Obruk Han




The front  

Obruk Han is a Seljuk caravanserai northeast of Konya. It was built on the important trade route from Konya to Kayseri. The Han is named after the huge Doline (Turkish obruk) behind the Han. The original name is no longer known.
The date of construction of the Han is also unknown. It is estimated that it was built between 1220 and 1250, as Obruk Han lies between Saddedin Han (built 1236) and Sultanhan (built 1229).
The Han was already mentioned in the writings of Mevlânâ, who lived in Anatolia from 1227 to 1273. Also in other historical sources. Pervâne Mu'in al-Din Suleyman, an advisor to the Seljuk sultan Kılıç Arslan IV. (died 1265), reports of fighting near the Obruk Han. Records under Sultan Izz ad-Din Kai Kaus II from 1246 to 1256 report that Mongolian riders had taken Obruk Han.

The south side in September 2018  

The Han is a typical classical Seljuk symmetrical building, whose entrance gate faces east-southeast. It consists of two interconnected buildings: a square building with sides about 35 metres long, with a courtyard twenty metres long and 15 metres wide in the centre. To the right and left of the courtyard there are five open side cells, each about ten metres wide. Of the open cells, only the arches have been preserved for the most part. The fact that the inner courtyard is larger than the enclosed area on the sides is typical of a Seljuk Han.



Inside view in September 2018. The portal of the closed hall


The building was severely damaged by several earthquakes, so among other things the ceiling collapsed. In 1996, the University of Selçuk sighted the Han with the surrounding area and carried out excavations. In September 2007 an extensive renovation began, during which the outer walls and the entrance portal were repaired. The destroyed southern part of the wall was rebuilt so that the Han can only be entered through the gate. Further renovation work is planned, but has not been carried out since 2009 (status 2018).
On the west side is the so-called "Winter Hall", a closed hall. It served as accommodation especially during the cold months. This hall is about 30 metres long and 20 metres wide. The supporting cross vault, which had collapsed in the meantime, consisted of eight naves. These were three to four metres wide and nine metres long. In the middle of the third ship from the west there was originally a small lantern tower, but it was completely destroyed. The wall to the courtyard with the portal also collapsed.

Spoiling inside in September 2002  

This Han is unique in terms of its artistic equipment. With one exception, Seljuk art motifs are completely absent: in the mosque above the gate there is a Mihrāb (prayer niche), which has been severely damaged by art robbers. Instead, the appearance of the Han is characterized by Byzantine components. The main corridor of the Winter Hall was supported by fourteen Byzantine columns, ten of which are still standing. The entrance portal also stands on antique columns.
The inner courtyard was also originally decorated with columns. In the walls there are also numerous spolia (building elements from other, older buildings), some of which come from the ancient city of Perta in Lykaonia, others come from a Byzantine church and a monastery, which were located near Kizören. Most of the spolia have Greek inscriptions and Christian symbols, but there are also Latin inscriptions. However, many spolias were lost due to art robbers.



The entrance side is conspicuous. In the middle there is an inconspicuous archway, almost five metres high, supported on both sides by Byzantine columns with an ancient architrave. The typical Seljuk Muqarna decoration is completely missing, suggesting that the Han was built in great haste. The usual inscription above the archway is also missing. The archway itself was subsequently reduced in size by about one metre. The gate area has two floors and is crowned - unusual for a Seljuk Han - by small battlements.


The Doline in September 2018  


The Doline in September 2002




Immediately behind the Han there is a 216 x 173 meter oval doline. Compared to 2002 and 2018, the water level in the doline clearly shows where excessive irrigation of the ever larger agricultural areas is leading. A problem, not only in the Konya area.


Floor plan of Obruk Han caravansary

according to Erdmann

1   Entrance portal  Dome
2   Courtyard  open cells
 closed hall  closed cells
Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid: www.DeepL.com/Translator    
Source: Wikipedia and others