The Seljuk Han of Anatolia

HEKIM HAN 


 

DISTRICT

trilingual inscription plaque over the courtyard entrance

Inscription plaque over main entry door

courtyard; view onto covered section

rear view

entry to hamam

44 MALATYA

LOCATION
The han is located on the Malatya-Kangal-Sivas Road, about 50 miles northwest of Malatya, in the middle of the town of the same name, Hekimhan.
[map]


OTHER NAMES
The han is known to the locals as the Taş Han.  It is also known as the Malatya Hekim Han, after the the doctor who donated it.
 

DATE
1218-20 (dated by the inscription over the covered section portal)
 

REIGN OF

This han was built during the reign of Sultan Izzeddin Kaykavus I for the hall and Alaeddin Keykubad I for the courtyard.  It was restored in 1660 during the Ottoman period by the famous Mehmed Köprülü, vizier of Sultan Mehmed IV.

PATRON
This complex was founded by the doctor of Alaeddin Keykubad I, Ebu Salim Ben Ebil-Hasan el-Sammas from Malatya. He was a Christian active in religious affairs (Hekim = doctor; al sammas  = deacon).
 

BUILDING TYPE

Covered with open courtyard (COC)
Covered section is 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 vaults
 

DESCRIPTION
The Ottoman period Köprülü hammam (1660) is located contiguous to the eastern wall of the han, and the Köprülü Mehmet Pasha Mosque is located 50 m to the southeast.

Facing northwest, this han is built of undecorated stone blocks. It consists of two sections, a square summer courtyard and a three-aisled winter hall. The center aisle measures 7.10m wide. The square shape of the courtyard is unusual, as most courtyards are rectangular.  It is surrounded on all sides by small rooms, even on the covered section side, which is again atypical.

 

Over the door to the covered section is a distinctive feature: an inscription plaque in three languages, comprised of Arabic in the middle section, Armenian on the left and Syriac on the right. The Arabic inscription, written in large nakshi lettering, gives the construction date of 615 (1218). This inscription establishes the fact that the founder was a Syriac-Christian, furnishes details on his profession and indicates that the han was built as a commercial inn for private gain.

Above the main entry door to the han (2.6m wide) is another inscription which states that the han was built during the reign of Alaeddin Keykubad, but no date is given (reign 1220-1236).

 

A third inscription is found to the right of the covered section portal, which provides a date of 1070H (1660) and concerns the renovation work. It was restored in 1660-65 under the orders of Sadrazam Abü Salim ibn Abıl Hasan Köprülü Mehmet Paşa of Malatya, the famous vizier of Mehmet IV.  The architect for the restoration was Hasan Ağa. 


Although it adheres to the typical plan of sultan hans, the Hekim han has two distinguishing features: firstly, it is extremely plain and almost devoid of decoration; secondly, the trilingual inscription in Arabic, Armenian and Syriac, located in an inconspicuous part of the hall.

The mosque was probably located in a a room on the courtyard, but following the renovations during the Ottoman period, its traces have been lost. There is a bath with accompanying furnace room in the northwest corner of the courtyard, reached from an outside entry at the rear.

DECORATION

There are numerous geometrical decorations and mason marks on the building stones. There is also a spolia stone capital over one of the arch springings on the eastern side of the central aisle of the covered section.

DIMENSIONS
1,700m2 (total internal area)
Area of hall: 550m2
Area of courtyard: 870m2 (15 wide x 17.5 deep)

STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
The han, in good condition, is located in the middle of the town, in the center of a nest of shops which form a small bazaar.  It underwent a major restoration from 2006-2009, and glassed-in shop-fronts were installed in the courtyard cells.  It is currently used by the municipality for various civic events (eg. the municipal circumcision festival in summer). There are plans (2009) to raze the small adjoining bazaar to allow a clearer space around the western area of the han.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

Acun, pp. 104-121 (includes extensive bibliography in Turkish); 501.

Altun, p. 200.
Bayrak, p. 470.
Bektaş, pp. 130-131.
Erdmann, pp. 63-67, no. 18.
Ertuğ, p. 78.
Hillenbrand, fig. 6.41, p. 552.

      Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 2, pp. 179-80.

Kuban (2002), p. 242.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the countryside surrounding Hekimhan

 

 

 

click below for more views (2009)

 

Facade and main entry portal

Main facade

Facade, view from east

Inscription plaque over main entrance door

Courtyard, covered cells, east

Entrance vestibule, eastern side

Courtyard, covered cells, east

Courtyard, exit on western side

Courtyard, view south towards entry

Courtyard, covered cells, west

View north onto courtyard from entry

Courtyard, entry to covered section

Courtyard, view north to covered section entry

Courtyard, western side

Courtyard entry to covered section

Covered section, central aisle, view south

Covered section, view to east

Covered section, view to southeast

Covered section, central aisle

Covered section, central aisle

Covered section, eastern aisle

Covered section, western aisle

Covered section, fireplace in northern wall

Spolia in covered section central aisle, east

Trilingual inscription plaque over covered section entry

Trilingual inscription plaque over covered section entry

Trilingual inscription plaque over covered section entry

Trilingual inscription plaque over covered section entry

Koprulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque to the immediate east of the han

Bath furnace, exterior northeast

Exterior, eastern wall

Downspout, eastern exterior wall

Entrance to bath

Exterior rear wall (north)

rear view

Exterior, view from east

countryside near Hekimhan

 

 

 


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