Shining History - Medieval Islamic Civilization

Al-Nuri Hospital,Damascus in 1154

Al-Nuri, or Al-Zangi hospital(actual name: Al-Bimaristan Al-Nuri Al-Kabir) was built in 1154 by Nur-al-Din Zangi in Damascus.

Abu al-Fadl al-Harithi (known as al-Muhandis, “the Geometer”) was the architect of this hospital. The hospital had outpatient consulting rooms, a conference room, a prayer hall,vestibules and bathrooms. Besides being a regular hospital, Al-Nuri was also a teaching hospital where renowned physcians taught. The hospital had a vast collection of medical books. Nur-al-Din zangi had appointed Abul Majid al-Bahili as the director of this hospital. Abu al-Majid also gave lectures besides managing the hospital. The Famous Muslim Polymath 'Ala ad-Din Ibn al-Nafis was one the students at its medical school.

According to the great medical historian, Ibn Abi Usaybi‘ah (1203-1270), who had studied from Al-Nuri:

"All patients were first examined in the external hall. Those who were not seriously ill were given medicines and sent home; those with more serious ailments were admitted to the hospital. They were bathed and given new clothes. Their old cloths were sent for storage.After being discharge, they were given new clothes and a certain amount of money. The well known doctor and traveler ‘Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (d.1238), who also taught at Damascus,narrates an amusing story of an intelligent Persian youth who was tempted by the excellent food and service of the Nuri hospital and pretended to be sick. A doctor examined him and at once came to know the real intention of the young man. He admitted him and gave him excellent food for three days, after which he said to him, “Arab hospitality lasts for three days; please go home now.”

According to the famous 12th century traveller Ibn Jubayr, the daily budget of Al-Nuri Hospital was 12 dinars and there was an overseer at the hospital who maintained registers that included patients names and their expenditures.


  1. Tricia said...

    This is not surprising to me at all. I think it would be for most people though. You have a fantastic and broad selection of topics. Very interesting.

  2. Meam Wye said...

    Thank you so much for your appreciation! I agree that for many people this type of information is new, although it is present in the works of some the great historians of todays era.

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