The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
plan drawn by Erdmann
The Argit Han is located on the Konya-Akşehir Road, in the town of Argithan.
The han is dated to 1201 as inferred by the foundation charter of the Iplikci Medrese in Konya which names Sipehsalar Semseddin Altinapa as the builder of this han.
The vizier Shams al-Din Altinapa was one of the most influential and faithful viziers in the court of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. He also served his father, Giyaseddin Keyhusrev I, and his son, Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II. It was he who brokered the wedding agreement between the Ayyubid court and the Seljuks for the hand of Gaziye Hatun, the daughter of Ebubekir el-Adil, the Ayyubid ruler. The wedding of this second wife with Alaeddin Keykubad took place in Malatya in 1227. Later, Altinapa served as the atabeg (imperial guardian) of Alaeddin Keykubad’s first son, Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II. After the unfortunate murder of sultan Alaeddin Keykubad in 1237, the court historian Ibn Bibi provides a detailed account of the enthronement ceremony of Alaeddin Keykubad’s son Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II in the palace in Kayseri. In accordance with protocol, the Prince was lifted onto the throne by the generals, with his atabeg Altinapa holding his right arm and his lala (tutor) Cemaleddin Farrukh holding his left one. It is even reported by Ibn Bibi that after kissing the hand of the newly-installed sultan, Altinapa ruffled the fifteen year old Giyaseddin’s hair in a display of avuncular affection. However, this affection for the teenage sultan would lead to his downfall. Later on, Altinapa noticed the disturbing influence that the malevolent vizir Sadettin Kopek had on the young sultan. He encouraged his insecurities, pushed him to binge-drinking episodes, and advised him to make risky political decisions, all the while seeking to take his place on the throne. Altinapa tried to get support from the other viziers against Kopek, but the villanous vizier responded by making up falsehoods about him and convincing the sultan Giyaseddin Keyhusrev to have his atabeg Altinapa eliminated. While the court was in session in Antalya, Altinapa was “dragged by his white beard” as per Ibn Bibi, from the meeting held at the royal palace and was taken out to be murdered in an ignoble fashion in the countryside by one of the Sultan’s imperial guards. His dishonorable assassination began the downfall of the two-year long power spree of the tyrannical Sadettin Kopek (1237-38).
The vizier Altinapa was responsible for the construction of the Altinapa Mosque and Medrese in Konya where Mevlana preached, as well as the nearby Altinapa Han. Despite the fact that he was assassinated and his beautiful han submerged in a lake, the memory of this noble vizier lives on as a fine statesman of the Seljuk era.
Covered open courtyard (COC)
Acun, H. Anadolu Selçuklu Dönemi Kervansarayları. Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı Publications, 2007, p. 481.
Erdmann, Kurt. Das Anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 1961, p. 32-33 (no. 2)
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