A History of Healthcare in Istanbul

DOI :10.26650/AB/AA8.2022.125   
AuthorNuran Yıldırım

When I think about my interest in the history of health in Istanbul, I realize that it was triggered by the Dünden Bugüne Istanbul Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul Encyclopedia from Past to Present, Istanbul 1993-95), to which 1 was asked to contribute articles related to Istanbul's health history. That was when 1 noticed for the first time that health services and institutions occupied a significant place in the city’s long history, all the way back to Byzantine times. The first Christian hospitals were established here. Most of the health-related issues first received attention in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman State. Health organizations were formed there. Five of the eight darüşşifas opened by the Ottoman Sultans and members of the Dynasty were in this city. The first military hospitals where the wounded were treated during the wars began to operate in the capital as well. The French, Austrian, German, Italian, British, Russian, Iranian, Bulgarian, and American Hospitals left important marks on the city. Spreading in Europe and Asia, cholera epidemics struck Istanbul as well, claiming thousands of lives. Seemingly endless health cordons made public transportation impossible and devastated city life. On the other hand, medical education started in Istanbul. After graduating from the capital schools, physicians were dispatched across the country. In short, it is possible to look at the history of Istanbul, which counts as one of the most important cities in the world, through the lens of the health issue. Moreover, such work had not been conducted yet; therefore, I started collecting sources related to the issue. I classified and filed the documents obtained from the Ottoman Archives. When Istanbul University became involved in the Istanbul 201 O European Capital of Culture projects, I decided to write this book using these documents. I would like to express my gratitude to the Rector of Istanbul University Mr. Yunus Söyler for granting me such an opportunity.

SubjectsHistory & Philosophy of Science


PublisherIstanbul University Press
Publish Date15.05.2010
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