Zeynel Bey Social Complex


A large social complex has been recovered during the 2004-2005 campaign around the Zeynel Bey Tomb, which is considered as the symbol of Hasankeyf. The monuments called “Zeynel Bey Social Complex” consists of 3 madrasahs, 1 imaret (soup kitchen), 1 sacred tomb and 1 hammam on the banks of the Tigris River, which were all built at various times .

Zeynel Bey Külliyesi
Zeynel Bey Social Complex


The madrasah, the earliest unit of the complex, has been unearthed and provided information about the entire building including its plan and architectural structure . Limestone was used as material while pöhrenk (narrow-rimmed terracotta jugs) was preferred for vaults covering the porch and other sections as in other buildings at Hasankeyf. The entrance to the madrasah that is a almost-square in plan with interior dimensions of 22.50 x 22.00 m extends in the north-east direction. The door designed like an iwan measures 4.80 x 2.20 m in dimension, with a door opening of 1.00 m in depth . The inscription of the building was found in three pieces among the debris in front of the iwan entrance. On this inscription, it reads: “The construction of this building was ordered by Emir Ali Bey.” . The courtyard of the madrasah, the southern corners of which are not at right angles, is enclosed by vaulted porticos leaning against a total of 12 pillars. With a dimension of 1.25 x 1.35 m, the corner pillars are thicker than others (1.10 x l.15 m). The superstructure and upper parts of pillars have been completely destroyed. Behind the porticos which seem to have pointed arches based on the traces and remnants, there are student cells where each opens into a courtyard through a door and a window. Although there are five cells between the north and west corners, only four cells were placed in the east because of the iwan entrance . In the south wing, there is a large masjid-classroom, which also includes the porch span, flanked by two lodge rooms. Some of the cells and each lodge room have a hearth. The cells have two small niches on the walls to provide space for shoes behind the door¬ways. The courtyard of the madrasah and the floor of the portico were furnished with regular stones ; while the indoor floors were covered with a thick mortar cas. The in situ remains on the Qibla wall of the Masjid and the parts uncovered from the debris suggest that the front parts were decorated with geometric and floral compositions as well as texts in various characters made of cas mortar. It is interesting that these decorations were used as a filling material within the mortar for walls during subsequent repairs or renewals.


Soup Kitchen (İmaret)

The building described as a soup kitchen (imaret) considering its plan, which was attached to the southeastern wall of the madrasah has a square plan of 16.00 x 16.00 m in size . It was probably built along with the tomb during the Akkoyunlu Period since glazed bricks left from the tomb were used on the southern wall. The body walls bonded with lower quality stones compared to the ones used in the madrasah were plastered inside with a thick layer of cas. The pointed arches resting on the wall pillars by four thick pillars in an ‘L-shaped’ design in the mid-structure have been destroyed along with the superstructure down to the stirrups. It appears from the architectural remains uncovered that the soup kitchen had a plan with four-iwans; the rooms at the middle and corners were covered with a dome and the iwans with a vault
. The soup kitchen was accessed from a door piercing the northern wall. However, the door was bricked up in a later period. It was flanked by panels with an unknown function in the form of reliefs made of cas and lime mortar while some parts have remained below the present floor. In front, there is a set-up suggesting the presence of a hearth . It seems that non-qualified walls were erected between some pillars using the floor unearthed in the upper level to build new rooms. A small sounding on the so called bench interiorly leaning against the northern wall revealed the underlying original floor. Both floors have a smooth ground made of cas mortar. The soup kitchen has windows on three sides and deep and high niches leaning against the adjacent madrasah wall on the west. A prayer niche made of stone in a semicircular plan was uncovered at the upper level of second floor in the mid-southern wall . It was employed probably as a masjid during the second construction period.
Fragments of inscriptions made of cas were unearthed among large fragments of cas mortar at the ruins of the arches extending in the north-south direction in front of the western wall of the soup kitchen. It indicates that the building underwent some repairwork, and inscriptions and decorations from the earlier period were used in the mortar during the repair. Discovery of large-size profiles belonging to the arches again made of cas provided information on both decorations of the building and size of the arches.


Menzil Hanı
Menzil Hanı

To the north of the madrasah lies a caravanserai extending in the east-west direction and covering a wide area. The building, which seems to have been built during two different periods based on its plan and architecture, is accessed through two gates from east and west. When the material and masonry techniques are considered, it appears that the section stretching along the madrasah and collapsed after an extension at the northwestern corner of the madrasah was constructed together with the madrasah. The caravanserai, destroyed by an earthquake in the north and west wings, should have been re-shaped in a “range complex” model during the Ottoman Period . In the classical plan, each caravanserai room enclosing the courtyard has an entrance door, a window looking out into the courtyard and a fireplace niche. The rooms added during the Ottoman Period are larger than the others while the rooms on the southern wing of the caravanserai have been completely cancelled during the field expansion. In the section built together with the madrasah, traces of some sections and setups which point out a number of different functions were found. Furthermore, layers of fire destruction were identified in most of the rooms. Since the caravanserai, like madrasah and imaret, was used for dwelling in later periods, remnants of units such as tandoor, cellar and hammam attached for daily needs were also uncovered.


II. Artuklu Medresesi
Artuqid Madrasah II

A second madrasah was uncovered on the eastern wing of the Zeynel Bey Social Complex during the 2005 campaign. After removal of the debris, it became clear that it was an L-shaped madrasah with an iwan-like monumental entrance, a second iwan flanking both sides of the courtyard and two classrooms in different sizes, and a western wing including 6 cells . The excavations in the area lying to the north of the madrasah, which was considered to be the corridor of the bazaar (arasta) belonging to the Ottoman range complex before the excavations, yielded buildings attached to the madrasah in a later period (non-original). The overall dimension of this section including a few different buildings is 22.70 x 8.40 m. The room B is important since it provides abundant evidence about the roofing system of the madrasah. The entire northern section yielded intact or broken fragments of pöhrenk (narrow-rimmed terracotta jug). The material indicates that it was used to lessen the burden of vaults making up the roofing system. The room D is an iwan opening into the courtyard. On both sides, there are stone-paved benches with a water system (selsebil) in the middle. Across the iwan, a large pool of 8.75 x 8.75 m in size and 1.75 m in depth was uncovered . The water system in the iwan is connected to this pool through the channels. With an entrance of 3.59 m in width, the iwan has a depth of 3.45 m in the north-south direction, and a door opening of 1.25 m. The entrance which is ascended by three stairs, and flanked by benches is entirely made of cutstones. At the end of the entrance, an iwan extending behind the door threshold and flanked with benches on both sides, a large ramp-road with a stone-paved floor extends toward the tomb in the north-south direction. .


Osmanlı Medresesi
Ottoman Madrasah

Eight buildings were uncovered to the east of the complex. This group of structures measuring 9.35 x 30.98 m in dimension is believed to have formed the eastern cells of the third madrasah attached to the complex during the Ottoman Period. In the south wing, there are architectural remains built with a meticulous craftsmanship and qualified material . However, an entire plan of the area is not available since these buildings have been destroyed to a great extent by bulldozer in order to build a touristic resort by an operator. A second wall made of mud mortar overlaying another wall made of cas extending in the north-south direction to the north of the iwan suggests that these buildings have undergone renewals with different functions in different time periods.
A tandoor (oven used for baking) was identified in buildings N and S lying to the south of the iwan. While traces of walls have already completely disappeared in the southern wing of the east trenches, a stone-paved building (building K) accessed through a ramp was uncovered in the northern section.
The sections called “Southeastern” and “Eastern” represent original remains of an L-shaped Artuqid madrasah. Originally forming a whole in its integrated way, but being demolished on the southeastern corner, the madrasah has a very large courtyard measuring 41.00 x 24.77 m in dimension . The entire excavation field yielded substantial amount of potsherds. A majority of these sherds belong to potteries produced for daily use using the underglaze technique. The sherds have been preserved in the excavation house for recording and analysis. Abundant number of pôhrenk fragments have been uncovered in buildings B and C.


Zeynel Bey Külliyesi Mezar Odası
Burial Chamber of Zeynel Bey Complex

The Zeynel Bey Tomb was built by Uzun Hasan, the ruler of Akkoyunlu Dynasty, for his son Zeynel Bey. The tomb has an externally cylindirical and internally octagonal plan designed in the form of a two-storey vault. It has ma’kili inscriptions on which the body is adorned with faience mosaics of turquoise and dark blue glazed bricks as well as decorative examples with floral and geometric compositions and epigraphs. Most of the decorative examples on the body adorned with stone pavement has been already removed. The burial chamber (crypt) of the Zeynel Bey Tomb was destroyed by illegal excavations in March 2007 . Although conducting a scientific excavation was avoided in the tomb due to static concerns, a decision was made to excavate and investigate the crypt under these circumstances. The excavations yielded a burial chamber of 2.85 x 1.45 m in dimension and 1.90 m in depth. The chamber consisted of a body enclosed by four rows of cutstones on a compacted earth ground and a smooth vault covered with a pointed arch on the northern section of the tomb. Only a 0.10 m section of the vault survived while other parts have been destroyed. The entire building was properly plastered with cas. It is considered that the burial chamber is contemporary with the tomb . The skeleton has been completely destructed during the illict diggings (it was found out that it was also digged in 1968, exposing the bones), and a few remains from the bones have been transferred to the storeroom of the excavation house for anthropological analysis. The excavations were terminated on 30.07.2007 by re-closing the burial chamber.


Artuklu Hamamı
Artuqid Hammam

An Artuqid hammam with a traditional plan was uncovered beneath the remains known as the “Ottoman Hammam” or “Masjid” on the banks of the Tigris River . The floor was reached at a depth of -2.50m during the sounding on the southeastern corner, revealing that regular cut stones were used in the original building. The changing room which replaced the hammam demolished due to flood of the Tigris River during the Ottoman Period is followed by the underground remains of the tepidarium and hot room towards the west. The furnace and water tank sections which were completely built using bricks lie to the north of the building. The private (halvet) cells with brickwork on the corners and stone supports on three sides to allow circulation of the heat were modified to a higher level during the Ottoman Period . To the north of the furnace is a water tank section built of stones on the lower part and bricks on the upper part. Private rooms made of symmetrical polygonal regular cut stones were uncovered on the southern side. There are fragments of glass bells and water pipes in this section. It appears that the square pillars on the floor of the private rooms were placed opposite to each other to allow circulation of the hot air. The plan and architectural features of the Artuqid Hammam represents a unique example uncovered in Hasankeyf among others.