II Bayezid Külliyesi is a mosque complex located on the outskirts of the modern city of Edirne. It sits alongside an area of shallows on the Tunca River, on the bank opposite the historic city center, from which it is accessed by a viaduct over the river basin. The complex contains a mosque, hospital (darüşşifa), soup kitchen (imaret), hospice (tabhane), asylum (tımarhane), medical school (tipmedrese), bakeries (halvahane), and storage spaces. The complex thus served the needs of the greater community by providing state of the art medical facilities and lodging and food for travelers. According to its endowment deed, it also had baths, waterwheels, a mill, and a market, as well as doctors, cooks, and custodians to staff the grounds.1 It is named after its patron, the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512/886-918 AH).
The complex is laid out on a plot that is roughly rectangular in form, backing up to the riverbank on its southeast side and being bounded by roads on its southwestern and northwestern sides. The main entrance is from the road on the northwestern side. Here, an entrance gate in the enclosure wall leads onto a large open-air park-like courtyard. At the opposite end of the court (toward the river) is the mosque, the complex's largest and most imposing building. Flanking the mosque on the southeast side are the hospital, asylum and medical school. The northeast side is occupied by the soup kitchen, bakery, and storage rooms.
The mosque itself consists of a large rectangular forecourt giving onto a square domed prayer hall. The forecourt is entered through a monumental portal on its northwest side. The ground is paved and has a fountain once covered by an octagonal pavilion stands at the center. A revak (Ar: riwaq, or arcade) surrounds the court. The pointed arches of the revak are enhanced with alternating red and white masonry and sit on handsome marble columns. These delineate bays surmounted by small domes. The mosque's prayer hall is entered through a door at the back of the central bay of the revak on the southeast side of the courtyard. The interior of the prayer hall is one large bay that supports a monumental dome measuring approximately twenty meters in diameter. The original decorations of the prayer hall were stripped and redone in the nineteenth century. Flanking the prayer hall are two smaller square buildings consisting of a central court flanked by four iwans from which four corner rooms open.
The hospital and asylum form one continuous structure bordering the southwestern side of the complex's central, park-like court. The structure is rectangular on its north side, arranged around two courtyards from which open small private cells. On the first courtyard, which is larger, an arcade gives onto the rooms opposite the entrance from the open court. The second, smaller courtyard has two iwans and four corner rooms opening onto the iwans. Directly to the southwest of this second, inner courtyard is a hexagonal building with a central domed bay and surrounding rooms. The medical school is situated on the opposite end of the building (its north side). It is a square building with a large open court at the center surrounded by an arcade from which doors lead onto individual cells. A larger domed chamber sits on the southwestern side of the building.
The kitchens and storage units lie on the northeast side of the complex. These consist of two buildings: the first, shaped like an L and consisting of twelve domed bays, housed the bakery and store. The second, rectangular in form with eleven domed bays surrounding a square courtyard, housed the kitchen and refectory.
Kuban, Ottoman Architecture,200.
Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture, 143-146. London: Thames and Hudson, 1971.
Kuban, Doğan. Ottoman Architecture. Translated by Adair Mill, 197-200. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd., 2010.
Yüksel, Aydin. Osmanlı Mimârîsinde. II. Bâyezid Yavuz Selim Devri (886-926/1481-1520), 103-127. Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1983.