Oldest Hospitals in the World

Hospitals, the places where people heal from illnesses, have been around for longer than we anticipated. Hospitals have been a part of our history for many years and have helped sick people feel better. They have been a beacon of hope during many wars and pandemics. Today, we cannot think of or feel safe without hospitals’ extensive and expert medical care. 

Most of the mentioned hospitals are centuries old yet ahead of their time. Let’s take a trip back in time to learn about the 10 oldest hospitals in the world. 

10. Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova

Founded: 1288 AD
Location: Florence, Italy
Notable Fact: Introduced a systematic approach to medical education and training.

Hospital of Santa Maria NuovaPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Founded in 1288 AD in Florence, Italy, the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova pioneered a systematic medical education and training approach. By focusing on educating medical professionals, it sets the stage for the future of medical practice and knowledge dissemination.

Did you know?

Folco Portinari, the father of Dante’s beloved Beatrice, established the hospital, showcasing strong family dedication at its roots.

9. Maristan of Al-Mansur Qalawun

Founded: 1284 AD
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Notable Fact: Introduced specialized wards for different medical conditions.

Maristan of Al-Mansur QalawunPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Established in 1284 AD in Cairo, Egypt, the Maristan of Al-Mansur Qalawun introduced specialized wards for different medical conditions. This approach demonstrates an early understanding of the importance of tailored care and treatment plans.

Did you know?

The Maristan of Al-Mansur Qalawun, also known as the Bimaristan, wasn’t just a hospital—it was a comprehensive medical oasis. Patients received medical treatment and essential amenities like shelter, food, clothing, and even medicines.

8. Bimaristan Arghun

Founded: 1184 AD
Location: Tabriz, Iran
Notable Fact: Featured innovative architectural designs to promote healing and well-being.

Bimaristan ArghunPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Emerging in 1184 AD in Tabriz, Iran, the Bimaristan Arghun showcases innovative architectural designs to promote healing. This forward-thinking approach to healthcare architecture underscores the importance of creating patient healing environments.

Did you know?

Bimaristan Arghun was founded by the Ilkhanid ruler Arghun Khan in the 13th century in Tabriz, which is located in present-day Iran. The hospital was established as a charitable institution dedicated to providing medical care to the public, regardless of their social or economic status.

7. Baghdad Hospital

Founded: 754 AD
Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Notable Fact: Known for its impressive medical library and contributions to medical knowledge.

Baghdad HospitalPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Founded in 754 AD in Baghdad, Iraq, the Baghdad Hospital was a medical knowledge hub. With an extensive medical library and contributions to medical literature, it was a center of learning and innovation. This institution highlights the significance of preserving and advancing medical knowledge.

Did you know?

The Baghdad Hospital was established by Caliph Al-Muqtadir and named after his father, Caliph Al-Mu’tadid.

6. Hotel-Dieu de Paris

Founded: 651 AD
Location: Paris, France
Notable Fact: One of the oldest hospitals still in operation, providing medical care for over a thousand years.

Hotel-Dieu de ParisPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Originating in 651 AD, the Hotel-Dieu de Paris is a testament to healthcare longevity. Hotel-Dieu de Paris was founded by Saint Landry, Bishop of Paris, making it one of the oldest hospitals in Paris and Europe.

Operating for over a thousand years, this hospital has been a beacon of care and healing. Its enduring presence underscores the enduring need for medical institutions in societies.

Did you know?

The hospital’s name, “Hotel-Dieu,” translates to “Hostel of God,” reflecting its origins as a charitable institution focused on providing care for the sick and poor.

5. Al-Qayrawan Hospital

Founded: 830 AD
Location: Kairouan, Tunisia
Notable Fact: Renowned for its innovative medical treatments and public health measures.

Al-Qayrawan HospitalPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Al-Qayrawan Hospital is considered one of the oldest continuously operating hospitals in the world.  Established in 830 AD in Kairouan, Tunisia, the Al-Qayrawan Hospital is celebrated for its groundbreaking medical practices. It pioneered innovative treatments and prioritized public health measures, shaping the foundation of modern medical care. Its legacy underscores the importance of constant innovation in healthcare.

Did you know?

Al-Qayrawan Hospital was established in the 9th century (between 830 and 877 AD) by the Fatimid Caliphate.

4. Byzantine Hospital of Constantinople

Founded: 4th century AD
Location: Constantinople, Turkey
Notable Fact: Known for its advanced medical practices and separate wards for different illnesses.

Byzantine Hospital of ConstantinoplePhoto Source: Hektoen

Flourishing in the 4th century AD in Constantinople, Turkey, the Byzantine Hospital remains a symbol of medical advancement. Known for its segmented wards catering to various illnesses, it comprehensively understands healthcare needs. This institution embodies the Byzantine Empire’s commitment to fostering health and healing.

Did you know?

3. Valetudinarium of Roman Legion of Aeliae Capitolinae

Founded: 2nd century AD
Location: Amman, Jordan
Notable Fact: A military hospital serving Roman soldiers stationed in the city.

Valetudinarium of Roman Legion of Aeliae CapitolinaePhoto Source: Wikipedia

Serving the Roman soldiers stationed in Amman, Jordan, during the 2nd century AD, the Valetudinarium of the Roman Legion of Aeliae Capitolinae exemplifies the significance of medical care in ancient military operations. This hospital provided crucial healthcare services to wounded soldiers, underscoring the importance of well-being even during conflict.

Did you know?

The existence of the Valetudinarium was discovered through archaeological excavations in the late 20th century. The remains of the hospital building were unearthed, providing insights into its layout and function.

2. Hospital of Mawangdui

Founded: 168 BC
Location: Changsha, China
Notable Fact: It was discovered in 1973 with a medical guidebook and well-organized medical instruments.

Hospital of MawangduiPhoto Source: Wikipedia

Dating back to 168 BC, the Hospital of Mawangdui in Changsha, China offers us a glimpse into the medical practices of ancient times. Discovered in 1973, this remarkable institution provides insight into that era’s medical knowledge and techniques. Its well-preserved medical instruments and a medical guidebook shed light on the advanced healthcare systems of the past.

Did you know?

The medical manuscripts have illustrations and descriptions of acupuncture points and techniques. These illustrations provide valuable historical evidence of acupuncture practices in ancient China and how they were understood at the time.

1. Mihintale Hospital

Founded: Around 4th century BC
Location: Mihintale, Sri Lanka
Notable Fact: One of the earliest documented hospitals in the world, serving both humans and animals.

Mihintale HospitalPhoto Source: Attractions in Sri Lanka

Founded around the 4th century BC in Mihintale, Sri Lanka, the Mihintale Hospital is one of the earliest documented hospitals in the world. This ancient healing center catered to humans and animals, reflecting a holistic approach to healthcare. It served as a place of refuge for those seeking solace and recovery.

Did you know?

Mihintale is a sacred site in Buddhism, as it is believed to be where King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka embraced Buddhism after meeting the missionary monk Mahinda. The hospital’s proximity to this spiritual site highlights the importance of holistic well-being in ancient societies.

Final Thought

These medical pioneering institutions have been crucial in healing and caring for people throughout history. From the groundbreaking Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, established in 1288 AD in Florence, Italy, to the ancient Mihintale Hospital in Sri Lanka, dating back to around the 4th century BC, these institutions have shaped the course of medical practice. Their innovative approaches, specialized treatments, and dedication to well-being continue to inspire us today.

Modern medicine has been crafted for centuries, which is why it can cure most diseases that killed people maturly before. The 10 oldest hospitals in the world can be considered an evolutionary journey of humans in medical science. Most of these hospitals were ahead of its time.

So, cheers to modern medicine and the forthcoming innovations in the field!

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