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Nuruosmaniye Complex and Library

Nuruosmaniye Complex and Library
The NuruOsmaniye Library (NuruOsmaniye Kutuphanesi) is located within the NuruOsmaniye Complex in the Eminonu District at the entrance of the Covered Bazaar ( Kapalicarsi ).  Construction of the library began in 1749 during the reign of Sultan Mahmut I (1730-1754) and completed one year after his death by Sultan Osman III (1754-1757).   The famous architect Sinan designed the unique baroque-style complex that has a mosque, madrasah, imaret (soup kitchen for the poor), library, tomb, fountain, sebil (public fountain) and shops.  

The library is composed of two parts; the centre covered
with a dome held up by four pillars and an arcade corridor surrounding it.   The dome is propped up by two half-domes and the arcade is covered with mirrored vaults and has a total of 30 windows supported by plaster.  The library has two doors one of which is a Humayun (Imperial) Gate with the Arabic inscription “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”.  There is a basement and the upper floor has a reading hall and access to the library is from the staircase in the outer courtyard.  

When the library first opened there were a total of 18 personnel which included one Nazir-I Kutub, six Hafiz-I Kutubs, six Mustahfizes, three Bevvabs, one Mucellid-Muzehhib and one Ferras.  The library charter is signed by Sultan Osman III and is at the Topkapi Palace Museum.  The books of Sultan Mahmut I and Sultan Osman III as well as 79 manuscripts of Bayram Paşa along with collections of new works are housed in the library and are organised by the author’s name, title of work and classified using the Dewey Decimal Classification method.

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