Zelve Open air
is located in the valley of Damsa, 5km southeast of the town of Avanos
in the vicinity of Nevsehir and 6
km north of Ürgüp. The
han is on the Aksaray-Kayseri route in the east-west connection.
Saruhan, built during the reign of Izzettin Keykavus I -maybe upon his
orders- in 1249, covers an area of 2000 m square. Yellow, reddish pink
and light brown regular stone blocks were used as building material in
A decorative look was achieved by using stone of two different colours
in the arches of both the monumental portal and the inner portal. In the
outer portal, the upper parts of which partly collapsed, mainly geometrical
decorations were used like in the other sultanhans. Its domed mescid, unlike
other caravanserais, was built above the monumental portal. The doorway
of the mescid, facing the courtyard, is decorated with squinches with mukarnases.
To the left of the large courtyard is a portico with a fountain and to
the right are the places for accommodation and bathing. The small lines
on some of the stones used in the porticoes are stonemasons marks. The
hall where animals and their keepers stayed is similar to the ones in Aksaray
Sultanhan and Agzikarahan. The oculus, seated on pendentives is quite plain.
The Han, the upper parts of which have collapsed in places, was returned
to its original state with the completion of its restoration in 1991. After
Saruhan, one of the latest examples of Sultahhans, the Seljuk Sultans did
not have hans built.