The Seljuk Han of Anatolia

KURUCESME HAN


photos on this sidebar courtesy of the Konya photographer Ahmet Kuş, January 2012

 

DISTRICT

42 KONYA
 

LOCATION
This han is located 34 km from Konya along the Konya-Beyşehir Road and sits on a small bluff 200 m south of the road.
 

OTHER NAMES
It is also known as the Han Onü, or "preceding han" in relation to the Kandemir Hanö 10 km farther down the road towards the west. The name means the han of the "Dry Well", perhaps in reference to a well on the site that had dried up. There is a certain confusion as to the name of this han in the academic literature: Erdmann and Yavuz call it the Kizilören Han, while Bekt and Kuban label it as the Kuruçeşme Han. It is known as the Kuruçeşme Han by the locals.
 

DATE
1207-1210
The incomplete 9-line inscription plaque over the hall door does not specifically denote the donor or the exact construction date, but it does give the name of the reigning sultan, from which a construction date may be approximated. The inscription states that it was "Built in the time of Kayhüsrev ibn Kilic Arslan, Sultan of the Mainland and the Seas". The mention of the "seas" is most certainly a reference to the brilliant capture of Antalya by Giyaseddin Kayhüsrev I in 1207.


REIGN OF

Giyaseddin Kayhüsrev I
 

PATRON
The name of the person who commissioned the han is illegible on the inscription plaque.
 

BUILDING TYPE

Covered with open courtyard (COC)
Covered hall and courtyard of the same width
3 parallel vaults running perpendicular to the back wall of the covered section
6 arcades on each side of the covered section
 

DESCRIPTION
The han door faces east to Konya and lies parallel to the road (for caravans en route west from Konya). It is one of the links in the necklace of 4 hans along this short stretch of road: Altinapa (now submerged by the waters behind the Altinapa Dam), Kuruçeşme, Kandemir, and Yunus (no longer extant) .


The courtyard has 5 open arcade cells on each side.

The mosque is in a room to the left of the entrance passageway. It has a small window facing east. It is flush with the ground and measures 4 x 5.5 m. The entrance is structured like a protruding vestibule. There is another small room to the right of the entry which was probably a room for the guards or han manager.

 

The arcades of the covered section spring from substantial square stone pillars or from columns composed of Byzantine capitals. On the raised loading dock platform of the covered section, there are remnants of a tandir clay oven, used for heating, cooking and baking. It consists of a pit sunk into the platform, about 15 in deep, and connected to a horizontal shaft to provide air.

 

Lighting was assured by small slit windows in the courtyard arcades of the northern side, in the two rooms at the entry and there are 2 slit windows on the southern side of the covered section.

There does not appear to be a bath. There is a well 1 km towards Beyşehir.

DECORATION

The main door to the hall is 2.4 m wide has a deep niche of 1.4m with a pointed arch springing from reuse stone column capitals with ribbed carving. Throughout this han there are many Byzantine reuse stones (spolia), mostly used as column capitals and lintel stones. Byzantine reuse material is evident in every section of this han. Column capitals have been laid horizontally into the wall and have been used as imposts between columns and voussoirs (the wedge-shaped stones forming the curved part of the arch or ceiling).

The triangular voussoirs and rosette decoration appear to be a degenerate Byzantine interpretation of the antique Corinthian capital. In the western rear wall of the covered section, there is a large stone piece decorated with a cross set in a circle, and which must have been a lintel in a church. Reuse stones are generally used as wall decoration in most hans, but in this han they serve as supporting architectural elements.

DIMENSIONS
820 m2

Hall: 410 m2

Courtyard: 410m2

STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
For many years this han stood abandoned and in ruins. The foundation walls were standing, but the roof of the covered section had collapsed, as had most of the arcades in the courtyard.

In 2011 the han was completely restored and is now open for visits.

This is an impressive han due to its pastoral setting, the numerous Byzantine reuse (spolia) stones and its large size.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

Acun, p. 513.

Bektaş, pp. 82-83.
Erdmann, p. 33-36, no. 3 .

Hillenbrand, fig. 6.62, p. 553.

Kuban (2002), p. 239.

Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 2, p. 84.

Kuş Selçuklu, p. 35.

Yavuz, (1997) pp. 80-95.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following photographs show the han in 2005:

 

entry portal

 

han courtyard looking east towards entry

 

han courtyard looking west towards covered section

 

Byzantine reuse capital stones

 

inscription plaque on covered section portal

 

 

 

Click thumbnails to enlarge photos of the Kuruçeşme Han (photos taken in 2008 and 2009):

 

Facade

Courtyard

Courtyard arch spring

Courtyard cells north

Courtyard cells north

Courtyard cells south

Court cell arch detail, south

View of courtyard from covered section

View of courtyard from covered section

View of southern courtyard cells

View of southern courtyard cells

View of covered section

Rear wall of covered section with spolia lintel

Inscription plaque

View of covered section

View of covered section arches

Tandir bread ovens in covered section

Tandir bread ovens in covered section

Tandir bread ovens in covered section

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

Byzantine reuse stones used as columns

 

 

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