Akhan Caravanserai History

HISTORY

Ancient Silk Road; The ancient silk road still has a rich heritage of history and culture to offer. A trade route connecting Central Asia to Europe, it also has the imprint of the cultures, religions and races living in the region for 2000 years. There are 11 caravanserais on the route, two of which are in Denizli. The Akhan and Çardakhan Caravanserai are listed in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Tentative List.

Akhan Caravanserai;

Situated on kilometer 7 of the Denizli-Afyon Motorway, within the township of Pamukkale, at the entrance of the Akhan District, the caravanserai sits on a 1,100-m2 area and was built in 1254 in the term of Governor Vali Seyfettin Karasungur. It Is one of the last caravanserais of the Anatolian Seljuks in the West.

HISTORY

Akhan caravanserais was built in 1253-1254 during the Mongol Invasion of Anatolia. Akhan
caravanserai of Denizli has been build during the Mongol Invasion, after the Kösedağ battle dated 1243, which
defined the destiny of Anatolia. From the architectural perspective, Akhan has both a courtyard and shelter parts.
According to the inscription on the portal of the shelter, the foundation date is 1253 (H. 651) but the inscription
on the main portal gives 1254 (H. 652) as the foundation date. Difference in the dates of the foundation inscriptions
illustrates two different building stages of Akhan. The shelter was built in 1253, whereas the courtyard part of Akhan was built in 1254.

HISTORY

Akhan caravanserai was built in 1253-1254 during the Mongol Invasion of Anatolia. From the architectural perspective, Akhan has both a courtyard and shelter parts. According to the inscription on the portal of the shelter, the foundation date is 1253 (H. 651) but the inscription on the main portal gives 1254 (H. 652) as the foundation date. Difference in the dates of the foundation inscriptions illustrates two different building stages of Akhan. The shelter was built in 1253, whereas the courtyard part of Akhan was built in 1254. The names of Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Izzeddin Keykavus II and Governor Seyfeddin Karasungur are mentioned in both inscriptions. The building is accepted to be one of the most attractive caravanserais thanks to its architectural and ornamental characteristics. For these reasons, it also been considered that Akhan functioned as one of the “ Sultan Khan” type caravanserais, which known to provide accomodation services to the Seljuk Sultans. Moreover, the historical figures and events related to the construction era of the building, give some clues regarding the functions of the caravanserai. Particularly, historical records regarding Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Izzeddin Keykavus II, Governor Seyfeddin Karasungur and the lider of Denizli Turkmens Mehmet Bey, Malik Maurozomes and his family members confirms that Akhan caravanserai functioned as “ state office”. Furthermore, the architectural and ornamental features of Akhan in addition to complexity and functionality of the service spaces, especially for water related spaces (baths, fountains etc) also prove that Akhan operated as “state office”and “sultan khan”. This study aims to examine Akhan caravanserai, located in vicinity of Denizli, from the aspect of the space-function relations to assess architectural features with historical contextualization. It also aims to reveal more valid and consistent results based on the relationships between architectural plan features and historical background of Akhan.