During the Seljuk Period, the
most important three factors in trade were roads, caravans and inns. The
caravans, during their long journeys, would stop at inns to rest in the evenings.
They would set off again after having met their own and their animals' needs.
The beginning of the caravansaries, first seen in the Central Asia during the
times of Caravans, Ghaznavids and the Great Seljuk State, were building called "Ribat".
These buildings, first constructed as small buildings for military uses, later
were developed and changed into larger buildings and were used for both
religious purposes and as inns for travelers.
during the times of Seljuk Sultans Kilicarslan II and
Alaaddin Keykubat I, the construction of these buildings
accelerated and the security of the trading roads was
provided by the state. The loss of the trades would be met
by the states, that is, there was , in a way,an insurance
system. During that period, both home and foreign trades
prospered. In this way, the Seljuks, already strong
economically, became politically strong too.
caravanserais, foreign traders as well as native ones would
be put up for three days. Their shoes would be repaired, the
poor would be given new shoes. The ill would be treated and
animals would be tended, if needed the horses would be shoed.
For their religious practices, they would use the "Kosk
Mescid", small mosque, in the centre of the courtyard.
The "Kosk Mescid", usually located in the centre of the
courtyard, was the most important part of the caravanserais.
They are normally built on an arched base.
The courtyards are normally
surrounded with bedrooms, depots, bath house and bathrooms. "Mangals" (braziers)
or "tandirs" (oven in the ground) were used to heat the places whereas candles
and lamps were used for light. All these services were provided by the people
working in caravanserais; e.g., doctor, imam (prayer leader), depot officer,
veterinarian, messenger, blacksmith, and cook. Stones cut from the volcanic rock
were used in the construction of the caravanserais in the Region of Cappadocia.
For defense purposes, their walls are like castle walls. Some of the best
examples of Seljuk stonemasonry can be seen at the entrances, called "Tac Kapi".
Although dragon, lion motifs and floral designs were among the ones frequently
used, in the Cappadocia region generally geometrical designs were preferred. The
doors, as strong as the castle doors, were made of iron.
Caravanserais were built along roads running from Antalya -
Konya - Kayseri to the land of Turkomans passing through
Erzurum and Tabriz and from the Black Sea region to Iraq via
Amasya - Tokat - Sivas - Malatya -Diyarbakir at a distance
of 30-40km, one day camel trek.
possible to see some of the most beautiful examples of
caravanserais in the region of Cappadocia, especially
between Aksaray and Kayseri, since it is an
intersection, east to west and south to north; Sultanhan in
Aksaray, Agzikarahan in Aksaray, Saruhan in Nevsehir and
Sultanhan in Kayseri.