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SILK industry
, had taken a very important place of various nations from ancient times; and silk and spice coming from Far East, had played an important role for Western world in international relations. Silk is also maintained the identification of Eastern Culture by Western societies.

Transportation of silk and spice of east via caravans, is formed the commercial roads reaching to Europe from China. In Medieval Age, commercial caravans, had started to their voyages from today's Chinese Xian city, and reach to the Kashgar city of Uzbekistan; they were reaching to Hazar Sea from Afghanistan plains with following the first one of the roads separated into two there; and to Anatolia over Iran with climbing over Karakorum Mountains with other one. They were going to Europe via road over Thrace or via maritime lines from Anatolia.

In this commercial movement improving from east to west, a road network, used since previous ages, had been benefited. These thousands of kilometers long caravan roads, which allow cultural relations between continents besides dense transportation of silk, porcelain, paper, spice and jewelry, are named as "Silk Road" in the course of time.

Silk Road, beyond being a commercial road connecting Asia to Europe, is holding the signs of cultures, religions and races, who lived in the region for 2000 years, and serves an extraordinary history and cultural wealth. After gaining of independence of Middle Asia Turkish Republics, re - animation of silk road both as a commercial road and also a historical and cultural value is considered, and works for protection and existence of structures which are constructed throughout this road but not used today with giving them new functions, is commenced.

Silk Roads of Anatolia

Anatolia, due to its geographic location, is functioned as a gate and bridge between west and east as well as being a place on where various civilizations are founded and developed since ancient ages. As a result of this, during various periods, road webs with various directions and character such as Kings Road (VIth century B.C., Roman Era Roads (IInd century B.C.), have surrounded the Anatolia.

Transportation of silk and spice as well as other products of east to west, is formed commercial roads named as "Silk Road" today and reaching Europe from China. But, Silk Roads were not only the commercial roads but also maintained cultural relations between east and west for centuries.

Anatolia, is formed one of the most important junction points of Silk Road. During Medieval Age, silk roads have reached Europe over Thrace with passing Anatolia, which has a characteristic of being a bridge with following more than one routes in Middle Asia, beginning from China. Also, Europe is reached by maritime lines with using important harbors such as Efes and Milet, at Aegean coasts, Trabzon and Sinop, in Black Sea Alanya and Antalya in Mediterranean.

Silk Road in Anatolia:

At North:
Trabzon, Gümüşhane, Erzurum, Sivas, Tokat, Amasya, Kastamonu, Adapazarı, İzmit, İstanbul, Edirne;

At South:
Mardin, Diyarbakır, Adıyaman, Malatya, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Nevşehir, Aksaray, Konya, Isparta, Antalya, Denizli centers are followed.

It is known that Erzurum, Malatya, Kayseri, Ankara, Bilecik, Bursa, İznik, İzmit, İstanbul route is also used. Extension of Antalya - Erzurum route, composed with connections of Sivas and Kayseri on North and South routes, is connecting Anatolia to Iran and Turkmenistan.

On this commercial axis, maritime lines besides road is also used, and it is following.


In Black Sea:
Coming from North to Trabzon, Samsun, Sinop, İstanbul, Bursa, Gelibolu, Venedik over Batum;


In Mediterranean:
Antakya, Antalya, İzmir (Foça), Europe line over Syria.

After 14th century, Silk Road continued its importance, and begin to loose its vigor as a result of inventions made during New Age. On 16th and 17th centuries, after begun of cultivation of silk in Europe, it has faced with the danger of loosing its former importance. Caravans become vanish and products of Far East begun to loose their attraction with increasing maritime activities. Silk Road become not used beginning from 19th century. Seljukians who supplied the secure dispatch of rich products of east to West over Anatolia during Medieval Age, had remained the commercial activities live and increase the wealth of the state with the measures taken by them. Because commerce in Medieval Age Anatolia was among the activities which are first degree effecting the wealth of the state. Seljukians, had signed commercial agreements with foreigners; had given commercial independence to Christian merchants in Anatolian lands like Muslim merchants; and had maintained state security against robberies and all kinds of damages that they can face during their voyages. Seljukians were the first state that used "state insurance system" for securing the commercial life and also they had tried to promote commercial life with the deduction applied on custom dues.

Inn and caravansaries, are organization who played important role in this active environment. These magnificent structures who have a great impact on architecture with their appearances remembering a castle on desolate roads, their rick rock adornments and improved place designs, are carefully considered in connection with application of a strong road policy and a certain transportation program. In caravansaries constructed both during Seljukian and Ottoman periods, caravans were protected by military units. Lives and property of the voyagers were warranted during their stays in caravansaries, and there were foundations for covering the expenses incurred due to all kinds of maintenance and performance of services. These structures were the bases where reinforcement of army related with previously stocked ammunition and provisions during expedition is eased, and break points of merchants in which they had marketed their goods, besides the characteristics of voyages and commerce were under warranty and were maintaining the social solidarity. They were generally constructed with distances of 30 - 40 kilometers, not exceeding 8 - 10 hours by foot and takes a day with camels.

The ones constructed by statesmen or benefactors were known as "INN" and the bigger and magnificent ones constructed by Sultans were known as "SULTAN INN" among the accommodation organizations constructed by Anatolian Seljukians on these commercial roads. The reason for constructing rural areas established inns and caravansaries as structures similar to castles and closed to outside with their thick and dull walls at that age, was security. There were rooms for accommodation of voyagers, divisions for securing the goods and rest of their horses, small mosques, bath chambers, foundations as well as horseshoer, doctor, veterinary, cage and harness repair services within them. The passengers accommodated within inn and caravansaries can stay for three days without paying regard to their religion, language and race, and they were cured if they were sick. No charge is taken from these passengers, who were given two meals Per day, whose bath needs were covered, whose animals were cared and fed for three days, and all expenses were covered by foundations. How to be managed these foundations in their founds, what were their incomes, working conditions of their staff and their wages were mentioned clearly.

According to the results of the researches, it is determined that there were approximately 200 inns and caravansaries in Anatolia.


Important Inn and Caravansaries

Sarıhan (Saruhan): It is on the Avanos - Ürgüp road, and 25 kilometers away from Nevşehir and 6 kilometers away from Avanos. It is estimated that a Seljukian piece of art, Sarıhan is constructed on 1238. It is composed of the structure in classic sultan inns plan, summer division with square courtyard, as well as closed and rectangular shaped winter division.

Ağzıkara Inn: It is on the Aksaray - Nevşehir road, and 17 kilometers away from Aksaray, as well as it is one of the most important inns in Anatolia. It is understood that the structure, which is Sejukian piece of art and also known as Hoca Mesut Caravansary, is constructed between 1231 - 1236 from the inscription on the corolla doors of open and closed divisions. It has an impressive appearance with its monumental corolla door, its niches and geometrical motif adorned side, and shows all beauties of Seljukian rock adornment art.

Sultan Inn: Sultan Inn is on the Aksaray - Konya road and within Sultanhanı borough 42 kilometers away from Aksaray, and it is constructed by Seljukian Sultan, Ist Alaaddin Keykubad on 1229. Structure which has approximately an area of 4990 m2 with its open and closed divisions, is the biggest Seljukian caravansary in Anatolia. It is remembering a castle with its marble corolla door made up of advanced rock, and its walls supported by towers outside. Corolla door and small mosque's geometrical adornments, are the best samples of Seljukian rock adornment art.

Zazadin Inn: It is 22 kilometers away from Konya, and adjacent to 5 kilometers from Aksaray - Konya road Tömek village, and also known as Saadeddin Köpek Inn, Zazadin Han, is constructed between 1235 - 1236. Open division corolla door at south side, near to the closed division, is constructed with white and light brown rocks. During the construction of south side, lots of processed antique rock is used. There is a small mosque which has a rich rock adornment and to which you can reach by stages engraved into wall within the massive blocks of corolla door.

Kızılören Inn: Kızılören Inn is on Konya - Beyşehir road and 41 kilometers away from Konya, is constructed by Seljukian Sultan, Ist Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev between 1206 - 1207.

Ertokuş Inn: It is on Beyşehir - Eğirdir road and at Yeşilköy locality of Gelendost province. It is understood from its inscription on closed division door that it is constructed on 1233.

Susuz Inn: It is within Susuzköy of Bucak province, 2 kilometers inside of the Burdur - Antalya road. It is estimated that Susuz Inn is constructed at a date between 1237 and 1246 during IInd Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev's sovereignty period. Its most impressive part is corolla door. "Angel" and "dragon" motifs on the arches of the niches at both sides of the entrance are drawing attention.

Kırkgöz Inn: It is approximately one kilometers inside the Burdur - Antalya road and 30 kilometers away from Antalya. According to the inscription on the open division corolla door, inn is constructed at a date between 1237 and 1246 during IInd Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev's sovereignty period.

Alara Inn: It is near to the Alara castle, which took a strategic role on controlling the Mediterranean reaching roads, and 115 kilometers away from Antalya, 8 kilometers inside Antalya - Alanya road. It is constructed on 1229 - 1230 by Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad.

Hunat Hatun Mosque: It is at the city center of Kayseri, and composes a part of the külliye, constructed on 1238 by wife of Seljukian Sultan, Alaaddin Keykubad, Mahperi Hatun. Its dome and minaret had been constructed afterwards. Its corolla doors at east and west directions, are the most beautiful samples of Seljukian stone masonry. Its wooden balcony is original.

Gevher Nesibe Sultan Medical Musemum: Gıyasiye Theology School and Cure House which is in the Mimar Sinan Park in Kayseri, is constructed in connection with testament of his sister, Gevher Nesibe Sultan by Seljukian Sultan, Ist Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev during XIIIth century. It is the first applied medical school of the world.

Güpgüpoğlu Mansion: This structure is at the city center of Kayseri, and a beautiful sample for XVIIIth century civil architecture. Two layers are added to this originally single layered mansion afterwards.

Zelve Open Air Museum: Selve ruins, which is composed of three valley and 5 kilometers away from Avanos, is the most earth pillars are found place. It had become a religious center with constructed monastery and churches during iconoclastic age. Village in Zelve, which is settled till 1952, had been moved to 3 kilometers away and Zelve become an open air museum.

Göreme Open Air Museum: In Göreme Open Air Museum, which is 13 kilometers away from Nevşehir, and 1,5 kilometers away from Göreme borough, there are monasteries, pantries, kitchen, mess hall besides churches adorned with frisk and constructed with engraving into rocks during various ages.

Derinkuyu Underground City: It is on Nevşehir - Niğde road, 30 kilometers away from Nevşehir. It is founded by first Christians with the aim of sheltering. There are a big church, conference hall, sin confession chamber, ventilation shafts, pantries, barns and an earth hole oven within the underground city. It is estimated that currently 8 floors of it open for visiting, Derinkuyu is the biggest underground city of the region with its 2,5 km2 reaching area.

Ihlara (Peristrama) Valley: Ihlara Valley is formed as a result of erosion with external impacts on tuff layer formed by lava erupted from Mount Hasan during third geological period on which big changes have occurred in the world. Melendiz stream with thermal characteristic, who found its path within the cracks of this erosion convenient layers, had formed this valley with canyon appearance whose height reaches 110 meters from time to time and 14 kilometers long as a result of millions of years period. Valley, starts in Ihlara (Yeşilyurt) village, and ends in Selime village. lhlara valley, is famous with its historical places as much as its natural beauties. During the initial periods of Christianity, it became one of the most trustworthy shelters - regions of Cappadocia. Lots of churches, monastery and caverns turned into houses. It is thought that frisks in today visiting churches are painted between 9th and 13th centuries. Mostly Eastern effects can be seen on frisks made during initial period. Bizantium method is dominant on churches dated 10th and 11th centuries and dense in Belisırma village.