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[Silk road]


REMARKABLE STRUCTURES      


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There were three factors facilitating trade during Seljuk Period; the roads, caravans and caravansaries. The caravans were used to stay overnight in the caravansaries on the trade roads and they would set their ways again supplying their requirements. The caravans sometimes sold their goods on the caravansaries they stayed for overnight.

The caravansaries, first appeared in Middle East during Karahans and Great Seljuk Empire reigns, date back to the smaller structures called "Ribat". The Ribat used to be constructed for military purposes.

The walls of the caravansaries are similar to thick defensive walls (rampart) for the security purposes. The best samples of Seljuk stonework are seen in entrances called “Crown Gate". The structures are decorated with dragon, lion and flower motives. The doors are as robust as citadel gates.

The caravansaries, built at the end of each one-day walking distance, continue from Antalya- Konya- Aksaray- Kayseri direction to the Turkistan going through Erzurum- Tabriz; from Black Sea costs to Iraq passing through Amasya- Tokat- Sivas- Malatya- Diyarbakir.


Sarihan (Saruhan)


The caravansary locates in Damsa valley on Avanos- Urgup highway at 5 km distance to Avanos district on the south east and at km distance to Urgup on the north side. Sarihan which is a Seljukian structure, is assumed to have been constructed in 1238 during the reign of Izzettin Keykavus II or personally by himself. Being a classical Sultan caravansary, the structure comprises summer residence with square courtyard and rectangular roofed winter residence.

The construction materials used for Saruhan are smooth sheared stones in yellow, reddish pink and light brown colours. Then, the structure has a decorative view.

The caravansary whose upper sections collapsed here and there was restored in 1991 and regained its original situation.


Agzikara Caravansary


The caravansary locates on Aksaray- Nevsehir highway at 17 kilometer distance to Aksaray. It is one of the most important caravansaries in Anatolia. The structure constructed during Seljuk period, also called Hoca Mesut Caravansary, was constructed in 1231- 1236 time period according to the inscriptions on crown doors of the open and closed residence sections. Its monumental crown door has a splendid view with its mihrab and façade decorated with the geometrical motives. The structure reveals all beauties of stone decoration art in Seljukian period. The main walls of the open and closed resident areas of the caravansary were supported with thick supporting materials and corner towers. The structure looks like a citadel due to these towers.


Sultan Caravansary


Sultan Han, locating in Sultanhani district on Aksaray- Konya highway at 52 kilometer distance to Aksaray, was constructed by Seljukian Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad I in year 1229. The building covering 4900 square meter area together with its open and roofed sections is the largest caravansary constructed in Anatolia during reign of Seljukians.

Marble crown door extending forward is 13 meters long, the structure looks like a citadel with is walls supported with the towers outside. The geometrical decoration of the crown door and masjid are best samples of Seljukian stonework decoration art. The masjid stands on four thick columns and a pointed arch in the middle of the courtyard. There locates sunlit dome in the centre of the middle area which is wider and higher compared to the other sites.


Zazadin Han


Zazadin Han, also called as Saadedding Kopek Han, locates close to Tomek village at 22 km distance to Konya and 5 km distance to Aksaray- Konya highway. The caravansary was constructed in 1235- 1236 time period. The crown door of the open section on the south side which is close to the roofed section is made of white and light brown stones. Numerous decorated rare find stones were used in construction of the south side. Inside of wide crown door, there stands a masjid with its rich stonework decoration where climbed on the steps embedded into the wall. The inscriptions on the crown doors at open and closed sections inform that the caravansary was constructed by Saadedding Kopek.


Kiziloren Caravansary


Kiziloren caravansary, located at Konya- Beysehir highway in 41 km distance to Konya, was constructed by Seljukian sultan Giyaseddin Keyhusrev I in 1206- 1207 period.

The open section has two floors and supported with the towers.


Ertokus Caravansary


The structure locates at Yesilkoy area of Gelendost district on Beysehir- Egirdir highway. The inscription on the door of the roofed sections informs the construction time of the caravansary as 1233. The caravansary needs restoration today.


Susuz Han


It locates in Susuzkoy of Bucak district a 4 2 km inside of Burdur- Antalya highway. It is assumed that Susuz Han was constructed in 1237- 1246 time period during reign of Giyasadding Keyhusrev. The crowd door is the most impressive of the structure. Almost all parts of crown door facing to the west side are decorated with the geometrical shapes. The crown door is completely constructed using sheared stone. Inside of the caravansary is very large. The light is obtained through rectangular windows enlarging from exterior to the insideThe dragon and angel motives on arches of the mihrab attracts people on both sides of the entrance.


Kirkgoz Han


The caravansary located at one kilometer inside from Burdur- Antalya highway at 30 kilometer distance to Antalya. According to inscription on crown door of the open section, the caravansary was constructed in 1236- 1246 period during reign of Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II. There lie vaulted rooms covered with vaults on both sides of the courtyard. The crown door on the south side is fairly simple.


Alara Han


The caravansary locates 8 kilometer inside from Antalya- Alanya highway at 115 km distance to Antalya. The caravansary places close to Alara citadel which played a strategic role in controlling roads accessing to Mediterranean. It was constructed by Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad in 1229-1230 time periods.

There is an inscription on its fairly simple crown door. Two lion heads on the crown door are attractive details of the door. The history sources mentions that the rooms and vaulted rooms in central section belong to the passengers while surrounding closed large sections belong to the servants and animals.


Karatay Han


The caravansary places inside of Karadayi Village on former Malatya- Kayseri highway. Karatay Han, constructed by Celaleddin Karatay, is probably best preserved structure among the caravansaries in Cappadocia region. The construction of the caravansary on a trade road which established the connection between Turkey and Syria started during Alaaddin Keykubat and completed in 1240- 1241 during Keyhusrev reign. The exterior architecture of Karatay Han resembles to a citadel more than a shelter. Three types of decoration on crown door which is higher than walls and exceeding exterior, namely geometrical, vegetal and figurative decorations, is the unique characteristics of Karatay Han differing it from other caravansaries. The decorated crown door is splendid; however, there is no decoration on other wallsThe decorations again attract attention on crown door of closed section.


Hunat Hatun Mosque


The mosque constitute a part of the kulliye (religious and social complex) constructed by Mahperi Hatun, wife of Seljukian Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad, in 1238 in the centre of Kayseri. The dome and minaret was constructed at a later time. The crown doors on east and west are best samples to stonework art of Seljukians period. Its wooden minbar is original. The mosque takes attractions with its robust stonework and walls resembling a citadel.


Gevher Nesibe Sultan Medicine Museum


Giyasiye Madrasah and Hospital at Mimar Sinan Park in Kayseri was constructed by Seljukian Sultan Giyasedding Keyhusrev I at XIII century upon testament of his sister Gevher Nesibe Sultan. It is the first applied medicine school in the world. Both structures have rectangular shapeThe madrasah section is narrow while the hospital section is fairly larger. There is a passage inside for connecting two structures each other.


Gupgupoglu Mansion


The building placed at the Centrum of Kayseri province is a good sample for civil architecture in XVIII century. Two more floors were added to the mansion which was single storey when constructed. The mansion comprises harem and salam sections. There are inlay works of mother-of-pearl, wooden decorations and patterns raising up to the ceiling in some of the rooms.


Zelve Open Air Museum


Zelve Ruins comprising three valleys at 5 km distance to Avanos is the region where chimney rocks are populated most. The site turned to be a religious centre due to the monasteries and churches constructed during iconoclastic age. The village in Zelve used to be settled until 1952 was carried to 3 kilometers away and Zelve open air museum was created.


Goreme Open Air Museum


Goreme Open Air Museum, at 13 kilometers distance to Nevsehir and 1.5 kilometers distance to Goreme district, houses monastery, cellar, kitchen and dining hall besides the church constructed through engraving the rocks and decorated with the frescos.


Derinkuyu Underground City


The city locates on Nevsehir- Nigde highway at 29 kilometer distance to Nevsehir. The city was constructed for hiding purposes by the first Christians. There are a cross shaped church, conference hall, confession area, ventilation chimneys, cellars, barns and earth ovens inside the underground city. Eight floors of Derinkuyu is open to visits and Derinkuyu is regarded as the largest underground city with its approximately 2.5 billion km2 area. The shelter for twenty thousand people is very deep and continues for kilometer s long in form of tunnels. Underground city was open to the tourism in 1996.


Ihlara (Peristrama) Valley


Ihlara Valley appeared during third geological period where large scaled changes occurred in the earth after natural erosion of the tufa layer created by the lavas blown from Mountain Hasan. Thermal Melendiz stream, finding its way on cracks of the tufa layers which are easily washable has created this valley in 14 kilometer long and higher than 110 meters in some cases at the end of the process lasted for millions of years. The valley starts in Ihlara (Yesilyurt) village and ends in Selime village. Ihlara Valley is popular both its natural beauties and its historic places. Cappadocia was one of the safest regions for the Christians during early days of Christianity. Numerous churches, monasteries and cave-houses were constructed during respective age. Some of the shelters and churches has interconnections to each other. The frescos in sites open to tourism are assumed to have been constructed in 9- 13th centuries. The frescos made in early periods have Oriental effectsHowever, 10- 11th century churches populated at Belisirma village have dominant Byzantine impacts.