Ruins of 12th Century Madrasa Found in Turkey

Photo: Anadolu Agency

Harran, MINA – Archaeologists from Harran University have unearthed the ruins of what may be a 12th-century madrasa (Islamic school) in southeastern Turkey, one of the world’s oldest settlements on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative list.

“During excavations, we found a madrasa, which we determined with archaeological evidence that it belongs to the Zengid era,” said Mehmet Onal, head of the Archeology Department at Harran University as quoted by Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

“Previously, it was known that Harran had five madrasas. This is the first time we have found one of these famous madrasas in Harran,” he added.

Onal said the madrasa structure has five rooms, a partial foyer and an adjoining kitchen with a large stove as well as a brick and clay stove.

“Another specialty of the kitchen is that there are lots of lamb and goat bones in the fireplace and oven. This shows us that food was prepared here and the people here left the city in a hurry, leaving the food on the stove uneaten, as if completely convinced that the Mongols would take over the city,” the archaeologist said.

Harran, the former Assyrian and Umayyad capital located 44 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of the city of Sanliurfa near the Syrian border, was an important Mesopotamian trading center stretching south to Nineveh in modern Iraq, and has been continuously inhabited since 6,000 BC.

Onal said Harran is often mentioned in history books because it is one of the oldest settlements in the world.

Meanwhile, Cihat Koc, a local official in Harran said the history of education in the mota dates back to 3,000 BC, studies were carried out in fields such as astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and theology.

Harran is a place where science and scientific education is pioneering, said Koc, adding: “With our work this year, we have found the first of five major madrasah, five large university campuses”.

“The world’s first university is in Harran. We are seriously working to uncover all the ruins of this university,” he stressed.

The first excavations at Harran began in 1950. The site has been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2000.

Harran was an important ancient city where the trade routes from Iskenderun to Antakya (ancient Antioch) and Kargam were located, according to the UNESCO website. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)