Florence Nightingale was an English nurse and writer who lived in the 19th century. During the Crimean War (1853-1856) between Russia on one side and England, France and Ottoman Empire on the other side, she traveled from England to Istanbul with some other nurses in October 1854 to organize a nursing unit to care for the wounded soldiers from the battle front.
When she arrived at Istanbul, there were already a couple of thousand wounded soldiers who were placed in the Selimiye army barracks at Uskudar (ancient Scudari) district on the Asian side. Within weeks, the numbers rose to 10,000 wounded Turkish, French and British soldiers. She saw the overcrowding of the wards, corridors and even the towers. She believed that the bad sanitary arrangements and the overcrowding were responsive for the extremely high mortality rate, thousands of wounded soldiers died here because of infections.
During her two years of hard work at Selimiye barracks, Florence Nightingale organized a new type of war hospital and death rates were sharply reduced by making improvements in hygiene. She layed the foundations of modern nursing which she wrote its principles in her book in 1859: "Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not". She was also known as "The Lady with the lamp", because every night she used to visit the injured soldiers with a lamp in her hand, and the wounded men looked forward to her nightly visits as she made her way through the corridors, lighting her way with this candle lamp.
After the Crimean War, the Selimiye barracks were converted back into an army barracks, the purpose it was built for. Today, it's an impressive building built in 1800's which can easily be seen from the European shore of Istanbul, situated at the entrance of the Bosphorus strait on the Anatolian side. The room in the northwest tower of the barracks has been turned into a museum and dedicated to Florence Nightingale, with a small exhibition of her personal belongings and photographs.