The Seljuk Han of Anatolia
View of main entry portal
View showing kiosk mescit mosque in courtyard and group of side cells
Kiosk mosque and view of portal leading to covered section
Group of side cells in courtyard
This han is located on the Afyon-Akşehir Road, about 67 km east of Çay in the town of Sultandağı.
1249-50 ( dated by an inscription of 5 lines on the hall door)
The inscription of the hall door reads: "Built in the time of Izzeddin al-Dunya, son of Kay Khosrau, son of Keykobad, by his humble slave Ali ibn Husain".
There is another inscription over the courtyard door which states the same information, but qualifies Sahip Ata as "His humble slave who has sinned".
Izzeddin Keykavus II
The Seljuk vizier Fahreddin Ali ibn Husein (Fakhr al-Din Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Abu Bakr) known as Sahipata (d. 1288).
Sahip Ata is considered the greatest Seljuk patron of architecture of the post-Kösedağ era of the second half of the thirteenth century. His patronage has graced Turkey with three of its most impressive and beautiful monuments: the Konya Larende Sahip Ata Complex, the Sivas Gök Medrese and the Konya Ince Minare. He was one of the most important and powerful Seljuk statesmen of the period of the Mongol Protectorate (after 1243), holding a succession of high offices in the Seljuk administration between 1250-51 and his death in 1288. He is the last of the great statesmen figures of the Seljuk period, along with Celaleddin Karatay and Shams al-din Isfahani. The region of Karahisar on the western frontier was conferred on him and his family at the beginning of the Mongol period, and it is here that he and his sons appear to have been particularly active as builders.
We know by the epigraphical evidence that this famous vizier also built the:
Tas Medrese in Akşehir (1250),
Konya Larende Sahipata Cami and complex (1258-1284),
Sahibiye Fountain (1266) and Medrese (1267) in Kayseri
Bath Complex at Ilgin (1267, no longer extant),
Gök Medrese in Sivas (1271),
Sahip Ata Tomb in Konya (1283).
Numerous other foundations have been attributed to him, and include the Ince Minareli Medrese in Konya (c. 1265) and the Sahip Ata Hammam in Konya, and numerous others, now no longer standing.
This would appear to the first han he built (his han at Ilgin is now lost).
Covered with open courtyard (COC)
Covered section is smaller than the courtyard
Covered section with central aisle and 2 aisles on each side
5 bays of vaults
The han faces west, and lies perpendicular to the road. The entrance door is to the north
The han is of the classic courtyard and covered section plan (winter and spring sections), complete with a free-standing kiosk mescit mosque in the middle of the courtyard. It is made of cut stone, with very thick walls. There are slit windows in the walls. The mosque is turned 20 degrees to fit the axis of the qibla wall. There is also a well in the middle of the courtyard.
To the west of the courtyard is a small group of two aisles of cells.
There is a lantern dome in the middle of the covered section.
This han has been thoroughly researched by Dr. Dicle Aydin, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Selcuk University at Konya. Her research was published (in Turkish) in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Academic Studies of Turkish Islamic Civilisation. I would like to thank Dr. Aydin for giving me the permission to reproduce her article on this webpage. It contains an extensive bibliography in Turkish.
Uysal, Mehmet, Aydın, Dicle, Çınar, Kerim and Arat, Yavuz. "Afyon Sultandağı Sahip Ata Kervansarayı." Turk-Islam Medeniyeti Akademik Araştirmalar Dergisi 2, March 2006, pp. 77-112.
There is an elaborate entry door with a pointed arch filled with stalactites.
There are rounded towers at the entry to the courtyard.
Total area: 1800m2
Area of hall: 440 m2
Area of courtyard: 1,100m2
STATE OF CONSERVATION, CURRENT USAGE
The han is in good shape, some restoration of the exterior walls. It is run as an open-air museum by the Turkish government and is open for visits.
Sultandağı was the epicenter of a 6.0 earthquake on February 3-4, 2002, which destroyed much of the town's center, but the han remained standing.
This han has undergone an extensive restoration project, led by Dr. Dicle Aydin of the Selcuk University in Konya. This restoration project, which started in 2005, was completed in 2009. Most of the work involves stone-by-stone reassembly of the kiosk mescit. For pictures of the restoration project, please visit Dr. Aydin's article supra. The han is currently (2009) closed for visits pending the completion of the restoration work.
Acun, p. 505
Altun, p. 200
Bayrak, p. 28
Erdmann, p. 143-145, no. 38
Karpuz, Kuş, Dıvarcı and Şimşek (2008), p. 52.
Rice, p. 206
Uysal, Mehmet, Aydın, Dicle, Çınar, Kerim and Arat, Yavuz. "Afyon Sultandağı Sahip Ata Kervansarayı." Turk-Islam Medeniyeti Akademik Araştirmalar Dergisi 2, Konya: Selcuk University Press, March 2006, pp. 77-112.
©2001-2011, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without written consent from the author.