Pain and joy, plenty and scarcity are part and parcel of life. The Darülaceze, or Ottoman almshouse, exists to stand beside people in difficult times, times we might call the ‘other side’ of life’s coin. The subject of social assistance, which was of great importance in Anatolian Turkish Islamic culture, expanded in these lands into some very interesting areas, all the way from foundations to help migrant birds to solidarity with those stranded on the road and couples who wanted to marry but lacked the means. And in the late nineteenth century the Ottoman sultan Abdülhamid II crowned this tradition with the Darülaceze, literally House of the Shelterless, going so far as to sell off a portion of his personal property for the construction of the Darülaceze buildings.

But the Darülaceze is far more than a mere shelter. In keeping with the multicultural nature of Turkish society, it is a roof under which people from every walk of life can feel at home and express their beliefs without feeling alienated. A mosque, a synagogue and a church stand together in the same garden here. When people are admitted to the Darülaceze, no one asks them about their religion, their beliefs or their past. And who all has not been a guest of this institution? From men of state, musicians and painters to the merchants and businessmen of the day. And like a mother who cares for a child who has fallen and hurt his leg playing ball, the Darülaceze has shown compassion to all of them. The Darülaceze does not provide only food and a place to sleep. It has always been a true friend to its residents, a friend that spoke to their hearts and minds, that made their eyes smile.

When you enter the grounds of the Darülaceze you encounter a quiet garden. The first thing you see in this tranquil environment are pigeons feeding and cute, cuddly cats cavorting amidst the elderly people sitting on benches. There is a rehabilitation center here as well, which you’ll be amazed to see since it virtually runs like a small factory. Residents of the Darülaceze make socks in the workshops here and sell them. The productive activity the residents engage in for this institution, which although state-run receives no official funds and whose expenses are met entirely through charitable donatitions, is very touching indeed. What’s more, this activity is not confined to the knitting of socks. Looms, experts and special wool have been brought in from Siirt in the east so that residents can, if they wish, take a course in the production of Siirt blankets and prayer rugs. Guests can contribute to the Darülaceze by buying these lovely woven items adorned with local motifs. And the various gift items made of papier maché are the icing on the cake! It is up to us to support from the heart their efforts to cling to life. You can provide that support in numerous ways. For example, by contributing the old newspapers that accumulate around your house, or by making donations on holidays and special days. But perhaps the best support of all would be for children to pay residents a visit and kiss their hands with a smile.

Darülaceze’de 0-6 yaş arası otuz çocuk bulunmakta. Meyveli sütü çok seviyorlar. Bizden söylemesi...
There are thirty children aged six and under at the Darülaceze, and we’ll give you a hint: They love
fruit-flavored milk!

Darülaceze bağış ve yardımlarla yaşayan bir kurum. Hemen her türlü bağışta bulunabileceğiniz Darülaceze’ye biriken gazetelerinizi de atmayıp, gönderebilirsiniz. İletişim için:
Tel: +90 (212) 220 1020  - 
The Darülaceze depends on donations and contributions. You may contribute to the Darülaceze in any way you like, including collecting old newspapers and sending them to the institution.

Kuruluşundan itibaren üç nesil gören Darülaceze, bu sürede toplumun hemen her kesiminden 30.000 çocuk, 70.000 yetişkin olmak üzere yaklaşık 100.000 kişiyi misafir etmiş. Kurumda halen 600 civarında misafir barındırılıyor.
Having spanned 3 centuries in its 112 years, the Darülaceze during this period has been home to close to 100.000 residents - 30.000 orphans and 70.000 adults - from almost every segment of society. The institution currently provides shelter to some 600 people.