The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
overview facing west (view before 2008 renovation)
overview and northern wall
inscription plaque over the main door
entry to han after 2007 renovation
photo: Robin Wimmel
Interior of the han following the 2007 renovation
photo: Robin Wimmel
Karpuz Anadolu Selçuklu Eserleri (2008) v.1, p. 102.
This 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
Han" after the name of the member of the local prominent family who restored the han in the Ottoman era.
1238-46 (by assimilation to the dates of the other hans built by Mahperi Hatun; see below)
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 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 Cifltlik hans, 2 other hans commissioned by Mahperi Hatun (now in ruins).
Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II
The three-lined inscription over the crown door 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
It is not known who this Haci Mehmet Cavuş was, and why he was living here so far from his native Mosul.
The original Seljuk inscription plaque has been lost. La Boullaye Le Gouz, a French traveler visiting the han in 1647 (thus 3 years before the restoration by Mehmed 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".
His "Aina Bazaar" 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, have 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 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. Two rows of 7 rectangular pillars divide the space into 3 parallel naves, and and create 8 sections on each side. The middle aisle is larger and higher than the two side aisles. the space is covered with pointed vaults in the east-west direction, parallel to the rear wall
In the middle of each bay is fireplace, whose chimneys are built in the form of simple arches 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.
There are three small, high windows pierced in the entry 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 han underwent extensive repairs in the Ottoman period, which basically entailed a complete rebuilding. The patron of the restoration was Mehmed Ağa Cavuş, the member of a prominent family of the region. He not only restored the han, but built a tekke and a hammam nearby. The present state reflects Ottoman construction techniques, rather than Seljuk. The entire building resembles an Ottoman, rather than Seljuk, han in appearance.
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
This han was abandoned and half-buried for many years, and was used by the town as a 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 "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.
Acun, p. 499.
Bektaş, pp. 138-139.
Erdmann, p. 158-160, no. 46.
Gabriel, p. 68, fig. 46.
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şimşek (2008), vol. 1, p. 102.
La Boullaye-Le Gouz, 1653, p. 70.
Rice, p. 206.
Unsal, p. 49.
photos taken prior to 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
charming illustration by La Boullaye La Gouze of nearby Amasya, drawn in 1653.
©2001-2017, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without written consent from the author.