The Kasimiye Madrasa at the western outskirts of Mardin is attributed to Sultan Kasim, son of Aq Qoyunlu Sultan Mu'izz al-Din Jahangir (1444-1457). It is estimated to have been built late fifteenth century or early sixteenth century.
The madrasa and the small mosque adjoining it to its west are built into a south-facing hillside, overlooking agricultural plains bound by mountains. The tall portal on the southern elevation of the complex opens into a tall barrel-vaulted corridor between the mosque and the madrasa. The corridor terminates in a spiral vaulted junction containing the madrasa portal on its east side. A second corridor leads west from the junction, providing entry into the mosque on axis with the mihrab. There is a large room immediately behind the junction.
The symmetrically planned madrasa is almost square, measuring about forty meters by thirty-five meters on the exterior. It consists of two floors of students' cells on three sides of an open courtyard, with a grand iwan set at the center of the northern side. The vaulted iwan features a fountain on its northern wall, which is connected with a water channel to the large shallow pool in the courtyard. The east and west wings have five barrel-vaulted cells on each floor, accessed from cross-vaulted arcades facing the courtyard. The arcades are continued on the southern wing, giving access to four larger rooms that flank the iwan on both floors. Each student cell has a furnace, shelving niches, and a single iron-grilled window facing the courtyard. The stairs leading to the upper rooms are located at the northern corners of the madrasa.
The southern side of the courtyard is occupied by a single-story arcade of five cross-vaulted bays, with views of the valley seen through its iron-grilled archways. Its central bay is enclosed on the qibla side to create a prayer space with a small mihrab. Two identical tombs with tall ribbed domes occupy the south corners of the madrasa, entered from the east and west arcades. Their interior space, which measures by eight meters by five meters, is extended on either side of the muqarnas dome with vaulted niches. Their mihrabs are flanked by casement windows and topped by an arched window.
The madrasa and the two tombs are largely built of cut white stone, with brick used in the vaults of the arcades and student cells. There are no traces of applied decoration.
The rectangular mosque to the west of the madrasa is fifteen meters wide and twelve meters deep on the interior. Its qibla wall faces the street, forcing the entrance to be moved to a corridor built into the hill to the north. The central domed space of the prayer hall is extended on either side with the use of barrel vaults. An octagonal drum with squinches provides the transition to the dome. There are four rectangular casements on either side of the mihrab and a fifth is located at the center on the west wall. A buttress with a ribbed semi-dome marks the location of the mihrab on the street elevation, topped by three arched windows. The mosque is made entirely of cut stone.
Gabriel, Albert, and Jean Sauvaget.Voyages archéologiques dans la Turquie orientale. Paris: E. de Boccard, 1940.
Sözen, Metin. Anadolu medreseleri; Selçuklu ve beylikler devri., 202-206. Istanbul: Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Mimarlik Tarihi ve Rölöve Kürsüsü, 1970.