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SULTANHANI

The Sultan's han                                          Population: approx 14,000

ault5Market day: Friday

In the middle of the Anatolian plain, midway between Konya and Aksaray, stands the small town of Sultanhanı, famous for two things: its vast caravanserai and its carpet repairmen. 

The caravanserai, with its typically splendid portal adorned with stalactite decoration, was built in 1229 for the Selçuk Sultan Alaadin Keykubad I. Restored after a fire in 1278, it was at that time the largest  caravanserai in the country.

Its layout is absolutely typical: the portal leads into a courtyard with a raised mescid in the centre and rooms opening off all the way around - those on the righthand side of the courtyard have a portico in front to serve as protection in bad weather. ault6

Sultanhanı has a rather forlorn air brought on by the fact that it's almost too easy a stop-off point for coach tours for whom there are plentiful facilities in the restaurant facing the caravanserai.

In the back streets a few simple mud-plastered houses with thatched roofs survive but most are either abandoned or used for storage.

Sleeping

There are a couple of simple pensions cum campsites and a hotel here although people usually prefer to press on east to the heart of Cappadocia. A second hotel was due to open in May 2014.

Kervan Pansiyon and Camping. Tel; 0531-591 2476

Sultansaray Han Hotel. Tel: 0382-242 2323

ault7Transport info

A reasonable number of buses ply the route from Konya to Aksaray and vice versa, but if you want to break the journey en route to see the caravanserai you should either start out early in the day or buy the onward ticket before setting off rather than risk being stranded by the roadside - a shadeless and hot prospect in summer.

Local minibuses also connect Sultanhanı with Aksaray every half-hour on weekdays and every hour at weekends. The last bus back to Aksaray leaves around 4.30pm. In Aksaray they leave from the street in front of the old bus station across the road from Migros.

Day trip destinations

Aksaray

Konya

Obruk

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/pat-yale_345904_the-carpet-men-of-sultanhani.html

 ault8Sultanhanı architecture old and new

 

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