Susuz Caravanserai – Bucak, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Susuz Yolu is an unassuming rural village along the Antalya-Burdur highway. Surrounded by farmland and pleasant hills, this village is a collection of private farmhouses clustered around its center, whose area is about 500 by 500 meters. Just before reaching the town center, a discolored sign points to Susuz Kervansarayı. A short drive through the village leads to the caravanserai, a type of roadside inn for caravaners to rest and recover from their journeys. The first thing that stands out is its sheer size—it may not be the biggest caravanserai in the world, but in this tiny village, it looks gigantic.

Yet, the size makes sense. It is approximately 74 kilometers from Antalya, beyond the beautiful mountains extending along the route. Nowadays, this is a charming stretch of winding roads, but in the old times, this route must have been exceedingly challenging. 

Susuz Han was built in the 13th century under the reign of Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II, and it exhibits features characteristic of the Seljuk architectural period. On the left side of entrance, an inscription enigmatically states that “the builder of this structure is”, with the rest of the inscription erased by the elements.

Facing east, this structure was probably one side of a courtyard, enclosed by buildings no longer in existence.  Measuring about 20 meters by 20 meters, it has three naves and a large, high dome in the center. Perpendicular to the naves are five vaulted aisles. If the front door is closed, the building is shrouded in darkness, as it is only provided with few narrow openings allowing natural light to enter.

On the exterior of the building, you can see superb stonework. In line with the Seljuk tradition, the centerpiece of the façade is the portal, which is adorned by intricate geometric patterns and crowned by a set of niches.  Upon closer scrutiny, angels, dragons and lions can be made out among the decorations.

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June 2, 2021

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