European and Ottoman Hospital Architecture in the 19th Century

  Fassade eines osmanischen Hospitals aus dem 19. Jh. © Hilal Ersan  

The Development of European Hospital Architecture in the 19th Century and its Reflection on the Architecture of Ottoman Hospitals

There is limited research exploring the relationship between medical knowledge and architectural history. Furthermore, little is known about the impact of the changing political, social and technological situation on hospital architecture in the context of a comparative study between European and Ottoman architecture in the 19th century. This study investigates the link between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, particularly the German Empire, in order to visualize the influence that the spatial development of European hospitals exerts on the Ottoman hospitals. Research about the development of hospital typology up to the present by using spatial analysis will be supported by archival documents providing information about the impact of health politics on architectural history.

Since the 12th century healthcare and cure services in Anatolia were maintained in the ‘Dar al-Shifa’. It appeared with the madrasahs where medical education was given. ‘Dar al-Shifa’ are buildings with a special architectural concept, which are designed for meeting the health needs of the community and for the implementation of the medical profession. After the 17th century, Ottoman medical science began to turn to the West, although until the 19th century it may still be regarded mainly as a continuation of Islamic medicine.

As it is well known, especially after the Crimean War in 1854-1856 there were important problems in healthcare due to extremely high death rates. In this context, the “Pavilion Plan” for hospital design – which originated in France in the 18th century – was popularised in England and in other European countries with the aid of the experiences of Florence Nightingale who worked in the hospital at Scutari in Turkey during the Crimean War. On the other hand, in the 19th century the Ottoman Empire was affected by wars and infectious diseases maybe even more than other countries. As a result, the Ottoman Empire tried to adopt the developments of healthcare at the same time as Europe. It becomes clear from many archive documents that the Ottomans intended to get informed about the development of the European institutes and for this reason even sent study committees to Europe. Furthermore, there are many archival documents from the 19th century written by German physicians about the epidemic diseases and still other documents that ordered e.g. barracks, materials, hospital plans from the German Empire. The project will enclose methods of the newly emerging digital humanities such as advanced techniques of spatial data and multiple correspondence analysis.

The project is co-supervized by 
Prof. Dr. Hatice Nil Sarı, Department of Medical History and Ethics, Biruni University.