Largest caravanserai in Anatolia to be restored
AKSARAY – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe Sultanhanı caravanserai, which is located on the Aksaray-Konya road in Central Anatolia and is reputed as the largest one in Anatolia, will undergo restoration after 60 years.
Sultanhanı was built eight centuries ago by Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat on the Silk Road to serve as an accommodation and a secure point for those travelling the trade route.
The Historical Caravanserai Restoration and Environmental Arrangement project will start next month and is expected to cost 6 million Turkish Liras. As part of the project, places for carpet weaving, textile ateliers and a carpet museum will be opened inside the venue.
Cengiz Tekinsoy, the Environment Ministry’s deputy general director of Cultural and Natural Heritage, said Sultanhanı held significance for them as it was located in the Salt Lake Special Environment Protection Area. He said the general directorate carried out works to meet the needs of all settlements in the special protection area. He said the caravanserai was a special heritage for Turkey.
“It is one of the rare historical buildings in our country. The restoration here will be very important for the district and the protection of artifacts here. Experts have done their presentations for the project. A decent project has been done. Starting from this year, we will give a budget of 2 million liras, out of a total of 6 million liras. The municipality will be in charge of the tender and the inspection. In accordance with the protocol, we will provide financial support. It has not been put out to tender yet, so it is not definite, but we foresee the work will end in three years,” he said.
Tekinsoy said the region would be renowned with the caravanserai after the restoration makes it a cultural, touristic and social facility, adding great contributions to the region.
Half a million tourists every year
Sultanhanı Mayor Fahri Solak said the last restoration work was carried out in the caravanserai 60 years ago, noting that it would be restored to its original state.
“This is the biggest signature of the Anatolian Seljuks on the Aksaray-Konya road. It is visited by 500,000 Turkish and foreign people in a year. We have been working on the restoration of the caravanserai since I’ve taken office. The Environment Ministry took action. Perhaps, it is the first time the ministry will restore a Seljuk artifact,” he said.
Solak said the works are expected to be initiated in March.
“The stone gate in front of the caravanserai will be completed. It is missing a part of some 2.5 meters. Works will be made on the upper floors to stop water leakage from the roof. The project also includes the carpet, copper and textile weaving ateliers. It will become a social and cultural venue,” he said.