The Seljuk Han of Anatolia 

CAY HAN


External view of ay Han

Covered section showing lantern dome

ay Medrese

ay medrese, arch detail

DISTRICT
03 AFYONKARAHISAR

LOCATION
This han is located on the Afyon-Aksehir Road, in the center of the town of ay.

[map]
 

OTHER NAMES

Ebl Mcahit Yusuf Han


DATE
1278-79 (dated by inscription). This han bears the last dated inscription for a Seljuk han.

REIGN OF
Giyaseddin Keyhsrev III (1264-83)

PATRON
Both the han and the Taş Medrese next door were built as a charitable foundation supported by the patron Ebl Mucahit bin Yakup.

 

BUILDING TYPE
Covered with open courtyard (COC)
Covered section is smaller than the courtyard
Covered section with a central aisle and 2 aisles on each side, all of equal width
5 bays of vaults

DESCRIPTION
The building faces south.

The inscription in nakshi states that the han was"built in the time of Giyaseddin Keyhsrev, son of Kilı Arslan, by his servant Yusuf, son of Yakub, may God forgive his sins, in 677 (1278)". This appears to be the last dated Seljuk inscription on a han. The inscription also reveals the name of the architect, Ogul Bey bin Mehmed.

 

The ay Han was built at the same time as the Taş Medrese in 1278. This is one of the last of the 13th century hans, and was built during the period of Mongol rule (Ilkhanid Period).

 

A turbe (tomb) is located in the northwestern corner. There is an inscription in the nearby medrese that states that was built by the same man, Ebl Mcahit bin Yakup, once again asking for mercy for his sins.

DECORATION
The portal decoration is noteworthy. It comprises a figure of a walking lion with a dragon's tail, and large triangles and lozenges. The portal is in the form of a niche with a half dome.

 

DIMENSIONS
Total external area: 1750m2
Area of hall: 575m2
Area of courtyard: 925m2

STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
The farm town of ay (principal crops are sugar beets and cherries; note the sculpture of an open hand holding cherries in the town's main roundabout) was approximately 15 km from the epicenter of a 6.0 earthquake on February 3-4, 2002. This major earthquake destroyed much of the town's center, including the local mosque, but little damage was sustained by the han.

 

The han has been restored in 2007-2008, but is not open for visits, although one can view the interior through the front door. The interior has been equipped with shops but they are empty for the present time.

 

Those visiting the han should not miss viewing the neighboring Taş Medrese (now used as a mosque; entry at prayer times only. The sign on the door says "Allattin Cami 1258). This medrese offers some of the most spectacular Seljuk tile design in all of Turkey. The bowties on the entry panel and the woven designs of the mihrab are noteworthy. Yet it is the dome that is the the most stunning element of this monument. The triangle pattern on the dome, the drum rim with its pseudo-kufic border and the squinches with their sunburst designs are a memorable sight to behold: it is almost as if a Turkish rug were transposed in blue above your head.
 


BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES
Acun, pp. 380-389 (includes extensive bibliography in Turkish); 455; 486.

Bayrak, p. 27.
Erdmann, pp. 147-150, no. 39.
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 1, pp. 43-44.

Rice, p. 206.



 

 

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