The Seljuk Han of Anatolia

KARGI HAN


 

DISTRICT

 west wall, exterior

main facade, view from west

view from east, Kayi (Kargi) River and bathhouse in foreground

main portal

detail, main portal, with empty inscription frame

main crown door

Karpuz Anadolu Seluklu Eserleri (2008) v.1, p. 166

crown door to the covered section

 

07 ANTALYA


LOCATION
This han is located on the Antalya-Alanya road, 27 km to the north of Taşağıl, a coastal village 45 km east of Antalya, and just past the village of Beydığın. It is built along the banks of the Kayı (Kargi) River, which has lent its name to the han. Brown indicator signs clearly mark the road to the han through the densely-forested and mountainous terrain of the Kprl Canyon forest. It is located just below the Kesikbeli gorge. The han is located on the old Alanya-Konya caravan han that linked Antalya to Beyşehir and Konya. This route, which offered the shortest route between Antalya and Konya, continued on to the Seljuk Palace of Kubadabad in Beyşehir. It has been in use since Roman times. The han is located in an isolated site, in the forests of the Kprl Canyon. To reach this han one must climb a considerable distance. To build a han here in such an isolated spot reinforces the importance of ensuring a connecting link for the trade between the south coast and the inland.

OTHER NAMES
Manavgat-Kargı Han.

The name of this han means the "Lance" han, a possible military reference.
 

DATE
1237-46

As there is no inscription, the building date and the patron are unknown. This date is proposed by stylistic analysis with the Kirkgz and Şarafşa Hans, built by the same Sultan, Gıyaseddin Keyhsrev II (1236-46) and which have the same plan features. This sultan was active in construction activities in the southern tier area.
 

REIGN OF

Gıyaseddin Keyhsrev II (1236-46)

However, it is believed to have been built at the same time as the Kirkgz and Şarapsa Hans
 

BUILDING TYPE

Covered section with an open courtyard (COC)
Covered section the same width as the courtyard
Covered section with two naves parallel to the rear wall
8 bays of vaults perpendicular to the rear wall
 

DESCRIPTION
The han is oriented north-south, with the entrance facing south. Its large dimensions and outstanding stone workmanship are impressive. It is particularly interesting because it retains almost all of its original features, notably the raised loading dock platforms complete with fodder troughs.
 

The han consists of a covered section used for lodging and a courtyard for service facilities located in front of it. The covered section is the same width as the courtyard. The han was built on an inclined terrain. Ruins of a bathhouse are located southeast of the han. The han was built of pitch-faces stone blocks for the most part, with smooth-faced stone used on the crown doors. Some reuse spolia material can be seen on the doors of the rooms around the courtyard.

 

Covered section:

The covered section lies transversely to the terrain. It is divided into two naves by a support system running east to west which rests on eight piers, connected to each other by pointed vaults. The southern nave is wider than the northern one. Slit windows, six on the northern wall and two each in the middle of the east and west walls, provide light to the interior. Lighting is also provided by two windows in the arch openings on either side of the crown door located on the southern side, which is rounded with a flat arch. The center of the arch is flat, and contains a place designed to hold an inscription plaque. There is a raised platform reached by a set of stone stairs situated in the first nave upon entering the covered section. From the platform, stairs extend to the east and west for the full length of the nave. There are four support towers on the western wall, one on the northern wall, and two on each side of the crown door. This section was used for stabling animals.

 

Courtyard:

The open courtyard is the same width as the covered section, but is three times as large in surface area. It consists of closed rooms on the eastern (right) side and open rooms on the southern (entrance) side and an open arcade on the west (left) side. The closed rooms on the eastern side are lit by narrow slit windows in the ceiling of each one; the other spaces do not need any as they open onto the courtyard. The main entrance crown door leading into the courtyard is more elaborate than the one of the covered section. It has a pointed arch and projects forward from the main wall. A recessed area for an inscription plaque is located in the tympanum of the arch, but it is empty.

 

Southern (front) section: The crown door leads into a iwan-shaped vestibule. There are 3 closed rooms to the right (east) of the entrance, and 2 to the left (west), which served as service rooms. All are covered with pointed vaults. The latrines were grouped in the large corner space at the left (southwestern) corner.

 

Eastern section: There are 6 closed rooms on the right side of the courtyard (east side) lined up side by side. They are small (approx. 5 x 3 m) and have openings with plain lintels, over which are arched openings to provide light. The two rooms at each end are different than the others, as their vaults are headed in the north-south direction. There are no interior connections between the rooms. The last room to the rear of this section, reached by 2 steps (80cm above ground level), has a mihrab niche on the southern wall and served as the mosque. This room is larger than the others on this side (6.5 x 3.8m).


Western section: The 7 open cells forming the arcade on the west (left) side of the courtyard were most certainly used as a loading area and for storage of goods. They have slightly raised platforms in carved stone which served as loading docks. Loading activities took place on parallel bands at two different levels. The lower band on the ground contained a series of stone basins for fodder and water; the upper band (1-1.6m high) was the platform that accommodated goods and people. Loading dock platforms are a frequent feature in hans. The platforms are flat on top, and it can be assumed that the highest part of the platform, always near the entrance, was built to the height of the pack animals of different sizes (donkeys and camels). About 20 hans still have these platforms in various states of preservation, and the Kargi Han offers one of the best examples. These platforms retain almost all their original features, and comprise the most interesting feature of this han. In addition to the row of fodder basins underneath the arches, the platform is further divided into two bands, a lower one next to the basins separated by a corridor from a higher one where people spread their goods and sleeping mats.

A simple bathhouse structure, of rectangular shape, 6m wide x 10 long 5 meters, is located right in front of the han on the right (east) side of the faade. Although in ruins, one can distinguish the 3 sections: the furnace, caldarium and tepidarium. The furnace section is underground.


The water source is the Kargi River which runs directly east of the han, and loops down around in front of it.


DECORATION

The door is simple, with little decoration. As this was a remote han, little decoration would have been lavished on it. It was built on a modest budget.
The inscription over the portal is lost, as well as the one over the portal of the large room to the right of the entrance.

There are several mason's marks on the stones. No spolia was used in the construction of the han.

The interior walls are covered with white plaster, and the walls next to the mihrab has been inscribed with images, symbols and writing. This plaster and "scatchitti" are probably not original to the han, although the researcher Scott Redford believes that it is, but fails to substantiate this argument.

DIMENSIONS
Total area: 2,500m2
Area of hall: 517m2
Area of courtyard: 785m2 (11.50 x 45m)

STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
Due to its isolated location in a protected National Park, this han is in a good state of preservation. It stands all alone in serene and stunning countryside, nestled snug among the mountains and pine forests. The babbling stream next to the han lends great charm to the setting.

A restoration project is currently underway so solidify the building.
 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

Acun, p. 509.

Bektaş, pp. 77-78.
Erdmann, pp. 181-184, no. 57.

Erdmann, Kurt. "Der Kargi Han bei Alanya." In Kunst des Orients III. Weisbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1959, pp. 1-12.
Hillenbrand, fig. 6.54, p. 552.

Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 1, p. 165-6.

Kuban (2002), pp. 241-242.
Redford, Scott. "The Kible Wall of the Kargi Hani", Adalya X, 2007, pp. 351-368.

Rice, p. 206.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

Karpuz Anadolu Seluklu Eserleri (2008) v.1, p. 165

eastern section closed cells, view from courtyard

eastern section closed cells

door frame detail, eastern cells

 western section open cells, view from courtyard

western section open cells

western section, interior piers and vaults

western section, open arcades

western section, raised loading  platform on two levels

northern closed section, view from courtyard

southern cells, view from courtyard

view of bathhouse to east

 

Kprl Canyon setting

 

Kprl Canyon setting





 

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