The Seljuk Han of Anatolia

DURAGAN HAN


Inscription plaque (kitabesi) over main portal

Cells in main courtyard

Portal leading to the covered section

DISTRICT
57 SINOP


LOCATION
The Durağan Han is located on the Kastamonu-Samsun-Amasya road, 55 km sout of Sinop and 30 km east of Boyabat on the Vezirköprü Road, at the spot where the Gök Irmak and the Kızılirmak Rivers meet in the village of Durağan. It is located in the northeast part of town.

The old caravan road, which used to pass in front of the han, now serves as a connector road to the modern road which passes through the Kizilirmak River valley. The former caravan route, used for centuries, is now flooded by dam waters

NAMES
Durak Han

Boyabat-Vezirköprü Han

Pervane Süleyman Hanı


DATE
1266


REIGN OF

Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev III (dated by inscription)

 

INSCRIPTION
The inscription plaque of the han was seen by various travelers to the region in the middle of the 19th century. It was subsequently removed and placed on the wall of the exterior narthex (son cemaat yeri) of the Ismail Bey Mosque. This mosque, located southwest of the han, was built at the end of the 19th century. During the renovation project of the han undertaken in 1992, the inscription was returned to its place over the crown door of the courtyard.

 

The inscription is written in Seljuk-style naskh calligraphy, and reads as follows:

The caravanserai is built by the sacred will of the Sultan

Strong and magnificent leader of the faith and father of Keyhüsrev

Sultan of Sultans, powerful ruler, succor of Islam and all Muslims

By the humble and lowly servant of the Great Pervane Süleyman bin Ali, may Allah praise his power, Gevherbaş bin Abdullah, in the year 664, in the month of Zilhicce

 

The inscription thus states that this han was built in the time of Keyhüsrev by the Pervane Muineddin Süleyman bin Ali in 664 [H] (1266 AD). It also indicates the name of the architect, Gevherbaş bin Abdullah. This architect also worked on the construction of the Kastamonu Yilanli Hospital (1271).
 

PATRON
Pervane Muineddin Süleyman bin Ali.

At this time, Pervane was the virtual ruler of this part of the Sultanate of Rum (see "History" section).

 

BUILDING TYPE

Covered section and an open courtyard (COC)
Covered section smaller than the courtyard
Covered section with 3 naves (a central aisle and 1 aisle on each side running perpendicular to the back wall

5 lines of support cross vaults parallel to the rear wall


DESCRIPTION
The Durağan Han displays the typical design layout of Seljuk hans, comprising a covered section used for shelter and lodging with a courtyard for service areas located in front of it.

 

courtyard:

The courtyard is wider than the covered section and is placed perpendicularly to it, which is not the typical layout.
Another atypical feature is the disposition of the entry: as seen in the Kesikköprü, Zazadin and Ağzikara Hans, the entrance door to the courtyard and the entrance door to the covered section are not on axis, as is generally the case for open courtyard and covered section plan hans. The orientation of the courtyard (east) and the hall (south) is not the same, and was not apparently due to the site requirements.

The western side of the courtyard comprises two sections, and they are significantly different. The southern section is 5.35 m high while the northern section is 5.07 m high.

The mosque for the han was believed to have been located in a room in the doorway passage to the right of the courtyard.

 

covered section:

The covered section comprises three naves covered by pointed vaults placed perpendicularly to the wall opposite the entrance. The middle nave is higher and wider than the lateral naves. There is a window opposite the entrance, but there were most certainly other slit windows for the space.

The entrance door to the han is located in the middle of the southern wall.

The walls are made of pitch-faced stone and brick. The facade of the southern wall is laid with finely-cut bricks, laid in five courses between a bed of filler. These brick courses add a distinctive feature to the han.

Two round support towers are located at the corners of the southern exterior wall, and a square tower is set in the middle of the eastern and western walls.


DECORATION

There is no decoration in the han, other than the brickwork courses on the exterior wall.

The courtyard arches have broken pointed arches in the Persian style, an atypical Anatolian shape. It is possible that Pervane may have commissioned a Persian architect to build this han like he did for his mosque at Sinop (built in 1256).

DIMENSIONS
Total external area: 1435 m2. The han is quite large.
Area of hall: 330m2
Area of courtyard: 925m2


STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
This han was in used until the 1920s, at which time transportation patterns changed and it was no longer necessary to stopover here. Parts of the han were demolished at this time, and the photos taken by Erdmann in 1951 and 1954 show that the han was deserted.

The han was registered in 1982 as property of the Municipality of the city of Durağan, who retains all rights to its use. The han now serves as a municipal garage and storage area.

Restoration of this han began in 1992 and was completed in 2007. The entrance portal to the covered section and most of the covered section were entirely rebuilt at this time. The original structure was substantially altered during the renovation project and has lost many of its original features. The covered section is now covered by a metal roof.

A bath was formerly located to the north of the han, but was demolished in 1992 and is now being used as a public park. The mosque located near the han is believed to have been once connected with it, and has been completely restored using its original materials.

In 2014, the Samsun Regional Directorate of Foundations voted to invest in the building in order to reverse the faults of the 1992 renovation project.


BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

Acun, p. 492.

Altun, p. 200.

Eravşar, 2010.
Erdmann, pp. 72-74, no. 20 (plan, photos).
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 2, p. 302.

Rice, p. 206.

Van Lennep, 1870, p. 61, map 1.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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