The Seljuk Han of Anatolia




the above photos are from the Samsun Kavak official website


The han is located off the Amasya-Samsun Road, 10 km northwest of Kavak near the village of akalli.

[driving directions]



Taş Han


Estimated at 1237-1244; during the reign of Giyaseddin Keyhsrev II (d. 1246)


There is no inscription plaque, but it is generally assumed that this han dates from the same era as the Ezinepazar and iftlik Hans (mid 13th century). Although is not attributed to the group of seven hans traditionally considered as commissions of Mahperi Hatun (Pazar, Cicimli, ekereksu, Tahtoba, Ibipse, iftlik and Ezinepazar), it could possibly be considered as part of her program.

Covered with open courtyard (COC)

Covered sections smaller than the courtyard

covered section with a central aisle and 1 aisle on each side running perpendicular to the back wall

6 bays of crossvaults

The han faces east.

The covered hall is the only section remaining. The courtyard walls have fallen and no longer exist, but some of its stones were used to build a retaining wall for the homeowner next door.

No bath or mosque has been found. The han lies next to a stream which served as the water source for the han.

Although not depicted on the plan below, there is a small doorway leading to the hall on the northern side of the front wall of the covered section, which was probably cut sometime after the 1950's.

Each side of the hall door is decorated with a band of handsome pointed key motifs, a decor found on many Seljuk monuments. It is identical to the portal decoration on the nearby Burmali Mosque in Amasya, dated 1237, which supports a similar date of construction for this han.

Total Area: 1,300m2
Hall area: 570m2
Courtyard area: 500m2

The hall is in relatively good condition. The Seljuk trade route passed in front of the han and followed the akalli River, but during Ottoman times, this road was abandoned in favor of a road passing farther below. This han was restored in Ottoman times as this road was in commercial use up until the 17th century. The han stood empty until about 75 years ago. A restoration project for the han began in 2012 and was completed in August, 2013.


Below the han is an Ottoman-era bridge and the wooden Kasımzade Ahmed Sufi Cami ("Aşaği Mahalle Cami") dated 1878.

Acun, p. 484.

Erdmann, pp. 77-79, no. 22.

Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 2, p. 275.

Rice, p, 206.






The author would like to thank Dr. Metin Taşkin for his assistance in the visit to this han.














photos of the han before the 2013 renovation:

Keystone decoration on right side of covered section portal


detail of keystones, left side of portal



The Cakalli Valley as seen from the han

click below for more pre-renovation photographs

Interior of covered section

Left side of covered section showing pierced door and remnants of a side tower




side aisles, left (north)

detail,side aisles right (south)

side corner, north

portal detail, right

detail, portal stones

detail, portal left

Old Ottoman bridge below the han

Kasımzade Ahmed Sufi Cami ("Aşaği Mahalle Cami") dated 1878.



2001-2013, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without written consent from the author.