It is well known that an evolved network of trade routes criss-crossed pre-Islamic Anatolia in the Seljuk era (11th -13th century AD), running from North to South, and from the Aegean towards the Far East. However, less is known about where travellers stayed and in what conditions. During the 12th century, leaders in the region invested in making the transport of merchandise and people as safe as possible and built approximately 30 caravanserais (also known as Khans or Ribats) in Anatolia before 1243. These ‘staging posts’ could be found every 40 km or so, the maximum distance that travelled by camel or mule in one day. The caravanserais usually took the form of a walled courtyard with porticos that connected resting cells for more prestigious travellers and stables, where most travellers slept alongside their animals. Sometimes a mosque was built. These caravanserais that were dotted along the Silk Route helped Anatolian trade to develop at this time.

Related Information

  • Route:
    Prof. Dr. Rahmi Hüseyin Ün
    Middle Ages
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    International Seminar for UNESCO Integral Study of the Silk Roads: Roads of Dialogue: “The influence of the Silk Roads on Turkish Culture and Art”. 30, October, 1990. Izmir, Turkey.