First madrasah structure unearthed in Harran
The remains of a 12th-century madrasah have been unearthed in the Harran ruins, which is one of the oldest settlements in the world and on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the president of Harran University Archeology Department and the head of Harran ruins excavations, Professor Mehmet Önal, said they have carried out excavations for eight years in the ruins located in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Harran district.
Noting that Harran is frequently mentioned in history books because it is one of the oldest settlements in the world, and the unknowns of the district are being uncovered, Önal stated that they found important remains such as a street, a monumental gate and a madrasah during the excavations this year.
Önal reminded that they got the first archaeological data in the ruins of the Ulu Mosque and Çarşı Bath in Harran, where more than 300 scientists such as Battani and Sabit Bin Kurre, who were significant names of the period, were living.
Stating that they unearthed the university structure for the first time in this year’s works, Önal said: “During the excavations, we unearthed a madrasah, belonging to the Zengid period. It was previously known that Harran had five madrasahs. We found one of these known madrasahs of Harran for the first time.”
“We identified 24 rooms on the ground. At the moment, we have completely unearthed the monumental door of the madrasah and five rooms, and the portico partially. There is also a kitchen right next to those rooms, with large stoves and tandoori. We understood that this kitchen served many people,” he said.
“Another feature of the kitchen is the bones of sheep and goats in the stoves and tandooris. The food was prepared here but the people left the city desperately, leaving the food on the stove without having time to eat it because they were convinced that the Mongols would seize the city. The monumental gate and part of the portico were revealed. Excavations continue. This structure measures about 80 meters wide,” he added.
World’s first university in Harran
Harran Governor Cihat Koç said that their slogan is “Harran’s future is hidden in its past.”
Stating that the history of scientific education in Harran dates back to 3,000 B.C., Koç said studies were carried out there in many fields such as astronomy, mathematics, philosophy and theology.
Stating that Harran is a place that pioneered the world in science and scientific education, Koç said, “This year we unearthed the first of the five big madrasahs, namely five big university campuses.”
Explaining that they will present the statements, written by travelers in historical texts, to the guests who will come to Harran as reality, Koç said: “The place was not such a small place, we are talking about a place where 300 scientists were being trained at the same time. A large university complex with thousands of students. Of course, there are many schools mentioned in history, there are many places where education was given. It is not possible to say that this is the first university in the world, but this is a reality for Harran. The world’s first university is in Harran. We are seriously working on uncovering all the ruins of this university.”