Çifte Minareli Medrese (Double Minaret Madrasa) in Sivas was built in 1271 by Ilkhanid Vizier Semseddin Cuveyni (Shams al-din Juwayni). Local nobles constrcuted two other madrasas, Bürüciye Medresesi and Gökmedrese, during same year in Sivas, altering the cityscape through the erection of large public complexes.
Today all that remains of the madrasa is its front façade. Dominating the facade is a monumental portal in limestone and marble topped by the twin polychrome brick minarets that give the madrasa its name. The original plan consisted of a rectangular complex centered on a two story courtyard with four iwans.
The monumental portal is one of the most elaborate and unique to survive from the Seljuk era. It is centered on a large portal that provides the base for its two brick minarets. The portal takes the form of a shallow iwan covered with a muqarnas hood. Framing the hood is a field in the shape of a pointed arch filled with vegetal ornament carved in stone. The pointed arch is surmounted by a sculptural design. This entire assemblage is framed in turn by a rectangular pishtaq decorated with a series of concentric bands of geometric ornament. The outer band is composed of muqarnas. The brick minarets rise directly from the upper corners of this rectangular pishtaq and are decorated with blue glazed tiles on the shafts. Muqarnas corbels form the base of balconies two thirds of the way up the minaret, from which turrets with conical roofs rise.
The facade surrounding the portal is curiously asymmetrical. Elaborate windows with muqarnas hoods flank the portal on both sides, but the carved decoration that frames them differs. Furthermore, the roof of the right (north) side of the facade is slanted, falling to a point about half the height of the south facade. Large corner buttresses in the form of three-quarter towers mark the ends of the facade. The buttress on the north side rises only to the height of the sloped roof, so about half the height of its southern partner.
The area behind the facade has been excavated. These excavations have revealed the foundations of a hospice to the left of the madrasa, mirrored on the right by another building, which may have been a bath.
Akurgal, Ekrem, and Léo Hilber. The Art and architecture of Turkey, 92. New York: Rizzoli, 1980.
Aslanapa, Oktay. Turkish art and architecture, 133-134. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971.