls"Living Museum'. The visitors coming to the museum can see the places where patients were treated, hear the sound coming from the water springing from the pool and listen to the music played in that old times throughout the day. They can even understand the equivalent feelings of these treatments used centuries ago in their worlds of spirit.
The number of the visitors, extremely impressed by its magnificent structure, is getting increase day by day. Getting the Council of Europe Museum Prize for the year 2004 has great contributions to the museum's advertising. When the museum was founded in the year of 1997, only 2400 people visited there. However, 95.000 people visited in 2004. It is being expected that the number of the visitors is going to exceed 130.000 in 2005. This museum has undertaken the mission of bridge between the Cultures of Western and Eastern Europe. To fulfill this mission with success, Trakya University aims to convert all the sections of the Complex into a museum by completing the restoration of them.


Browse by year

Browse by category

Browse by country

View all