Perhaps the best preserved of all Cappadocian caravanserais
is Karatayhan built by Celaleddin Karatay on the old Kayseri-Malatya road,
part of the main trade route into Syria. Construction commenced during
the reign of Alaaddin Keykubat and was completed during of his son Giyaseddin
Keyhusrev in 1240/1241.
The endowment deed of Karatayhan tells us that it was
built to serve both commercial and social functions. The ornately carved
portal which dominates the south wall measures 46 by 80 metres, and projects
both beyond and above the wall. The decoration includes floriate and figurative
as well as geometric motives which distinguishes it from other Caravanserais.
Along the eastern side of the courtyardt are a series of long narrow chambers
with pointed vaults opening directly onto the courtyard, while an arcade
runs down the western side.