Yakutiye Medrese

front view Yakutiye Medrese, Erzurum

Polina Ivanova

Yakutiye Medrese is located in central Erzurum, about 500 metres away from Çifte Minare Medrese and the Three Tombs complex. According to the surviving Arabic inscription, it was built in 710/1310 by Hoca Yakut of Gazan, emir of Erzurum and Bayburt under Ilkhanid Khan Oljeitu. A mausoleum adjacent to the medrese was built to house the grave of the patron but Hoca Yakut apparently died outside of Erzurum and it remained unused.

Like Çifte Minare Medrese it is a two-storey building with a central court, though covered with a roof rather than open. It is significantly smaller than Çifte Minare Medrese, its inner court measuring 18.6 x 13 m. The entrance portal opens into a small entrance hall measuring 4 x 4.75 m topped with a barrel vault. To the right and left of this hall, there are two identical smaller rooms; the southern one has stairs which lead to a balcony right above the entrance, overlooking the central courtyard. The central courtyard is framed by rows of arches and topped with a cross-vault resting on four pillars. The surface of this vault is decorated with muqarnas. In the middle, a small ‘eye’ serves for illumination. The central courtyard connects to the main iwan to the east, as well as two side iwans to the south and north. The space between the iwans is occupied by rooms of varying sizes accessible through small doors, which have lintels decorated with rosettes or other relief designs.

The western portal is the most elaborately decorated element of the building. The entrance is framed by a low stone arch placed within a pointed niche. The upper section of the niche is decorated with muqarnas and a blind arch surmounts it. The lintel placed over the door bears the following inscription:

امر بعمارة هذ المدفن في ايام دولة

اولجايتو سلطان خلد الله ملكه من فواضل انعام السلطان غزان

وبلغان خاتون انار الله برهانهما جمال الدين

خواجه ياقوت الغازاني في سنة ستة عشر و سبعمايه

The building of this tomb was ordered in the year 710 during the days of the rule of Sultan Oljeitu – may God perpetuate his kingdom – from the grace of the benefaction of Sultan Ghazan and Bolughan Khatun – may God illuminate their proof – by Jamal al-Din Khodja Yaqut al-Ghazani.

(Recorded in Konyalı (1960), adjustments and translation by Polina Ivanova)

Another inscription, which only partially survives, occupies the space between the blind arch above the niche and the bands of carved stone around it. These rows of stone blocks form four rectangular bands dominating the front side of the portal and each displays a different kind of design: rosettes, muqarnas, as well as a variety of geometric and floral motifs. On the two sides of the portal one finds rectangular panels with geometric designs. Underneath them arched niches show the tree of life (?) surmounted by an eagle and flanked by two lions. It is not clear whether the eagles originally were double-headed or not. Aptullah Kuran suggests that unlike eagles represented on other Seljuk or Ilkhanid period medreses, these were originally single-headed.

On the northern and southern ends of the western wall there are two symmetrical round towers, one topped with a minaret, another with a conical roof. It is possible that the building was originally designed to have two minarets, however it is apparent that the second (northern) minaret was never built: there are no traces of it upon the round tower, and the northern tower does not have an internal staircase leading up to a minaret, while the southern one does. The minaret is made of brick and decorated with brick bands forming the shape of tulips filled with turquoise and purple glazed tiles.

On the eastern side a mausoleum is attached to the building, just as in Çifte Minare Medrese and many other medrese complexes in Anatolia. The türbe,  is a two-storey building, octagonal on the exterior and square on the interior, with the upper part serving as a masjid and the lower as a crypt. The masjid has a simple mihrab and two windows, one looking outside and the other inside the courtyard of the medrese.

Another inscription is found in the southern iwan/masjid. It is interesting to note that this is a rare example of a waqfiya-like statement being inscribed on the wall of a building that forms part of the foundation.

(right wall)

ذكر الله اعلى و بالتقديم  اولى امر بعمرة هذه البقعة الشريفة في ايام دولة

السلطان الاعظم اولجايتو سلطان خلد الله ملكه من فواضل انعام السلطان السعيد

غزان و بلغان  خاتون الخرسانية انار الله برهانهما و طاب ثراهما


المولى المعظم جمال الدولة والدين خواجة ياقوت عز نصره و وقف على مصلحتها

جميع القرى والعقار فمنها قرية هرتنف و قرية كينغ فانك بولايه پاسين و قرية

سكناريج و تراريج بقصبة ارزن الروم وجمية الخان الكبير و الحوانيت و الحمامين

والمبقلة المصبنة

(left wall)

و الحانين المربط الجمال والطاحونة الوحدة بمدينة المذكورة و جميع القرى

الكاينة بقصبة بايبرت وهى حارت و كرزو قپوز و ارمنا و حزافراك  و جوانس

و مراكس و جميع الحمامين المعروفين بانشاء الواقف المذكور ايضاً لاياع ولايورث  و لايرهن و لا يستبدل


بل يجرى على منوالة والى تصارف امعينة والشروط المزبورة في الوقفية

السجلة بسجل القضاة المحكومة بها ابتغاءً لوجه الله ان الله لا يضيع اجر من احسن

عملاً فرحم الله من اقرر و رتب و دعا لواقفه و من سعى فى ابطا(له) و المصرف بغير شرط

فعليه لعنه  الله و الملائكة المقربين والمرسلين  والناس   اجمع الى يوم الدين

The invocation of God is paramount and must come first. The construction of this eminent place was ordered in the days of the rule of Sultan Oljeitu – may God perpetuate his kingdom – by the grace of the benefaction of Sultan Said Ghazan and Bolughan Khatun of Khorasan –  may God illuminate their proof and make them rest in peace. The great master Jamal al-Dawla wa’l-Din Hodja Yaqut – may God invigorate his helpers – endowed lawfully and perpetually  the properties and all of the following villages for the foundation and maintenance of this site: Hertenf and Kingfank villages in the province of Pasin, Sungenarij and Terarij villages in the vicinity of Erzen al-Rum, a great caravanserai, shops, two hammams, vegetable fields and a soap workshop, two khans for tying camels and a mill again in the town of Erzen al-Rum, villages called Hart, Kirzo, Kopuz, Ermina, Hinzaferek, Jivans, Meraks in the vicinity of Bayburt as well as two hammams known to have been built by the aforementioned endower. These properties cannot be sold, bestowed to others as inheritance, pawned or altered. However, specific expenses are permissible in accordance to the stipulations of the waqfiya recorded in the notarial register. May God be merciful to those who obey the stipulations of the waqifiya and pray for the endower. May those who try to abrogate the endowment or use it in a way contrary to the stipulated conditions be cursed till the end of days by God’s angels, prophets and all people. 



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  • Blessing, P. Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rum, 1240-1330 (Farnham, Surrey & Burlington, VT, 2014), 123-165.
  • Konyalı, İ.H. Abideleri ve Kitabeleri ile Erzurum Tarihi (Istanbul, 1960), 302-335.
  • Kuran, A. Anadolu Medreseleri, vol. 1 (Ankara, 1969), 124-127.
  • Tuncer, O. C. Anadolu Kümbetleri: I Selçuklu Dönemi (Ankara, 1986), 183-187.
  • Ünal, R.H. Erzurum Yakutiye Medresesi (Ankara, 1992).