Orhan Gazi (1326-1362) is known to be the founder of the first “medrese” (theological college) in the Ottoman Empire.
He established “medreses” in İznik, Bursa, Akçaova, Sapanca and İzmit to which the most renowned scholars or “müderris” of the period were appointed. This led to the creation of other education centers in the Ottoman Period.
The conquest of İznik in 1331 was followed by the opening of the first medrese and the mosque in the city. Davudu Kayseri was appointed to the position of “müderris” at the aforementioned institution in 1333. This was followed by the Süleyman Paşa Medresesi, which was built before 1357 and still survives in its original state and by the Hayrettin Paşa Medresesi the portico columns of which can be seen on the north of the Green Mosque in Bursa.
The İznik Foundation aims at restoring the site to its former importance as a cultural centre by the establishment of a university in İznik.