Al-Bimaristan al-Arghoni, located in Bab Quinnisreen quarter, was built in 1354 by Prince Arghon al-Kamili who represented the Mamluk sultanate in Aleppo. It is considered one of the most important traditional hospitals built in the 14th century in the Islamic world. The hospital was used as Aleppo's main health care institution with the Mamluk sultanate providing it with complete funding for medicine, instruments and research. The hospital has a complex programmatic plan, intricate architectural elements and ornamentation. The building has distinct and separate wings to accommodate the different programs of the hospital. The main parts are the main entrance, the outpatient examination area, inpatient rooms, service area (kitchen, storage, service entrances and main bathrooms).
The main entrance is situated on the west side of the building; it is marked with large double wooden doors covered with copper plates. These doors lead into a hallway hat opens onto a large room. This room functions as a filter to the other parts of the hospital; it also contains the pharmacy and storage for the medical supplies. on the right to this room there are two waiting rooms and the outpatient examining rooms. There is also barred windows in the hall that are open to the courtyard. These windows serve as a mediator between the visitors and the patients to assure the safe distance between the sick and the healthy.
The main courtyard is a large rectangular open space with a big fountain and a well. The courtyard is wrapped with peristyle that opens to the different functions. The southern side of the courtyard opens to the large iwan with vegetation ornaments; this is mirrored on the northern side by a smaller iwan with a similar facade and a small hallway that leads to the larger examining/ operating rooms. The eastern and western sides open to individual rooms for patients use.
In main entrance hallway also leads to three more independent wings that are more secluded, far from the noise on the street. Each has its own smaller courtyard, individual rooms and iwan. The degree of privacy and security differs depending on the patients cases. One wing can be securely locked for isolation of the contagious diseases, while another is highly secured through barred windows and limited access for the mentally ill. The main courtyard is the most open one used for the mild non-contagious cases.
The main bathrooms at the end of the hallway are shared between the three wings. The kitchen and service area are connected to this end of the hallway too and open to the street through the service entrance on the southern part of the bimaristan. This allows easy access to the medical and food storage.
This understanding of the complex relationships of the different elements in the hospital is what made al-bimaristan al-Arghoni one of the most important hospitals of its time.
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