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CaravanseraisDuring 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.


Especially 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.


In the 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.


cappadocia caravanserais

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.


It is 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.



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