Sultanhan Caravanserai

Main gate of Sultanhan CaravanseraiSultanhan caravanserai is one of the most significant tourist attractions in central Anatolia, also the largest and best preserved Seljuk caravanserai in Turkey. The site is located on the highway between Konya and Aksaray provinces; about 110 kilometers (68 miles) north-west of Konya and 45 kilometers (28 miles) away from Aksaray.

The Sultanhan caravanserai was built in 1229 by Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I when Aksaray was an important stopover along the Silk Road that crossed through Anatolia. After suffering partial destruction in a fire, the building was restored and extended in 1278 under the reign of sultan Kaykhusraw III. The monumental caravanserai then became one of the best examples of Anatolian Seljuk architecture. The caravanserai enjoyed its glory times during the Seljuk period, but lost its importance during the Ottoman era. More recent restorations were made during the Republic period and opened to visitors.

Sultanhani has both sections for summer and winter periods. The monumental entrance gate was made of marble and richly carved. The wide courtyard is surrounded by storage rooms, stalls, kitchen, and chambers where animals and people were accommodated. There is a small a mosque in the middle of the courtyard which was used by the travellers for prayers. The covered courtyard was for the winter and had a monumental entrance. During the harsh weather conditions both merchants and their animals were staying indoors in order to stay warm.

There are numerous caravanserais in the region but this one is truly impressive.