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Descriptions of hospitals    EN


Though medical education was introduced in the Middle Ages, the presence of doctors graduated from the darü’ş-şifas (classical medical schools) in the [ottoman] classical age or from the Tıbbiye (western-oriented school of modern medicine) in the 19th century was a rare occasion in the country and people continued to turn to ‘folk medicine’ up to the 1960’s.

According to the Trabzon Vilayet Salnames (the official yearbooks of the provincial government), there was a doctor employed by the municipality who was placed as a regular member (tabii aza) of the Meclis-i Daire-i Belediye (municipal council). Since the first volume of the salnames (from the year 1869) and a certain Mösyö Lion [1] up to 1888 and including the 13th volume, the municipal (beledi) or country (memleket) doctors were Christians, and then a Necmi Efendi was appointed. Afterwards, [2] the number of doctors in the city rose; the municipal doctor, though still in service, was not as important. A special department was set up for health services, under the title ‘health official’ (memurîn-i sıhhiye) headed by a doctor ‘inspector’(müfettiş) to look after the procedures.

In 1869, there was a quarantine doctor and a vaccination official, and some military doctors too in the Trabzon barracks. Also, the first hospital of the Ottoman era in Trabzon was been a military hospital.

Called ‘Trabzon Military Hospital’ (or ‘Hamidiye Hospital’, after Abdülhamid II), the hospital was opened in 1883 by Hasan Paşa in the Erdoǧdu district with the monetary and physical help of the people. On its inscription it read that the hospital would serve both the soldiers and the paupers (gureba). The hospital was an object of pride, called “exceptional” in the 13th volume of the Salname (the volume published in 1888, after its opening), It was stone built, with a mosque and a bath together with military offices and depots. [3]

According to the correspondence of Emin Hilmi Efendi, general secretary of the city council, there was hard work done and it took years for the hospital to open. Emin Hilmi informs how the governor of the time, Emin Muhlis Paşa, collected donations for the hospital. [4] Emin Hilmi, who published his work in 1876, does not mention the military needs but the needs of the people, especially of those who, coming to the city from the country, were staying in a wretched state in the streets. [5] Emin Muhlis Paşa had been the governor of the province between 1862-1865, while the hospital managed to offer its services in 1883, as mentioned above.

In the salnames, a gureba hastanesi (hospital for the poor) is again mentioned for the first time in 1888. The only piece of information is that its director was a certain Ahmet Efendi, who served in the years 1888-1892. In 1892 a surgeon named Abdüllatif Efendi is mentioned therefore it can be concluded that operations could be undertaken in that hospital. In 1906 we read in the Trabzon Vilayet Gazetesi (Newspaper of the Trabzon Province) that Dr. Eframidi and Dr. İsitaro operated on a patient’s hernia. In 1916 the Trabzon government asked Istanbul for financial help. [6] All this information gives the impression of a seperate hospital for the poor but there is no further information, which is strange. On the other hand, the military hospital is officially mentioned in the salnames as Hamidiye Hastahenesi Cihet-i Askeriyesi (the military department of the Military Hospital) so maybe there were two departments in that single hospital, one serving the army and the other the civilians. If this assumption is correct, then the departments would have functioned separately, which makes sense as the hospital is said to have been serving the poor since the beginning and the civilians wouldn’t blend with the soldiers. [7] In 1888 the director of the department for the poor was Ahmet Efendi, while that of the military department was Captain Mehmed Raif, decorated with Crete and Plevne medals. There were also two military doctors, Major Ali Efendi and Lieutenant İbrahim Zihni Efendi, two surgeons, Salih and Tahir efendis, and two pharmacists, Şems and Anasti efendis. [8]

In 1898, in the 17th volume of the Trabzon salnames, we find for the first time names of pharmacists working in their own stores. [9] These pharmacies and self-employed pharmacists are important, as doctors working privately practised their trade in these stores up to the 1920’s. These doctors and pharmacists were qualified as ‘diploma holders’ in the salnames, suggesting that folk medicine was still not regarded as illegal. In 1904 all the pharmacists (Çırakyan Karabet Efendi, Sürmeliyan Karabet Efendi, Sürmeliyan İstepan Efendi, Bogos Zahiko Efendi, Timote Marango Efendi, Nikola Papadopulo Efendi, Yani Efendi, Yanko Efendi) and the doctors (Malezyan Efendi - retired from the quarantene department, Yorokli Efendi, Minasyan Efendi, Elguyadi Efendi, Madaksa Efendi, İspetaro Efendi, Melityadi Efendi, İlya Haritidi Efendi, Ceynaro Efendi, Eframidi Efendi) in Trabzon were Greeks or Armenians, some born in Trabzon; some had graduated from schools in Europe. [10]

Around 1900, a certain Akritu Efendi founded a private hospital in his name in Boztepe district, the director being Dr. Jozef Yorgiyadi. [11] It is only known that this hospital was very modern. It was burned down in 1970.

Trabzon also boasts of being the second city (behind İstanbul) to have published a medical journal, Hekim. The journal was published by the city’s doctors; 48 issues were released from 14 January 1910 up to 28 December 1911.


[1]Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1286/1869, V. 1, p. 89.

[2] The list of the municipality doctors is found in Usta: 2007, xix-xx.

[3]Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1305/1888, V. 13, p. 184-85.

[4] Also the sultan donated for the Trabzon Hospital, named in the archive document ’fukara hastanesi’ (hospital for the poor), BOA, A.}MKT.MHM.247, 16: 27/Ca/1279 (5 November 1862).

[5] Emin Hilmi: 1293 (1876), p. 72: “… kazalardan gelüp de hasbelkader hasta olanların ve zekak aralarında ve küşe ve bucakta sefil ve zelil kalanların emr-ü tedavi ve muhafazası dahi hastahane-i mezkurca taahhüd olunacağından…”

[6] Usta: 2007, p. xxvi.

[7] The archival document (BOA.DH.MKT. 2851.61: 2/C/1327 (21 June 1909)), in which there are complaints that the military began to use the whole hospital while half of it was allocated for the civilians (gureba) and that the municipality was having a hard time as a result, proves our assumption to be correct.

[8] V. 13, p. 104, 114.

[9]Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1316/1898, V. 17, p. 284.

[10]Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1322/1904, V. 22, p. 280.

[11] The archival document (BOA. BEO. 2560.191981: 21/S/1323 (27 April 1905)) on the construction authorization for a hospital on the building site, half belonging to Panayotaki Afridi, half to the government, may be related to that hospital, as it is quite possible that ‘Akritu’ could read as ‘Afridi’ in Ottoman Turkish.


Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi – Sadaret Mektubi Kalemi Mühimme Evrakı; Dahiliye Nezareti Mektubi Kalemi; Bab-ı Ali Evrak Odası

Çulfaz, Mustafa; Anadolu’nun İlk Tıp Gazetelerinden Hekim, Serander/Trabzon Tabip Odası Y., Trabzon, 2007.

Emin Hilmi; Divan-ı Hilmi ve Münşeat, Trabzon Vilayet Matbaası, 1293 (1876).

Trabzon Vilayeti; Trabzon Vilayet Salnameleri, 1286-1322 (1869-1904), V. 1-22, Kudret Emiroğlu, Trabzon İli ve İlçeleri Eğitim, Kültür ve Sosyal Yardımlaşma Vakfı, Ankara, 1993-2009.

Usta, Veysel; “Tanzimat’tan Cumhuriyet’e Trabzon’da Sağlık”, Anadolu’nun İlk Tıp Gazetelerinden Hekim, Serander/Trabzon Tabip Odası Y., Trabzon, 2007, xix-xxxiv.