Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Period / Middle Ages

Ak Madrasa

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Ak Madrasa

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Turkey, Nigde
Type: Islamic religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Islamic Culture
World Heritage:
Middle AgesIslamic CultureIslamic religious centre

Ak Madrasa, whose architect is unknown, was commissioned by Ali Bey under Karamanid rule in south-central Anatolia. It is a double storey building with a flat roof, centered on an open courtyard, and with a symmetrical plan aligned north south, measuring approximately twenty-two meters by twenty-five meters.
The entrance, which is reached by descending twelve steps form the street level, is through the muqarnas pishtaq on the north facade. The building's name, which means White Madrasa, refers to this white marble pishtaq. A vaulted passageway leads into the courtyard through the portico. The courtyard has a well at its center and measures about eight and a half by nine and a half meters. It is framed by the main iwan on the south and wrapped by a double-story portico on the other three sides.
Ak Madrasa was built using the local sandstone. All floors, including the courtyard and the portico floors are paved with cut stone. White marble was used in the door arches of the domed rooms near the main iwan, and the columns of the two northern rooms on the second floor.
The decorative scheme consists only of stone carving, concentrated on the pishtaq, the mihrab, the inner surfaces of the portico and some doors. The most adorned element of the building is the pishtaq, with several carved frames with intricate geometric and floral motifs and a unique muqarnas ceiling over the entrance with twenty-one layers of carving.
The building functioned as madrasa between 1922 and 1936. Since the restoration in 1936 (except the interval between 1941 and 1948) the building is being used as Archeological Museum.

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