Enderun School

The Enderun School (Ottoman Turkish: اندرون مکتب‎, romanized: Enderûn Mektebi) was a palace school and boarding school mostly for the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, which primarily recruited students via devşirme,[1] a system of the Islamization of Christian children for serving the Ottoman government in bureaucratic, managerial, and Janissary military positions.[2] Over the centuries, the Enderun School was fairly successful in creating Ottoman statesmen by drawing among the empire's various ethnic groups and giving them a common Muslim education. The school was run by the "Inner Service" (Enderûn) of the Ottoman palace and had both academic and military purposes.[3] The graduates were expected to devote themselves to government service and be free of links to lower social groups.[4]

The neoclassical Enderun Library
Enderûn Library in Topkapi Palace

The Enderun School's gifted education program has been called the world's first institutionalized education for the gifted.[5][6][7]


The growth of Ottoman Empire is attributed and was dependent on the selection and education of statesmen. A vital component of Mehmet II's goal to revive the Roman Empire was to establish a special school to select the best youngsters within the empire and to mold them for government. Mehmet II improved the existing palace school founded by his father, Murat II and established the Enderun Academy (Enderun) in Istanbul.[8]

Enderun pyramid


The third courtyard of the Topkapı Palace was surrounded by the Imperial Treasury, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle, and the buildings of the Palace School, which educated the top tier of students from Enderun as well as princes of the House of Osman. There were seven halls or grades within the Palace School, and within each hall there were 12 teachers responsible for the students' mental and academic development. Students wore special uniforms designated by their achievement level,[9] and Miller indicated that additional buildings included the library, mosque, music conservatories, dormitories, and baths.[10]


The Enderun system consisted of three preparatory schools located outside of the palace in addition to the one within the palace walls itself. According to Miller,[11] there were 1,000-2,000 students in three Enderun Colleges, and about 300 students in the top school in the Palace. The curriculum was divided into five main divisions:[12][13][14]

  • Islamic sciences; including Arabic, Turkish and Persian language education
  • Positive sciences; mathematics, geography
  • History, law, and administration: the customs of the Palace and government issues
  • Vocational studies, including art and music education
  • Physical training, including weaponry

At the end of the Enderun school system, the graduates would be able to speak, read, and write at least three languages, able to understand the latest developments in science, have at least a craft or art, and excel in army command as well as in close combat skills.


The graduation ceremony for students leaving the Enderun School was known as çıkma.[15] The graduates themselves were referred as çıkma.[16][17] The word çıkma literary means "who has exited". The pages were leaving Palace School and palace service to continue their training in the functional service.[18] This "transferral" occurred every two to seven years, or after the accession of new sultan to the throne.[19]

The successful graduates were assigned according to their abilities into two mainstream positions: governmental or science,[20] and those who failed to advance were assigned to military.[citation needed] One of the most distinctive properties of the school was its merit system consisting of carefully graded rewards and corresponding punishments.[21]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Farhad Malekian; Kerstin Nordlöf (17 January 2012). The Sovereignty of Children in Law. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 249–. ISBN 978-1-4438-3673-9.
  2. ^ Kemal H Karpat "Social Change and Politics in Turkey: A Structural-Historical Analysis" page 204
  3. ^ https://tamu.academia.edu/SencerCorlu/Papers/471488/The_Ottoman_Palace_School_Enderun_and_the_Man_with_Multiple_Talents_Matrakci_Nasuh
  4. ^ Kemal H Karpat "Social Change and Politics in Turkey: A Structural-Historical Analysis" page 204
  5. ^ Senel, H. G. (1998). Special education in Turkey. European Journal of Special Needs Education 13, 254–261.
  6. ^ Cakin, N. (2005). Bilim ve sanat merkezine zihinsel alandan devam eden ogrencilerin akranlari ile okul basarilari acisindan karsilastirilmasi. Unpublished masters thesis, Afyon Kocatepe Universitesi, Afyon, Turkey.
  7. ^ Melekoglu, M. A., Cakiroglu, O. & Malmgren, K. W. (2009). Special education in Turkey. International Journal of Inclusive Education 13(3), 287–298. ERIC EJ857857
  8. ^ Corlu, M. S., Burlbaw, L.M., Capraro, R. M., Han, S., & Corlu, M. A. (2010). The Ottoman palace school and the man with multiple talents, Matrakçı Nasuh. Journal of the Korea Society of Mathematical Education Series D: Research in Mathematical Education, 14(1), p. 19-31.
  9. ^ Deri, M. (2009). Osmanlı Devletini cihan devleti yapan kurum: Enderun Mektebi. Populer Tarih. Retrieved from http://www.populertarih.com/osmanli-devletini-cihan-devleti-yapan-kurum-enderun-mektebi/ Archived 2011-08-24 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Miller, B. (1973). The palace school of Muhammad the Conqueror (Reprint ed.). NY: Arno Press.
  11. ^ Miller, B. (1973). The palace school of Muhammad the Conqueror (Reprint ed.). NY: Arno Press.
  12. ^ Ipsirli, M. (1995). Enderun. In Diyanet Islam ansiklopedisi (Vol. XI, pp. 185–187). Istanbul, Turkey: Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi.
  13. ^ Akkutay, U. (1984). Enderun mektebi. Ankara, Turkey: Gazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Fak. Yay.
  14. ^ Basgoz, I. & Wilson, H. E. (1989). The educational tradition of the Ottoman Empire and the development of the Turkish educational system of the republican era. Turkish Review 3(16), 15.
  15. ^ Murphey, Rhoads (20 October 2011). Exploring Ottoman Sovereignty: Tradition, Image and Practice in the Ottoman Imperial Household, 1400-1800. A&C Black. p. 345. ISBN 978-1-4411-0251-5. ...exiting from the palace service (çıkma)...
  16. ^ ́goston, Ga ́bor A; Masters, Bruce Alan (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Infobase Publishing. p. 452. ISBN 978-1-4381-1025-7.
  17. ^ Türk dünyası kültür atlası: The Seljuk period. Türk Kültürüne Hizmet Vakfı, Turkish Cultural Service Foundation. p. 207. After a set period of training and instruction, most of the graduates (Çıkma) were assigned to mil- itary units; the very ...
  18. ^ Woodhead, Christine (15 December 2011). The Ottoman World. Routledge. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-136-49894-7.
  19. ^ Jefferson, John (17 August 2012). The Holy Wars of King Wladislas and Sultan Murad: The Ottoman-Christian Conflict from 1438-1444. BRILL. p. 84. ISBN 90-04-21904-8. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Armagan, A. (2006). Osmanlı’da ustün yetenekliler fabrikası: Enderun Mektebi. Yeni Dünya Dergisi 10, 32.
  21. ^ Akkutay, U. (1984). Enderun mektebi. Ankara, Turkey: Gazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Fak. Yay.

External linksEdit