Sari Han




The front  

Sarι Han is an old Seljuk caravanserai, near the town of Avanos in Cappadocia. The Han is one of the most beautiful caravanserais from the Seljuk period. The ground plan is similar to that of the Sultan Han at Aksaray. Another name of the caravanserai is Saru Han (yellow Han).
During the restoration, care was taken to use the same yellow stone that was already used during construction. The Sarι Han is one of many caravanserais on the Seljuk trade route from Konya via Aksaray to Kayseri. The road was known as Ulu Yol (Great Road) and was divided in Kayseri into a northeastern route via Sivas and Erzurum to Iran and a southeastern route via Malatya, Diyarbakır and Van to Mesopotamia.



The entrance portal


The east-facing Han was probably built around 1249 by Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II as the last caravanserai of the Sedjuk Empire. Unfortunately, the usual inscription plate above the entrance portal was lost.

The size of the closed hall is 570 m2, while the open courtyard in the middle measures 1120 m2.

The mosque above the entrance portal  

A special feature of this Han is the small mosque. Unlike many Seljuk caravanserais, it is not located at ground level in the courtyard, but on the first floor above the entrance portal. Two stairs on the inner wall lead to the mosque and to the roof of the building.


In the west of the courtyard another portal leads into the closed hall measuring about 25 × 25 m. It is equipped with a simple central dome and has a central nave and five transepts on each side.


The south side of the courtyard  

On the south side of the courtyard there are open rooms separated by arches, which were probably used as stables. On the north side there are seven closed rooms, some of which can be accessed from the courtyard through elaborately designed doors. The three western rooms are enclosed, the four eastern rooms are connected. Water pipes were found in one of them, suggesting that they contained bathrooms.

The building was extensively restored in the late 1980s, using the same type of stone as the original building.





For many years, dance performances by Derwischen have been held regularly in the closed hall of the Sarı Han.

Benches for the spectators  
Dancing dervishes in the Sari Han  

The ecstatic trance dance (sema) practiced in the Mevlevi Order of Turkey is considered one of the physical methods of falling into religious ecstasy (majdhb, fana) and coming into contact with Allah. The headgear of the Mevlevi Dervishes is called Sikke.
The rotating dervishes have become a tourist attraction especially in Turkey, home of the Mevlevi Order from Konya. Today their Sema ceremonies are held solely for this purpose since Mustafa Kemâl Pasha (called Atatürk), the founder of the Turkish Republic, had the rituals of the Mevlevi Dervishes forbidden by Law No. 677.


Floor plan of Sari Han caravansary

according to Erdmann

1  Entrance portall   4  Courtyard
2  guard room   5  closed cells
open cells   6  closed Hall
Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others