Stork love hospital and Ottomans intense love. The aesthetics, public life and culture of the Ottoman Empire, which ended in the last century, fascinate today’s people as well.
Today the whole world is full of atrocities. The victims of this atrocity are not only humans, but also animals. Many individuals and organisations are currently working around the world on animal rights. Animal rights activists are building a movement to stop cruelty to animals and for rights. But it is surprising to think that hundreds of years ago, when people did not know what animal rights were, when there were no animal rights organisations or activists, the people of the Ottoman Empire developed a genuine heartfelt relationship with animals.
At that time, the common people used to arrange regular food for the stray cats and dogs on the streets. If there were any hungry dogs or cats around, he would not be able to sleep without eating them. Not only the common people, the Ottoman government was also very generous in this regard. State-run shelters for dogs and wolves, hospitals for injured birds, etc. were set up. Even on the walls of palaces it was made compulsory to build nests for birds. So, let’s go through this writing at that time.
Shelter for dogs and wolves
The Ottoman government built shelters for dogs and wolves in the mountains. Dogs and cats were regularly fed on the streets. Many organisations were formed for this purpose. In 1544, a man named Lutfi Pasha built a fountain, a pond and a well in the Tiri district of Izmir province to provide water for pedestrians, explorers and their pets.
In 1556, Ramajanuglu Piri Pasha, the governor of Adana province, donated a pasture for cattle. It was written in the order of a charity called Haji Saeed Mustafa Foundation that Neri dogs should be fed good quality bread worth 30 silver coins every day.
The Cat Mosque, also known as the Cadillac Mosque, was built in Damascus, Syria, for street stray cats. Kadi in Turkish means cat. Hundreds of cats were fed there every day besides praying.
In those days every Turkish house had a small garden. The owner of the garden would not say anything while the birds were eating the fruit of that garden. Cats were reared in every home. Some people used to keep it as a hobby, some to avoid rat infestation at home. There was no end to the children’s joy in cats.
Many people kept hundreds of cats on their own initiative. Especially those who did not have children. The Istanbul National Library, located in the Beyazid district of Istanbul, was called the Cat Library. Ismail Saib Sange, the manager of the library, looked after hundreds of stray cats.
This love for cats is still maintained by the Turks. As you walk through the city of Istanbul, you will see countless cats roaming the city. Ordinary people do no harm to them. Small houses have been built by the city corporation.
The palace of birds
The most interesting and aesthetic aspect of Ottoman love for birds is the bird palace. These were basically palaces, mosques and replicas of different buildings built on the walls of different buildings, the main purpose of which was to make it so that birds could live there.
Replicas of such palaces and mosques became an integral part of Ottoman architecture. What would happen if these palaces were small, their design was very complicated. Building bird nests on the walls of some installations was mandatory by the state.
The nests of these birds could be seen on the walls of palaces, mosques, libraries, schools, madrasas, hospitals, bridges, etc. At that time there was no large Ottoman city without these small palace-shaped bird nests. These palaces protected the birds’ habitat and protected them from storms and rains.
The palaces were inhabited by birds of different species like sparrows and pigeons. Unfortunately, only a few of the palaces survive today. This bird castle has not only provided a safe haven for birds; Became part of the aesthetics. It also reflected religious philosophy.
Stork Bird Hospital
In the nineteenth century, the hospital ‘Gurbahan-i-Laklakan’ was established in the Osman Gazi municipal area in the Bursa province of Ottoman Turkey for the treatment of injured storks. It was the first veterinary hospital in Turkey and the first specialized bird hospital in the world. Although the hospital was originally set up to treat injured storks, all types of birds were treated here.
The hospital was later closed due to fighting and riots. That building still survives and the hospital was reopened a few days ago. Gurbahan-i-Laklakan was named after a book by the popular Turkish poet Ahmet Hasim.
There are also many more examples of love for birds. In 1306, Mursalin Ibrahim Aga of Izmir Province donated 100 kurush (Turkish currency) a year to the Odemis Yeni Mosque to raise storks in the courtyard. In 1806, the Kanderlujed Mehmet Bay Foundation donated an entire garden house for pigeon rearing.
The stories of history try to tell us that the days left by man were not so bad. If we can hold this love story of man and animal within ourselves, then our most beautiful days will await us in the near future.