Gardens of the Mosque of Bayezid Han (MEGT)
Istanbul, Türkiye
Evliya Çelebi describes the garden as follows:
In the large outer court of the mosque of Bayezid Han . . . to the right, inside a heavenly vineyard, is a sanatorium. It is a structure of stone/brick, right in the middle of the mentioned vineyard, reaching high up towards the skies and as if it was the sunlit skylight of a hamam, its top is open. At this opening, on six thin marble columns, there is a little dome like a keyaniyan crown, yet it is very humble. A skillful mason has placed a flag, covered with the purest gold leaf, resting on a sort of an iron spindle atop a little opening in the dome. Whichever direction the wind blows, the standard turns in that direction, displaying itself for all to see. The lower large dome is hexagonal. This dokuz-gök dome has eight arches. Under each arch lies one winter chamber. In each room there are two windows. One of the windows overlooks the garden with roses, hyacinths, and many trees, which lies just outside the room. The other window overlooks the fountain and şadırvan of the ten-by-ten large pool at the center of the large dome. In front of these eight winter chambers are once more eight summer chambers underneath one large dome. They are surrounded on three sides by latticed rough marble. All four sides of the large pool under the large dome is of polished rough white marble, giving the impression of a chameleon embroidery. From the taps of the fountains on four sides of the pool, clear water rushes into the pool and finally finds its way to the canals under the open sky. In the sanatorium that consists of beautiful structures such as these, the mentioned chambers house the wealthy and poor, young and old who have caught various illnesses. In some rooms, according to the nature of the sick, in winter days fires are lit and the patients moan on feather beds, under seraser duvets and silken pillows. In Edirne, during the love struck season of spring, lovers who have fallen into the intoxicating sea of love are collected by order of the hakim, and brought to this asylum. Necklaces of gold an silver chains are tied to their necks and they lie on their beds, growling like lions. Some look onto the fountain of the pool and speak nonsense. Some listen to the nightingales which live in the rose gardens with vines and basil growing all over, around the dome, and hearing the lovesick songs of the bird, the crazy lovers shout their own laments, off-key and immoderate. In the springtime, flowers such as hyacinth, musk-of-Rumi, tulip, violet, basil, jasmine, syringa, redbud, daffodil, lily, narcissus, wallflower, peony, carnation, and similar are given to the patients and, with their sweet perfume, they recover. When these flowers are given to the crazy patients, some eat them, some throw them on the floor. Those with some intelligence smell them. Some look out the windows to the fruit trees and the many fruits and say Ah ha ha hil hop pih poha pih poh and observe the greenery. Especially in the spring, when the crazy folk break their chains, all the beautiful ladies of Edirne come in hoards to the asylum to watch their madmen, at which the whole area becomes a place of healing. Yet this worthless Evliya, upon seeing these beauties, gave up all hope on recovery, became as a madman and upon crying endlessly and desperately, and decided to join into the asylum act. Madmen of such deep love do have lovers who are beautiful maidens and indeed, some madmen, after looking at smiling pretty faces, are restored to sanity. According to doctors in the past, pretty faces, flowing water, beautiful voices, words and melodies relieve oneself and free himself of any sorrow plaguing him. Moreover, the pious Bayezid Han, in order for the sick to be cured, grievous to be relieved and madmen to be sane and rid of their love, had appointed from ten hanende and sazende, three like Gulam Sadi, one ney-player, one violinist, one musikari, one santuri, one cengi and santuri, and one ud-player. These ten hanende and sazende masters would come thrice a week and play concerts for the patients and madmen.

Source: Travel Account, 17th century

-Nurhan Atasoy, Seyit Ali Kahraman


Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Topkapı Sarayı Bağdat 304 Yazmasının transkripsiyonu (Open in Zotero)

Originally published at: Atasoy, Nurhan, and Seyit Ali Kahraman “Gardens of the Mosque of Bayezid Han.” Middle East Gardens Traditions. Dumbarton Oaks, December 1, 2014. Archived at:

Istanbul, Türkiye
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Date of entry of information: August 2007
Dates of attested life: 16th century- 19th century
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Gardens of the Mosque of Bayezid Han
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