Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili
Aleppo, Syria
Bimaristan al-Arghuni, located in Bab Qinnisrin quarter, was built in 1354 by Arghun al-Kamili who represented the Mamluk sultanate in Aleppo. It is considered one of the most important traditional hospitals built in the Islamic world. The hospital was used as Aleppo's main health care institution with the Mamluk sultanate providing it with complete funding for medicine, instruments and research. 

The hospital has a complex plan, intricate architectural elements, and detailed ornamentation. The building has distinct and separate wings to accommodate the different programs that were offered at the hospital. The main parts are the main entrance, the outpatient examination area, inpatient rooms, and the service area (kitchen, storage, service entrances and main bathrooms). 

The main entrance is situated on the west side of the building. It is marked with large double wooden doors covered with copper plates. These doors lead into a hallway that opens onto a large room. This room functions as a filter to the other parts of the hospital. It also contains the pharmacy and storage for the medical supplies. 

The main courtyard is a large rectangular open space with a big fountain and a well. The courtyard is wrapped with peristyle that opens to the different functions. The southern side of the courtyard opens to the large iwan. This is mirrored on the northern side by a smaller iwan with a similar facade and a small hallway that leads to the larger examining/ operating rooms. The eastern and western sides open to individual rooms.

The main entrance hallway also leads to three more independent wings that are more secluded and far from the noise on the street. Each has its own smaller courtyard, individual rooms and iwan. One wing can be securely locked for isolation of contagious diseases, while another is highly secured through barred windows and limited access for the mentally ill. The main courtyard is the most open one used for the mild non-contagious cases.

The main bathrooms at the end of the hallway are shared between the three wings. The kitchen and service area are connected to this end of the hallway too and open to the street through the service entrance on the southern part of the complex. This allows easy access to the medical and food storage. 

Sources:

Allen, Terry. 2003. "Portal of the Bimaristan Arghun". In Ayyubid Architecture. Occidental, CA: Solipsist Press. http://www.sonic.net/~tallen/palmtree/ayyarch/ch5.htm#alep.bargh [Accessed August 2, 2005]

Al-Homsi, Fayez. Old Aleppo, 143-146. Damascus: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Publishing, 1983.

Ball, Warwick. Syria A Historical and Architectural Guide , 133. New York: Interlink Books, 1994.

Meinecke, Michael. Die Mamlukische Architektur in Ägypten und Syrien (648/1250 bis 923/1517) , I/113, II/220. Glückstadt: Verlag J. J. Augustin, 1992.

Rihawi, Abdul Qader. Arabic Islamic Architecture in Syria, 186. Damascus: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 1979.
Location
Aleppo, Syria
Images & Videos
Documents
Events
1354-1355/755 AH
Style Periods
Mamluk
1250-1517
Variant Names
بيمارستان ارغون الكاملي
Original
Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili
Transliterated
Maristan of Arghun al-Kamili
Translated
Bimaristan al-Kamili
Variant
البيمارستان الارعوني
Alternate
Building Usages
hospital
health care