Ak Madrasa, whose architect is unknown, was commissioned by Ali Bey under Karamanid rule in south-central Anatolia. It is a double storey building with a flat roof, centered on an open courtyard, and with a symmetrical plan aligned north south, measuring approximately twenty-two meters by twenty-five meters.
The entrance, which is reached by descending twelve steps form the street level, is through the muqarnas pishtaq on the north façade. The building's name, which means White Madrasa, refers to this white marble pishtaq. A vaulted passageway leads into the courtyard through the portico. The courtyard has a well at its center and measures about eight and a half by nine and a half meters. It is framed by the main iwan on the south and wrapped by a double-story portico on the other three sides.
The main iwan, which projects slightly outside on the south façade, is approximately six and a half by seven and a half meters in size and is raised half a meter from the courtyard. It has a central mihrab niche with muqarnas, flanked by two windows on both sides, on axis with the pishtaq. The portico, which is approximately two meters wide, leads to twelve rooms on the ground floor. Eight of these rooms are placed symmetrically on the east and west sides of the courtyard. They are lit with openings over the arched doors and with windows on the outer walls. These rooms were used by the students. The remaining four rooms are located at the four corners of the building; the two southern rooms are square and two stories high, with an inner dome below the flat roof. The northern rooms are covered with vaults. Placed between these rooms and the pishtaq are staircase halls with stone staircases leading to the second floor and the roof. There are three student rooms and one iwan on the east and west sides of the courtyard on the upper floor. Two sets of stairs at either end of the portico here also give access to the roof.
Ak Madrasa was built using the local sandstone. All floors, including the courtyard and the portico floors are paved with cut stone. White marble was used in the door arches of the domed rooms near the main iwan, and the columns of the two northern rooms on the second floor.
The decorative scheme consists only of stone carving, concentrated on the pishtaq, the mihrab, the inner surfaces of the portico and some doors. The most adorned element of the building is the pishtaq, with several carved frames with intricate geometric and floral motifs and a unique muqarnas ceiling over the entrance with twenty-one layers of carving.
The building functioned as madrasa between 1922 and 1936. Since the restoration in 1936 (except the interval between 1941 and 1948) the building is being used as Archeological Museum.
Bayrak, M. Orhan. Türkiye Tarihi Yerler Kilavuzu, 506. Istanbul: Inkilap Kitabevi, 1994.