Khan al-Basha

The Khan al-Basha (خان الباشا), literally 'inn of the Pasha' or the 'Pasha Caravansary', is a 17th century CE historic caravanserai in the city of Nazareth. At one time in its history it was the most important caravanserai (caravan station) in Nazareth. Originally built in 1600s the Khan was renovated in 1812 CE by Abdullah Pasha, as is currently used as an office/shops complex. It's located on the Khan el-Basha street, which leads to the market and to the Basilica of Annunciation. It is managed by the White Mosque Trust.

Overview

The Khan el-Basha was the biggest, most impressive of the five khans built in Nazareth, that served the merchants and travellers passing through the city, being the commercial heart of the city. It is named after Suleiman Basha, governor of Nazareth, who repaired the khan in 1814 CE. It was constructed at the entrance to Nazareth. Today it is located some 900 meters south-west of Mary's well and less than 100 meters south of the Church of Annunciation.

Historically the Khans (inns or caravanserai) majorly evolved during the Mamluk Era (1260-1516 CE) thanks to the prosperity of trade. They were built along major roads, especially those between Damascus and Cairo, offering lodging for caravans and passers-by. These caravanserai became a safehaven for people traveling along these roads. They also became collecting points for road tolls and part of the postal system of the Empire. Urban khans became commercial markets as well as providing storage room for merchandise and animals.

According to a tradition, two sons of Saladin's sister took part in the Battle of Hattin with and were wounded during the fighting. Subsequently they were removed to Nazareth where they died, and were buried on either sides of Khan al-Basha.

Architecture

circa 1800 CE

The Khan was built of one floor and contained rooms around a courtyard that was used in the old days as stables for horses, camels and donkeys belonged to the traders who came to Nazareth for trading and business purposes and stayed in the Khan. Some thirty years ago the second floor was added to the structure.

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