Sultan Han Mosque

The square stone kiosk-mosque (köşk mescidi also spelled köşk mescit), the oldest example in Turkey, is located in the middle of the open courtyard of Sultanhani Caravanserai.

circa 1278 CE

The recently restored square kiosk-mosque inside the caravanserai courtyard. A construction of four carved barrel-vaulted arches supports the mosque on the second floor. At the center of the courtyard is a mescit (small mosque) raised above the tumult of animals and men. You can ascend to the mescit by either side of the twin staircase on the west side. The steps are huge.

circa 1278 CE

The mosque structure before restoration, it was restored in multiple phases. The surfaces of the piers are richly-decorated and provide a powerful sculptural effect and include octagons with central rosettes filled with different decorative ornamentation: stars, pinwheels and spirals.

circa 1278 CE

The main structure pictured here in 1971, shows most of the second floor gone, and may be some of the restoration work in process. The stone decoration of the mosque and the portals is noteworthy for its elegance and artistic mastery.

circa 1278 CE

The interior prayer space is square, and covered by a barrel vault, and lit by two windows on the east and west sides. These windows are surrounded by two decorated borders (with stars, vegetal elements, rumi split-leaves and mesh elements) and surmounted by five lines of muqarnas. The mihrab is on the southern side and has four decorated borders with half stars and 10-sided pointed polygons, and surmounted by five rows of muqarnas. Another small niche is located inside the main mihrab niche, and has three rows of muqarnas, completed by an engraved braid decoration. An interior stairway inside the wall in the northwest corner once gave access to the roof of the mosque.

circa 1278 CE

The entrance to the mosque faces the main door of the courtyard. The mosque is square in plan, measuring 7.90m on each side. It is two storeys high, with a double corbelled staircase built flush into the northern side, leading up to the muezzin’s platform and the undecorated prayer room. The steps of the double stone staircase leading to the mosque are formed as a triangle formed by six lines of muqarnas, and have rosettes underneath the steps. The door of the mosque is surmounted by an 8-pointed star vault. The door opening is set inside the wall surface of the mosque and is surrounded by two borders with half-stars and medallions of 10-pointed stars. There are spiral decorations on the surface of the arch and linear decorations composed of rosettes at the corners, surmounted by five rows of muqarnas over a flat marble lintel. The lower stones are smooth-cut limestone and the upper stones are of granite with some marble pieces interspersed among them.

circa 1278 CE

The main structure of the Sultan Han pictured here in 1971, shows most of the second floor gone, and may be some of the restoration work in process. The Sultanhani outside of Kayseri was commissioned in 1232 by Alaeddin Keykubad I. It is the second largest Seljuk caravanserai in Turkey, encompassing 3,900 square meters. As a fortified way station along the trade route, it is built of massive stone walls with only one entrance. This entrance is set in the thick wall of the caravanserai below a muqarnas niche.

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