The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
photo courtesy of Ahmet Kuş
View into courtyard from main entry
Chevron decor on main portal
Steps in courtyard leading to upper storey mosque
Iwan in courtyard
Arcades in covered section
This han is located in the Mederes Valley, 7 km northeast of Denizli, near the village of Goncalı. It is situated near the bridge which passes over the Çuruksu River on the Denizli-Afyon Road (route 330). Nearby are the ruins of Laodıkya (ancient Denizli) and springs of Pamukkale.
Goncali Han, Ak Bozhan
Dated by two inscriptions: one of 6 lines in the hall and one of 5 lines in the courtyard.
This han was built as a charitable institution funded by Governor Şeyfettin Karasungur ibn Abdullah, Emir of Ladik. He was the governor of Denizli for over 20 years, and was the brother of the Vizier Celaleddin Karatay (see Karatay Han).
open courtyard (COC)
Covered section smaller than the courtyard
Covered section with a central aisle perpendicular to the rear wall and 1 aisle on each side
4 bays of vaults
The sign panel outside the han states that This is one
of the latest Seljuk hans [in] western Anatolia. According to its two
inscriptions, the covered part of the han was finished in 1251 (651), and the
court in 1252 (652)."
han faces northwest, and is on the old Aksaray-Konya trade route.
There are two inscription plaques giving construction details. One in 6 lines
states that it was built in the reign of Izzeddin ibn Kaykhosrow by Kara Sungur
ibn Abdullah. The courtyard inscription plaque of 5 lines repeats the names of
the sultan and of the patron.
This medium-sized han is built with 2 levels.
Sometime in the 13th century, a mosque was built in the left corner of the courtyard. It is raised up one storey reached by a set of steps, and has an inscription and an external door. It is a square room, covered with a dome. There is also a group of 3 rooms to the right of the courtyard which probably served as baths.
This has has come to be known as the "White Han" due to the beautiful white
stone used on the front entry door and in the mosque. The
portal is magnificent with its geometric relief decorations and its sparkling
white brilliance. The
most important characteristic of the portal, which can compete in refinement with that
of the Karatay
Han, is its band of fretwork and chevrons of exquisite
Other stonework decorative elements in the han include arabesques, animals (dogs, bulls, rabbits, lions and other quadrupeds), birds, braids, shells and meanders.
The total area of the han is 1100m2
Hall area: 270m2
Courtyard area: 625m2
STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
The han is in fairly good shape, with the portal and the tower of the left side of the inner courtyard still standing. It sits a bit hidden among the surrounding industrial buildings, but can be visited, and there are plans to convert it into a tourism business. Its restoration project is ongoing.
Acun, p. 286-303 (includes extensive bibliography in Turkish); 452; 477.
Altun, Ara. An Outline of Turkish Architecture in the Middle Ages, 1990, p. 200.
Bayhan, Ahmet Ali. Ak Han (Goncalı Hanı), Anadolu Selçuklu Dönemi Kervansarayları, T.C.Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı, Ankara, 2007, pp. 287-303.
Bayrak, p. 175.
Bektaş, Cengiz. Selçuklu kervansarayları, korunmaları ve kullanılmaları uzerine bir öneri = A proposal regarding the Seljuk caravanserais, their protection and use, 1999, pp. 146-148.
Durukan, Aynur. Ak Hanın Süsleme Programı, Güner İnala Armağan,Ankara 1993,p.143-160.
Eravşar, Osman. Yollarin Taniklari (Witnesses of the Way), 2017, pp. 205-217.
Kurt. Das Anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 1961, pp. 67-72, no. 19.
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şimşek (2008), vol. 1, pp. 238-239.
Tamara Talbot. The Seljuks in Asia Minor, 1961, p. 205.
For photos of the han taken ın 1963 by John Ingham, click below:
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