The Seljuk Han of Anatolia

KARGI HAN


 

DISTRICT

 west wall, exterior

main facade, view from west

view from east, Kayi River and bathhouse in foreground

main portal

detail, main portal, with empty inscription frame

07 ANTALYA


LOCATION
This han is located on the Antalya-Alanya road, 27 km to the north of Taşağıl, a coastal village 45 km east of Antalya. It is on the Kayı River, just past the village of Beydığın. Brown indicator signs clearly mark the road to the han through the Kprl Canyon forest [map]. It is located just below the Kesikbeli gorge. This road, linking Antalya to Beyşehir and Konya, offers the shortest route between Antalya and Konya. It has been in use since Roman times.

OTHER NAMES
Manavgat-Kargı Han.

The name of this han means the "Lance" han, a possible military reference.
 

DATE
1237-46

As the inscription plaque has been lost, this date is proposed by stylistic analysis with the Kirkgz and Şarafşa Hans, built by the same Sultan, Gıyaseddin Keyhsrev II (1236-46). This sultan was active in construction activities in the southern tier area.
 

REIGN OF

Gıyaseddin Keyhsrev II (1236-46)
 

BUILDING TYPE

Open courtyard (OC)
 

DESCRIPTION
The entrance to the han faces the south. Its large dimensions and outstanding stone workmanship are impressive. It is particularly interesting because it retains almost all of its original features, notably the raised loading dock platforms complete with fodder basins.
 

The plan consists of closed rooms on the front, rear and right sides and open rooms on the left. The closed rooms are lit by narrow slit windows in the ceiling of each one, the others have no openings to natural light.

 

Southern (front) section: there are 3 closed rooms to the right (east) of the entrance, and 2 to the left (west), which served as service rooms. The latrines were grouped in the large corner space at the left (southwestern) corner.

 

Eastern section: The 6 closed rooms on the right side of the courtyard (east side) are small (approx. 5 x 3 m). There are no interior connections between the rooms. The last room to the rear of this section, reached by 2 steps (80cm above ground level), has a mihrab niche and most probably served as the mosque. This room is larger than the others on this side (6.5 x 3.8m).


Northern (back) section: To the rear of the han, there are two arcaded closed vaults for stabling animals.

 

Western section: The 7 open cells forming the arcade on the left were most certainly used as a loading area and for storage of goods. They have slightly raised platforms in carved stone which served as loading docks. Loading activities took place on parallel bands at two different levels. The lower band on the ground contained a series of stone basins for fodder and water; the upper band (1-1.6m high) was the platform that accommodated goods and people. Loading dock platforms are a frequent feature in hans. The platforms are flat on top, and it can be assumed that the highest part of the platform, always near the entrance, was built to the height of the pack animals of different sizes (donkeys and camels). About 20 hans still have these platforms in various states of preservation, and the Kargi Han offers one of the best examples. These platforms retain almost all their original features, and comprise the most interesting feature of this han. In addition to the row of fodder basins underneath the arches, the platform is further divided into two bands, a lower one next to the basins separated by a corridor from a higher one where people spread their goods and sleeping mats.

A simple bathhouse structure, of rectangular shape, 6m wide x 10 long 5 meters, is located right in front of the han on the right (east) side of the faade. Although in ruins, one can distinguish the 3 sections: the furnace, caldarium and tepidarium.


The han is located in an isolated site, in the forests of the Kprl Canyon, along the old Alanya-Konya route. To reach this han one must climb a considerable distance. To build a han here in such an isolated spot reinforces the importance of ensuring a connecting link for the trade between the south coast and the inland.

 

The water source is the Kargi River which runs directly east of the han, and loops down around in front of it.


DECORATION

The door is simple, with little decoration. As this was a remote han, little decoration would have been lavished on it. It was built on a modest budget.
The inscription over the portal is lost, as well as the one over the portal of the large room to the right of the entrance.

There are several mason's marks on the stones. No spolia was used in the construction of the han.

The interior walls are covered with white plaster, and the walls next to the mihrab has been inscribed with images, symbols and writing. This plaster and "scatchitti" are probably not original to the han, although the researcher Scott Redford believes that it is, but fails to substantiate this argument.

DIMENSIONS
Total area: 2,500m2
Area of hall: 517m2
Area of courtyard: 785m2 (11.50 x 45m)

STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
Due to its isolated location in a protected National Park, this han is in a good state of preservation. It stands all alone in serene and stunning countryside, nestled snug among the mountains and pine forests. The babbling stream next to the han lends great charm to the setting.
 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

Acun, p. 509.

Bektaş, pp. 77-78.
Erdmann, pp. 181-184, no. 57.

Erdmann, Kurt. "Der Kargi Han bei Alanya." In Kunst des Orients III. Weisbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1959, pp. 1-12.
Hillenbrand, fig. 6.54, p. 552.

Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şiek (2008), vol. 1, p. 165-6.

Kuban (2002), pp. 241-242.
Redford, Scott. "The Kible Wall of the Kargi Hani", Adalya X, 2007, pp. 351-368.

Rice, p. 206.

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

eastern section closed cells, view from courtyard

eastern section closed cells

door frame detail, eastern cells

 western section open cells, view from courtyard

western section open cells

western section, interior piers and vaults

western section, open arcades

western section, raised platform on two levels

northern closed section, view from courtyard

southern cells, view from courtyard

view of bathhouse to east

 

Kprl Canyon setting

 

Kprl Canyon Setting





 

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