Friday, July 12, 2013

Madrasa in Berat, Albania

We visited a madrasa in Berat, Albania near a mosque in the Mangalemi area, established during the Ottoman era (that determination based on the Arabic-based Osmanli script in the structure). Other than the fact it was established in Ottoman times, I've not been able to find anything specific on it. 
Madrasa in the Berat Mangalemi area.
A madrasa or medrese is a religious school or college for the study of the Islamic religion. In the Ottoman Empire, when an Ottoman sultan established a new madrasa he invited Islamic scholars in from other areas, such as Persia, to teach and exchange knowledge. Madrasas were usually built near mosques and offered a range of studies, including calligraphic sciences, Arablic language and grammar, Islamic philosophy, theology and ethics and mathematics. They also interacted with the mosque to do things like aid the poor through soup kitchens. 
Unlike a mosque, covered with beautiful carpet, this madrasa has bare floor boards. 
This madrasa also has a mihrab.
This may be the Osmanli script. 
Writing above a doorway.
Colorful wood door.
Another wood door.
Interesting detail around a marble door frame.
The ceiling decorations really stand out. The contrast between this ceiling and the bare floor is striking.
Detail on the wood in the ceiling.
The underside of a colorful balcony.
Detail on the side of the balcony.
Upper side-wall decoration.
Upper side-wall decoration.
In the 1990s after the collapse of communism and the opening back up of religious practice, a number of different madrasas were opened up in Berat, one of the purposes being to produce a new generation of imams in Albania. 

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