The Seljuk Han of Anatolia



photo by Ibrahim Divarci, used by permissio

Karpuz, Anadolu Selçuklu Eserleri (2008) v. 1. p. 400




38.342613, 37.019169


The Çoğulhan is located 14 km from Afşin, in the Cumhuriyet neighborhood of the town of Çoğul, on Höyük Street, right next to the massive power station located in the town. Several houses have been built around it and many of its stones were removed for other construction projects.


Kahramanmaraş was an important town of the Anatolian Seljuks, due to its geographical position and location at a very strategic point of Anatolia. Researchers believe that there were many architectural works built by the Seljuks here, but all have been destroyed. However, there are several hans which remain, including this one, the Kuru, Coğul, Kurttepe, Sevdilli, Nurhak, Çevirme, Kamereddin and Hanobaşi hans. This han is not far from the important han at the holy site of Eshab- Keyf.


The Kayseri-Elbistan-Aleppo Route was an important route in the Seljuk era. From the Sivas and Kayseri connection, routes led south to the Mesopotamian region through Malatya and Elbistan, which was the road taken by the Mamluk Baybars when he invaded Anatolia in 1256. The first destination after exiting Kayseri was the Ispile Han, of which only a few ruined sections remain. The next station was the Karatay Han. The road generally followed the river beds and passed through rugged terrain before arriving at the Yabanlu Bazaar, the trade fair market forum since the days of the Assyrian trade colonies Period. The road continued on, passing by the Kuru Han 2, the Çoğul and the Afşin Hans. The next station was the Kuru Han. The road continued towards the Hurman Castle from here. The next station on the road heading towards Elbistan was the Kuru Han 2. There was also a mountain pass (derbent) located near this han. The road arrived at the Çoğul Han and bifurcated, wıth one branch leading to Elbistan and the other to Afşin. Elbistan was a frontier town which served as a gateway to the region. Because of its key location, the Seljuks had taken certain precautions to both protect the city and to control access to it. One of these measures was the construction of a mountain pass (derbent) in the settlement formerly known as Akça Derbent. The next station was the Zilli Han. The road then split towards the east, connected to Malatya through Nurhak and then the road split again towards the south to arrive at Aleppo via Gaziantep.



Çavli Han






The Çoğul Han was built by the Elbistan governor Mubariziddin Çavli between 1212-1240.


According to historic sources, the benefactor of the han is the Seljuk emir Nizameddin Çavli, who also founded other charitable establishments in the Afşin-Elbistan region. Çavli served as the head military officer in Sivas during under many sultans: Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev I (r. 1204-1211), Izzeddin Keykavus I (r. 1211-1220), Alaeddin Keykubad (r. 1220-1237), Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II (r. 1237-1246) and finally, Izzeddin Keykavüz II (r. 1246-57). Kadi Muhyiddin Ibnü Abduzzahir, the clerk of Baybars who documented his military expedition to Anatolia, mentions the Çavli Han in Afşin which was built by Nizameddin Çavli, so the han had to have been built before 1277.



Covered section with an open courtyard (COC)



According to the traces still in place, it is believed that this han had a covered section and open courtyard plan. The covered section was believed to have been covered by a barrel vault. It is also believed to have been quite a considerable size, comparable to the Karatay Han. The walls are 1.20m thick.


After this road fell out of use, the han was left deserted and fell into ruins by the 1940s. The villagers scavenged its stones to build their homes. Only part of one wall remains. It is also known as the Afşin-Cul han.



Bilici, Z. Kenan. Anadolu Selçuklu Çaği Mirası. Mimarı = Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era. Architecture. 3 vols. Ankara: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı: Selçuklu Belediyesi, 2016, vol. 2, p. 103.

Erdmann, Kurt. Das Anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 1961. Vol. 1.,  no. 82.

Karpuz, H. & Kuş, A. & Dıvarcı, I. & Şimşek, F. Anadolu Selçuklu Eserleri, 2008, v. 1. p. 400.

Özkarcı, Mehmet. “Kahramanmaraş’ta Selçuklu Mimarisine Bakiş,” Uluslararasi Selçuklu Döneminde Maraş Sempozunu, 17-19 November, 2016, pp. 14-53.

Özergin, M. Kemal. "Anadolu'da Selcuklu Kervansaraylari", Tarih Dergisi, XV/20, 1965, p. 147, n. 19.














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