Seljuk Sultan Izzeddin Keykavus (1211-1220) founded this hospital in Sivas in 1217. At forty-eight by sixty-eight meters, it is the largest Seljuk hospital. Keykavus also included a tomb chamber for himself, where he was buried after his death in 1220. According to the original Arabic deed, the hospital was a center of internal medicine, surgery, and mental health. It was built with a small medical school which is no longer extant.
The hospital is a three iwan stone building centered around a courtyard with arcade on three sides. It is entered through a west facing pishtak with muqarnas. The façade is decorated with interlocking geometric carvings and two badly damaged lion figures above the entry arch. An inscription, written in Sülüs script above the entryway, gives the name of the donor and the date of completion. The portal opens into a high narrow entrance hall flanked by two rooms on each side. Through the entrance hall a muqarnas vault opens onto the courtyard.
The courtyard is rectangular, with the largest iwan dominating the eastern end, opposite the entrance hall. A vaulted arcade with brick piers paneled in stone envelops the courtyard to the north, south, and west. The eastern iwan is decorated with a band of geometric carving on its grand arch, above which are stone heads representing the sun and moon. Behind the arcades of the side wings are chambers equipped with fireplaces on either side of small central iwans. The southern iwan leads into the 10-sided mausoleum of Keykavus, while the northern one opens into what was once the medical school.
Sultan Keykavus's tomb is one of the few Seljuk sultan tombs that has survived. It is a square chamber topped by a decagonal base supporting a ten-sided conical vault. The ten-sided form is reserved for the sultans; it is seen elsewhere only in the Tomb of Kiliç Arslan in Konya. Its decagonal base, which rises above the hospital walls, is decorated with geometric Kufic inscriptions in glazed blue tiles that are inscribed in brick niches. The vault is a wooden replica of the original. The rich red brick and glazed tile decoration of the tomb façade and interior stands out against the stone decoration of the hospital, and is the first of its kind in Anatolia. Two tile inscriptions on the tomb façade give the name of Ahmad of Marand, a craftsman from Azerbaijan, who brought with him the influence of the Great Seljuks of Iran. A tile inscriptive plaque above the tomb entrance gives its date of completion as 617 A.H. (1219/1220).
The hospital was later used as a madrasa, hence it is also known as the Sifaiye (Hospital) Madrasa. It is currently being renovated to host the Sivas Seljuk Research Center and the Museum of Educational History.
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