The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
overview facing west (view before 2008 renovation)
Karpuz Anadolu Selçuklu Eserleri (2008) v.1, p. 102.
inscription plaque over the main door
entry to han after 2007 renovation
Interior of the han following the 2007 renovation
photo: Robin Wimmel
Eravşar, 2017. p. 107; photo I. Dıvarcı
overview and northern wall (prior to the restoration)
The Ezinepazar Han is located on the Tokat-Amasya road, 35 km east of Amasya at the the eastern end of the village of Ezinepazar, facing westward towards Amasya.
The town of Ezinepazar was traditionally known as the "Sunday Market Town", as it is where the many surrounding villages held their central market on that specific day of the week. It then became known by the Persian translation "Ezinepazar", which was transformed to "Inepazar" in the local dialect. The area residents refer to the han as either the "Inepazari Han" or the "Cavuş Han" after the name of the member of the local prominent family who restored the han in the Ottoman era. Many travelers have mentioned this han using variants on the Inepazar name. These include Taeschner, the Ottoman scholar Katip Çelebi, and the Frenchman La Boullaye-Le Gouz, who also mentioned the existence of another Seljuk han nearby and especially remarked on the crown door of the han.
1238-46 (by assimilation to the dates of the other hans built by Mahperi Hatun; see below)
Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II
The original Seljuk inscription plaque has been lost; however, it is mentioned in the journal of La Boullaye Le Gouz, a French traveler visiting the han in 1647 (thus 3 years before the restoration by Mehmet Cavuş). He relates the following in his journal:
"On the 30th of October we left Amasya, and after 7 hours on the road we reached an old han, called Aina Bazar, which in French means the Market of the Mirror Maker. Alaeddin was its founder, as is related in the writing on the door".
The three-lined inscription over the crown door today dates from the Ottoman period and reads as follows:
Sergeant Haci Mehmet Cavuş from Mosul
whose nobility was revived through philanthropic achievements
has dedicated himself to the old han by repairing it in 1650
The patron of the restoration was Mehmed Ağa Cavuş. Not much is known about him, but he also built a tekke and a hammam nearby. It is not known why he was living here so far from his native Mosul.
The "Aina Bazaar" mentioned by La Boullaye Le Gouze in his journal is most certainly a corruption of the word Ezine Pazar. The word "Alaeddin" that La Boullaye Le Gouz states was on the door (or was told was there, as the Frenchman did not read Arabic) could have been merely the mention of the Sultan's name in reference to his relationship with the presumed patron, his wife Mahperi Hatun. This testimony, as well as some other traditional sources, has always led to the assumption that the han was commissioned by Mahperi Hatun, wife of Alaeddin Keykubad, sometime between 1238-1246. This attribution is generally considered to be correct. Mahperi Hatun was the wife of Alaeddin Keykubad I and mother of Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II. It is one of 7 hans purportedly attributed to her.
Covered, no courtyard (C)
The han is oriented east-west. It comprises a single covered section, with a rectangular plan. This is the longest covered section of any Seljuk han.
The structure is divided into three naves by two support walls, each with five two-centered pointed arches springing from seven square piers connecting to the eastern and western walls. The middle aisle is higher and wider than the two side aisles. The space is covered with a pointed barrel vault extending in the same direction, parallel to the rear wall.
In the middle of each bay of the northern and southern wall is a fireplace, whose chimney is built in the form of simple arch extending up the walls. The interior is covered by broken barrel vaults, and traces of the holes for the supporting beams (now missing) can be seen in the pillars.
On the north side aisle is a raised platform 1.5 meters high where visitors might sit or sleep. It can be assumed that the raised platforms existed on both sides, but traces on the south side cannot be ascertained. The central aisle was reserved for animals and loading and unloading of goods. It is believed that these loading platforms of the middle nave was moved to the lateral naves during the Ottoman period.
There are three small, high windows pierced in the entry eastern side wall, one over the door and one in each side aisle. They are the only openings and allow only a feeble amount of light to enter the interior at best, making it very dark inside.
The massive northern and southern exterior walls are reinforced by support towers, triangular on the northern side and semi-circular on the southern side.
A double-sloped terrace serves as a rainwater drain-off for the roof. The han does not appear to have ever had a forecourt.
The crown door is flat and rectangular and is a masterpiece of stonework. The inscription panel is located on a shallow arch above the door.
The han underwent
extensive repairs in the Ottoman period, which basically entailed a complete
rebuilding. The present state reflects Ottoman construction techniques, rather
than Seljuk. The entire building resembles an Ottoman, rather than Seljuk, han
Erdmann is of the opinion that the majority of the piers of the interior space
date from the Seljuk period, and that only the upper parts of the piers
underwent renovation. A similar situation is seen in the Çakalli Han.
This is a simple, robust construction with no decoration. The main entry
portal with its white marble inscription plaque and cross-like motive in stone
serve as the only decoration to this austere utilitarian building.
Total outer area: 650 m2
Inner area of hall: 510 m2
37 x 16.50 m
STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
According to the inscription of three lines on the white marble plaque over the main door, this mosque was restored in 1650 through donations by Mehmed Cavuş. The rough rubble walls were repaired and the side walls were also reinforced with supporting beams.
The han was enlarged to the east during this renovation and fireplaces were built on the northern and southern walls. The raised platform of the middle nave was moved to the lateral naves. The current han bears little evidence of the original plan, but remains interesting because of its historical attribution. It original plan must have resembled the Çakallı or Çiftlik hans, two other nearby hans commissioned by Mahperi Hatun (both now in ruins).
This han was abandoned and half-buried for many years, and was used by the town as a municipal depot for spare parts and agricultural equipment. The han was completely restored in 2007 by the Foundations Directorate of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism. It now serves as a restaurant.
The forecourt of the han serves as a sort of "village green" for the town of Ezinepazar. It is the site of the annual circumcision festival and the "Silk Road-Cavuş Han" Festival held in July, a lively day of music, theater, skits and civic sharing. The administrative offices of the village face the han.
The han may be reached by jitney busses from Turhal or Amasya.
Acun, H. Anadolu Selçuklu Dönemi Kervansarayları. Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı Publications, 2007, p. 499.
Bektaş, C. Selçuklu Kervansaraylari, Korumalari ve Kullanilmalari Üzerine Bir Öneri = A proposal regarding the Seljuk caravanserais, their protection and use, Istanbul, 1999, pp. 138-139.
Eravşar, Osman. Yollarin Taniklari (Witnesses of the Way), 2017, pp. 106-109.
Erdmann, Kurt. Das Anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 1961. Vol. 1, pp. 158-159, no. 46.
Gabriel, A. Monuments turcs d'Anatolie, I, II. Paris: Ed. De Boccard, 1931, 1934, p. 68, fig. 46.
Karpuz, Haşim. & Kuş, A. & Dıvarcı, I. & Şimşek, F. Anadolu Selçuklu Eserleri, 2008, vol. 1, p. 102.
La Boullaye-Le Gouze, François de. Les Voyages et observations du Sieur de La Boullaye le Gouze, gentilhomme angevin. Paris: 1653, pp. 68-70.
Rice, Tamara Talbot. The Seljuks in Asia Minor, 1961, p. 206.
Taeschner, F. Osmanli Kaynaklarina gore Anadolu Yollari, 1924. Translated by TKK Kütüphanesi Basilmamiş Tercümeler, no, 131, 2010, p. 21.
photos taken prior to the 2007 renovation
main aisle of central hall facing west
main aisle facing east towards entry
raised platform on northern side and individual chimney
raised platform on northern side
rubble construction on north wall
Commemorative Iznik style plate commissioned by Mayor Sefer Doğru, who kindly shared information concerning the han with this author in 2006
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