All About Turkey

Caravanserais

The Seljuks, assuring the flow of goods from the East via Anatolia, added to the wealth of their nation by taking certain precautions that kept trade lively and safe. They signed trade agreements with foreign states and guaranteed their trade partners against any possible theft or other losses suffered during these journeys. It was again the Seljuks who first established the State insurance System to safeguard commercial life and to stimulate trade by cuts in customs taxes.

Inns and Caravanserais built along the Silk Road shouldered Important tasks within this active medium. Appearing as fortresses on remote roads, these edifices with their elaborate stone ornaments and accurate space designs also bore great importance from the architectural aspect. These buildings usually had a square or rectangular shape with strong exterior walls and a large gate, similar toa fortress. The courtyard was usually open to the sky and around it there were stalls and chambers to accommodate merchants and their animals with merchandise.

Apart from meeting all requirements of travelers as a foundation, they also assured travel and trade safety, provided social solidarity for lodgers' a market for merchants to sell their merchandise, as well as bases facilitating the supply of food and ammunition for the army during its campaigns. These Caravanserais were built at a distance of 30-40 kilometers (20-25 miles) from one another, to be covered in 8-10 hours on foot considering the normal speed of a caravan. Regardless of their religion, language or race, travelers were accommodated and catered to for three days in these caravanserais, their animals were taken care of and fed, and the sick were cured, all at the expense of the foundation.

Today there are good examples of caravanserais in Anatolia; Agzikarahan in Cappadocia, Sultanhan in Aksaray, Öküz Pasa han in Kusadasi, Horozluhan in Konya, and so on.

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