The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
overview facing west (view before 2008 renovation)
overview and northern wall
inscription plaque over the main door
entry to han after 2007 renovation
Interior of the han following the 2007 renovation
(post-renovation photographs courtesy of researcher Robin Wimmel)
This han is located on the Tokat-Amasya road, 35 km east of Amasya at the the eastern end of the village of Ezinepazar, facing westward towards Amasya.
The town of Ezinepazar was traditionally known as the "Sunday Market Town", as
it is where the many surrounding villages held their central market on that
specific day of the week. It
then became known by the Persian translation "Ezinepazar", which was
transformed to "Inepazar"
in the local dialect. The area residents refer to the han as either the "Inepazari Han" or the
Han" after the name of the member of the local prominent family who restored the han in the Ottoman era.
1238-46 (by assimilation to the dates of the other hans built by Mahperi Hatun; see below)
According to the inscription of three lines on the white marble plaque over the main door, this mosque was restored in 1650 through donations by Mehmed Cavuş. The rough rubble walls were repaired and the side walls were also reinforced with supporting beams.
The current han bears little evidence of the original plan, but remains interesting because of its historical attribution. It original plan must have resembled the Çakallı or Cifltlik hans, 2 other hans commissioned by Mahperi Hatun (now in ruins).
Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II
The original Seljuk inscription plaque has been lost. La Boullaye Le Gouz, a French traveler visiting the han in 1647 (thus before the restoration by Mehmed Cavuş) states that he could read the name "Alaeddin" on the inscription plaque in place at the time. This testimony, as well as some other traditional sources, have always led to the assumption that the han was commissioned by Mahperi Hatun, wife of the Sultan, sometime between 1238-1246. This attribution is generally considered to be correct. Mahperi Hatun was the wife of Alaeddin Keykubad I and mother of Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II. It is one of 7 hans attributed to her.
Covered, no courtyard (C)
The han has a rectangular plan. Two rows of 7 rectangular pillars divide the space into 3 parallel aisles, and thus creating 8 bays on each side. The middle aisle is larger than the two side aisles. In the middle of each bay is fireplace. The interior is covered by broken barrel vaults, and traces of the holes for the supporting beams (now missing) can be seen in the pillars.
On the north side aisle is a raised platform 1.5 meters high where visitors might sit or sleep. It can be assumed that the raised platforms existed on both sides, but traces on the south side cannot be ascertained. The central aisle was reserved for animals and loading and unloading of goods.
There are three small, high windows pierced in the entry side wall, one over the door and one in each side aisle. They are the only openings and allow only a feeble amount of light to enter the interior at best, making it very dark inside.
A double-sloped terrace serves as a rainwater drain-off for the roof. The han does not appear to have had a forecourt.
The han underwent extensive repairs in the Ottoman period, which basically entailed a complete rebuilding. The patron of the restoration was Mehmed Ağa Cavuş, the member of a prominent family of the region. He not only restored the han, but built a tekke and a hammam nearby. The present state reflects Ottoman construction techniques, rather than Seljuk. The entire building resembles an Ottoman, rather than Seljuk, han in appearance.
This is a simple, robust construction with no decoration. The main entry
portal with its white marble inscription plaque and cross-like motive in stone
serve as the only decoration to this austere utilitarian building.
Total outer area: 650 m2
Inner area of hall: 510 m2
37 x 16.50 m
STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
This han was abandoned and half-buried for many years, and was used by the town as a depot for spare parts and agricultural equipment. The han was completely restored in 2007 by the Foundations Directorate of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism.
The forecourt of the han serves as a sort of "village green" for the town of Ezinepazar. It is the site of the annual "Silk Road-Cavuş Han" Festival held in July, a lively day of music, theater, skits and civic sharing.
Acun, p. 499.
Bektaş, pp. 138-139.
Erdmann, p. 158-160, no. 46.
Gabriel, p. 68, fig. 46.
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şimşek (2008), vol. 1, p. 102.
Rice, p. 206.
Unsal, p. 49.
photos taken prior to 2007 renovation
main aisle of central hall facing west
main aisle facing east towards entry
raised platform on northern side and individual chimney
raised platform on northern side
rubble construction on north wall
Commemorative Iznik style plate commissioned by Mayor Sefer Doğru
The author would like to thank Sefer Doğru, the mayor of Ezinepazar, for his warm welcome, hospitality and generous sharing of information concerning the village and the han in August, 2006.
©2001-2013, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without written consent from the author.