Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stamped Love

You wouldn't think stamps would have anything to do with love. Well, you'd be wrong.

Judging by the looks of the stamp on the left you probably would be lost even further. I mean what does an old stamp with what appears to be drawing of an even older building could possibly have anything to do with love. A lot. :)

As I usually do when listing this stamp I was researching it's significance. Why would they post a drawing of a building? I started my search with the information at the bottom that states it is the 750th anniversary of this buildings, well building. It says "Kayseri Sifahiyesi" on the stamp. Well that didn't get me far. So I searched for Sifahiye (old Turkish word for hospital, can be called hostel) in Kayseri (a city in Central Anatolia) and came up with only one Sifahiye, which was called Gevher Nesibe (I guess they have more than one name for this building). There weren't any major hostels in the area to suspect. And closer look of the Gevher Nesibe Sifahiyesi showed that it actually is the same building on the stamps image.

OK so who or what is Gevher Nesibe. Honestly I didn't know. So next step was to learn that. And it turns out:

The hostel was built in memory of Princess Gevher Nesibe the daughter of Kilij Arslan II and sister of Kaykhusraw I (both are Selcuk Emperors).

According to legend, Gevher Nesibe fell in love with a cavalry officer defending the palace of the Seljuk sultan at Konya. Her brother Kaykhusraw I opposed a marriage between his sister and an officer and sent the young man on a variety of dangerous assignments and campaigns, during the last of which he died. Overcome with grief at her lover's death, Gevher Nesibe Sultan fell ill with tuberculosis. The remorseful Kaykhusraw visited her on her deathbed, asked her forgiveness and offered to fulfill any last wish she had. Gevher Nesibe Sultan is reported to have replied: "I am very ill. There is no way for me to recover. None of these doctors can deliver me from my illness. I will eventually pass away. My wish is that you use my property to build a hospital in my honor. In this hospital, sick people should be treated with no charge and at the same time, incurable illnesses researched." Historical record shows that Kaykhusraw carried out his sister's last wish, beginning the hospital in Kayseri in 1204. The buildings were designed and built by an architect named Üstad Ömer.

The complex consists of a hospital and a school (medrese). The hospital was built between 1204 and 1206, and the medrese, whose construction started immediately after Gevher Nesibe's death in 1206, was finished in 1210. The stamp shows an airial view of the complex.

So you see the tragic love story caused the building of a hospital which ended up on a stamp 750 years later after not just that empire fell, but another rose and fell to be followed by a second rise of a country. So the story endures. And about 54 years after the printing of this stamp, I get to learn about Gevher Nesibe and her love for the brave soldier and her broken heart to share in my blog.

I guess love endures.

Happy Valentine's Day,


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