Sultanhani, caravanserai on the Silk Road • Turkey

Travel back in time to the 13th century with the mesmerizing story of Sultanhani, Turkey's largest caravanserai, an essential waypoint on the historic Silk Road. In just over 6 minutes, unravel the architectural marvels, the tales of ancient merchants, and the enduring legacy of these magnificent trade relays. From the grandeur of its 13-meter high marble entrance to its strategic position between Cappadocia and Konya, Sultanhani stands as a testament to a bygone era of trade, travel, and cultural exchange. Join us on this journey, where history meets modern storytelling.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Turkey • Cappadocia 2014

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.



The gas stations and motels that line our contemporary highways are the modern version of the Roman coaching inns in Europe, the caravanserais built all along the Silk Roads, which went from the Mediterranean to China, crossing Turkey, Persia (now Iran), Central Asia and northern India.

Built every 30 or 40 kilometers, that is to say the distance covered by the caravans in one day, the caravanserai served as a relay for men and animals.

These enclosures were fortified to guarantee the safety of merchants and their goods transiting on this first-rate trade route. As the stay there was not free, these caravanserais also contributed to the fortune of the host towns.




The caravanserai of Sultanhani (which means Caravanserai of the Sultan) was built in 1229 under the reign of the Seljuk sultan Kayqubad 1st by an architect from Damascus in Syria. It was part of a set of caravanserais dating from the same period.

Burned down during the second half of the 13th century, the Sultanhami caravanserai was restored and enlarged in 1278 to become the largest in Turkey. It is nowadays also one of the most visited.


Architecture of the caravanserai


A majestic monumental entrance 13 meters high in marble overlooks the inner courtyard. In the middle of this court, a square mosque rises. The building housing the mosque rests on arches and the mosque occupies the first floor.

This courtyard was used in summer while in winter, the arcades running all around the structure served as stables in winter. The men could lodge above the stables.


about the place, Sultanhani:

The name of the village of Sultanhani in Turkey means "Sultan's Caravanserai". The village was built around one of the many caravanserais erected in the 13th century on the Silk Road. This caravanserai is one of the largest and best preserved in the region. 

Sultanhani is located between Aksaray, one of the capitals of Cappadocia and the city of Konya, capital of Turkish Sufism and famous for its whirling dervishes.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Built in the 13th century, Sultanhani is the largest caravanserai in Turkey. Caravanserais were places of rest and safety for the Silk Road caravans that transported their precious cargoes from the Mediterranean to China and vice versa. These caravans have considerably enriched their owners as well as the cities on their way.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of turkish traditional music in "Sultanhani, caravanserai on the Silk Road • Turkey", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

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mosque ceiling, Sultanhani • Turkey
outer wall of the caravanserai, Sultanhani • Turkey

outer wall of the caravanserai

mosque in the courtyard of the caravanserai, Sultanhani • Turkey

mosque in the courtyard of the caravanserai

stables for camels of the caravan, Sultanhani • Turkey

stables for camels of the caravan

courtyard of the caravanserai, Sultanhani • Turkey

courtyard of the caravanserai

Sultanhani, Cappadocia • Turkey

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