*The featured photo: The interior of the covered section of the caraavanserai (photo by Ingeborg Simon)
Located in the small rural village of Ağzıkarahan, this 13th century Seljuk caravanserai is one of the important historical sites in the central Anatolian city of Aksaray.
What is a caravanserai?
Before we start, let’s first understand what a caravanserai is.
“Caravanserai, in the Middle East and parts of North Africa and Central Asia, [is] a public building used for sheltering caravans and other travelers. The caravansary is usually constructed outside the walls of a town or village. A heavy-doored gateway, high and wide enough to admit loaded camels, it can be secured from within by massive iron chains, which are drawn across it at night…” (taken from britannica.com)
Another definition from wikipedia.com helps us comprehend the social importance of a caraavanserai:
“A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road.” (taken from wikipedia.com)
The inscription of the structure shows that Ağzıkarahan Caravanserai was built in 1239 by Hoca Mesud Bin Abdullah, who was one of the wealthy merchants of that time. This historical spot is also known as the Hoca Mesud Caravanserai.
Tourist information about Ağzıkarahan
There is no regulated visiting hours of this site.
Entrance is free of charge.
You can park your vehicle to the wide pebble ground that is in front of the gate of the caravanserai.
Spare sometime to explore the old abandoned dwellings around
For me, apart from the caravanserai, the most interesting thing to see in this remote village was the abundance of the abandoned housings that were scattered around. Actually, I spent more time exploring these structures than visiting the caravanserai itself.
So, I highly suggest that you also spare some time checking out your surroundings.