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A caravanserai (/kærəˈvænsəˌraɪ/)[1] was a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could rest and recover from the day's journey.[2] Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, especially along the Silk Road. These were found frequently along the Achaemenid Empire's Royal Road, a 2,500-kilometre-long (1,600 mi) ancient highway that stretched from Sardis
Sardis
to Susa
Susa
according to Herodotus: "Now the true account of the road in question is the following: Royal stations exist along its whole length, and excellent caravanserais; and throughout, it traverses an inhabited tract, and is free from danger."[3] Major urban caravanserais were also built along the Grand Trunk Road
Grand Trunk Road
in the Indian subcontinent, especially in the region of Mughal Delhi.

Garghabazar Caravanserai
Garghabazar Caravanserai
in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
(1681)

Contents

1 Etymology

1.1 Caravanserai 1.2 Khan

2 Caravanserai
Caravanserai
in Arab literature 3 Architecture 4 Notable caravanserais 5 Gallery 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Etymology[edit] Caravanserai[edit]

Izadkhvast
Izadkhvast
caravanserai, Fars Province, Iran

The word is also rendered as caravansary, caravansaray, caravanseray and caravansara. The Persian word کاروانسرای kārvānsarāy is a compound word combining kārvān "caravan" with sarāy "palace", "building with enclosed courts", to which the Persian suffix -yi is added. Here "caravan" means a group of traders, pilgrims or other travellers, engaged in long distance travel. The word serai is sometimes used with the implication of caravanserai. A number of place-names based on the word sarai have grown up: Mughal Serai, Sarai Alamgir
Sarai Alamgir
and the Delhi
Delhi
Sarai Rohilla railway station for example, and a great many other places are also based on the original meaning of "palace". Khan[edit]

Illustration of a caravanserai in Kashan, Iran
Iran
by Jean Chardin
Jean Chardin
in 1723

The Persian caravanserai was built as a large road station, outside of towns. An inn built inside a town would be smaller[4] and was known in Persian as a khan (خان) (from Middle Persian hʾn' (xān, “house”)). In the Middle-East the term "khan" covers both meanings, of roadside inn as well as of inner-town inn. In Turkish the word is rendered as han. The same word was used in Bosnian, having arrived through Ottoman conquest. The Greek pandocheion, lit.: "welcoming all",[5] thus meaning 'inn', led to funduq in Arabic (فندق), pundak in Hebrew (פונדק), fundaco in Venice, fondaco in Genoa and alhóndiga[6] in Spanish. Caravanserai
Caravanserai
in Arab literature[edit] Al-Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
the Arab geographer wrote in 985 CE about the hostelries, or wayfarers' inns, in the Province of Palestine, a country at that time listed under the topography of Syria, saying: "Taxes are not heavy in Syria, with the exception of those levied on the Caravanserais (Fanduk); Here, however, the duties are oppressive..."[7] The reference here being to the imposts and duties charged by government officials on the importation of goods and merchandise, the importers of which and their beasts of burden usually stopping to take rest in these places. Guards were stationed at every gate to ensure that taxes for these goods be paid in full, while the revenues therefrom accruing to the Fatimid kingdom of Egypt. Architecture[edit]

A sample floor plan of a Safavid Empire-era caravanserai

Most typically a caravanserai was a building with a square or rectangular walled exterior, with a single portal wide enough to permit large or heavily laden beasts such as camels to enter. The courtyard was almost always open to the sky, and the inside walls of the enclosure were outfitted with a number of identical animal stalls, bays, niches or chambers to accommodate merchants and their servants, animals, and merchandise.[8] Caravanserais provided water for human and animal consumption, washing and ritual purification such as wudu and ghusl. Sometimes they had elaborate baths. They also kept fodder for animals and had shops for travellers where they could acquire new supplies. In addition, some shops bought goods from the travelling merchants.[9] Multani Caravanserai
Caravanserai
which houses a restaurant and was established in the 14th century in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
was constructed in a square shape. It has very ancient style with balconies around the courtyard.[10] Notable caravanserais[edit] Further information: List of caravanserais

Akbari Sarai, Lahore Garghabazar Caravanserai, Kharabakh, Azerbaijan Büyük Han Caravanserai
Caravanserai
of Sa'd al-Saltaneh Manuc's Inn, Bucharest, Romania Khan al-Tujjar (Mount Tabor) Khan al-Tujjar (Nablus) Khan al-Umdan Khan As'ad Pasha Khan Jaqmaq Khan el-Khalili Khan Sulayman Pasha Khan Tuman Rabati Malik, Uzbekistan Orbelian's Caravanserai, Armenia Nampally Sarai, Nampally, Hyderabad, India Zeinodin Caravanserai, Zein-o-din, Yazd, Iran

Gallery[edit]

Interior of the Caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh
Caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh
in Qazvin, Iran

Caravanserai
Caravanserai
of Shah Abbas, now Abbasi Hotel, in Isfahan, Iran. View is from the courtyard (sahn).

Fallujah's Caravanserai
Caravanserai
in use, ca. 1914

Inside the Orbelian's Caravanserai, Armenia

Caravansara Sangi in Zanjan, Iran

A caravansara in Karaj, Iran
Iran
of the Safavid era

18th century[11] caravanserai in Sheki, Azerbaijan

Multani Caravanserai
Caravanserai
Azerbaijan

Abandoned caravansara in Neyestānak, Iran

Khan al-Umdan
Khan al-Umdan
in Acre, Israel

Khan As'ad Pasha
Khan As'ad Pasha
in Damascus, Syria

Khan al-Wazir, Aleppo, Syria

Sultan Han
Sultan Han
caravanserai.

Ruins of Bara Katra, or Great Caravanserai, in Dhaka, Bangladesh; built by the Mughal Prince Shah Shuja

Caravenserai Mosque
Mosque
in Murshidabad, India; built by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan of Bengal

Ruins of the Shaista Khan
Shaista Khan
caravanserai in Dhaka, Bangladesh; built by the Mughal viceroy Shaista Khan

Entrance to Anderkilla in Chittagong, Bangladesh

1870s drawing of the khan and old bridge at Lajjun, Palestine (now in Israel)

See also[edit]

Caravan city Islamic architecture Shaki Caravanserai, a historical monument in the Shaki Khanate, Azerbaijan Architecture of Azerbaijan Turkish architecture Persian architecture Persian gardens
Persian gardens
and bagh List of caravanserais List of caravanserais
List of caravanserais
in Azerbaijan List of Seljuk hans and kervansarays in Turkey List of streets, hans and gates in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

References[edit]

^ "Dictionary.com – caravansary". Retrieved 31 Jan 2016. ) ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Caravanserai". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ "The History - Herodotus" - http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.mb.txt ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/316248/khan ^ http://biblehub.com/greek/3829.htm ^ alhóndiga in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española ^ Mukaddasi, Description of Syria, Including Palestine, ed. Guy Le Strange, London 1886, pp. 91, 37 ^ Sims, Eleanor. 1978. Trade and Travel: Markets and Caravansary.' In: Michell, George. (ed.). 1978. Architecture of the Islamic World - Its History and Social Meaning. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 101. ^ Ciolek, T. Matthew. 2004-present. Catalogue of Georeferenced Caravansaras/Khans Archived 2005-02-07 at the Wayback Machine.. Old World Trade Routes (OWTRAD) Project. Canberra: www.ciolek.com - Asia Pacific Research Online. ^ https://www.advantour.com/azerbaijan/baku/multani-caravanserai.htm ^ Vladimir Braginskiy. Tourist Attractions in the USSR: A Guide. Raduga Publishers, 1982. 254 pages. Page 104.

The whole of the centre of Sheki has been proclaimed a reserve protected by the state. To take you back to the time of the caravans, two large eighteenth-century caravanserais have been preserved with spacious courtyards where the camels used to rest, cellars where goods were stored, and rooms for travellers.

Further reading[edit]

Branning, Katharine. 2002. turkishhan.org, The Seljuk Han in Anatolia. New York, USA. Cytryn-Silverman, Katia. 2010. The Road Inns (Khans) in Bilad al-Sham. BAR (British Archaeological Reports), Oxford. ISBN 9781407306711 Encyclopædia Iranica, p. 798-802 Erdmann, Kurt, Erdmann, Hanna. 1961. Das anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 3 vols. Berlin: Mann, 1976, ISBN 3-7861-2241-5 Hillenbrand, Robert. 1994. Islamic Architecture: Form, function and meaning. NY: Columbia University Press. (see Chapter VI for an in depth overview of the caravanserai). Kiani, Mohammad Yusef. 1976. Caravansaries in Khorasan Road. Reprinted from: Traditions Architecturales en Iran, Tehran, No. 2 & 3, 1976. Schutyser, Tom. 2012. Caravanserai: Traces, Places, Dialogue in the Middle East. Milan: 5 Continents Editions, ISBN 978-88-7439-604-7 Yavuz, Aysil Tükel. 1997. The Concepts that Shape Anatolian Seljuq Caravansara. In: Gülru Necipoglu (ed). 1997. Muqarnas
Muqarnas
XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 80-95. [archnet.org/library/pubdownloader/pdf/8967/doc/DPC1304.pdf Available online as a PDF document, 1.98 MB]

External links[edit]

Look up caravanserai in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Caravanserais.

Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, Tishineh Caravansara Pictures Consideratcaravanserai.net, Texts and photos on research on caravanserais and travel journeys in Middle East and Central Asia. Caravanserais (Kervansaray) in Turkey The Seljuk Han in Anatolia

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