Home

Visit Rome following 8 XVIIIth century itineraries XVIIIth century Rome in the 10 Books of Giuseppe Vasi - Le Magnificenze di Roma Antica e Moderna The Grand View of Rome by G. Vasi The Environs of Rome: Frascati, Tivoli, Albano and other small towns near Rome A 1781 map of Rome by G. Vasi An 1852 map of Rome by P. Letarouilly Rome seen by a 1905 armchair traveller in the paintings by Alberto Pisa The 14 historical districts of Rome An abridged history of Rome How to spend a peaceful day in Rome Baroque sculptors and their works The coats of arms of the popes in the monuments of Rome Pages on a specific pope Pages complementing the itineraries and the views by Giuseppe Vasi Walks in the Roman countryside and in other towns of Latium following Ferdinand Gregorovius A Directory of links to the Churches of Rome A Directory of links to the Palaces and Villas of Rome A Directory of links to the Other Monuments of Rome A Directory of Baroque Architects with links to their works A Directory of links to Monuments of Ancient Rome A Directory of links to Monuments of Medieval Rome A Directory of links to Monuments of Renaissance A Directory of links to Monuments of the Late Renaissance A list of the most noteworthy Roman Families Directories of fountains, obelisks, museums, etc. Books and guides used for developing this web site An illustrated Glossary of Art Terms Venice and the Levant Roman recollections in Florence A list of Italian towns shown in this web site Venetian Fortresses in Greece Vienna seen by an Italian XVIIIth century traveller A list of foreign towns shown in this web site
What's New!

Detailed Sitemap

All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page added in August 2008.


on the Long Road - Kayseri - page two
(Sultanhan)


Seljuk architecture is characterized by pishtaqs, large portals projecting from the facade of a building. In Kayseri they are associated with a medrese, a college for instruction, usually of a religious nature.

Sahibiye Medrese
Sahibiye Medrese (1267): (left) pishtaq; (right) detail of its decoration

In Islamic art in general the key aspect of a portal is its muqarna, a system of projecting niches above the actual entrance. Seljuk portals featured relatively small muqarnas, while more attention was paid to the decorative bands which frame them. In Selimiye Medrese the bands were based on geometric and vegetal designs, but in other pishtaqs also bands of calligraphy and of glazed tiles were used.

Hunat Hatun Kulliye
Huand Hatun Kulliye (1237-38)

Kulliye is an Ottoman term used to describe a complex of buildings around mosques. Huand Hatun Kulliye was commissioned by Mahperi Hatun, the wife of Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I and it includes a hammam, a medrese and a turbe in addition to the mosque.

Hunat Hatun Medrese
Huand Hatun Medrese: (left) portal; (right) courtyard and iwan

The medrese, where once Islamic Law was taught, is now a small shopping centre with a cafè where it is nice to sip a tea. Its thick walls filter the noise of Kayseri's very busy traffic. The arcaded courtyard is dominated by a large pointed-arch iwan.

Detail of the hospital of Cifte Medrese
Cifte Medrese: detail of the hospital portal showing a star-based decoration

Cifte Medrese is so named because it consists of two adjacent buildings. The eastern one was a darussifa, a medical school built by Sultan Giyaseddin Kaykhusraw in 1206. The other was founded as a hospital by his sister Gevher Nesibe Sultan, who is buried in a turbe inside the building. The complex is the oldest hospital in Anatolia. The hospital has a finely decorated southern portal. Today the building continues to serve a medical function as it is used by the administration of the Kayseri medical school.

Hacikilic Medrese and Camii
Haci Kilic Medrese and Camii: (left) overall view; (right) medrese portal

The design of Cifte Medrese influenced the construction of Haci Kilic Medrese and Camii, a nearby complex built in 1249, when the Sultanate of Rum was split into three smaller states which were all vassals of the Mongol Empire. The mosque and the adjoining medrese have identical portals (the minaret is a modern addition). Maybe because it was located outside the city wall, the complex has the appearance of a fortified site.

Kursunlu Camii
(left) Haci Mehmet Pacha Camii known as Kursunlu (lead dome) Camii (1574); (right) Rasit Efendi Library (1796)

Towards the end of the XIVth century the Ottomans conquered Kayseri, but after they were defeated in 1402 by Timur the city was assigned to the Karamanids and later on was ruled by local beys. Eventually Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) expanded the Ottoman Empire eastwards and Kayseri was annexed to it.
The introduction of Ottoman jurisdiction meant that Christian families were subject to the devsirme tax. They were exempted from joining the army, but one of their children could be taken and trained to become a member of the Janissary corps, which directly served the Sultan. The first implementation of this rule in the region of Kayseri led to the enrolment of a young man aged 23, who was to become the greatest Ottoman architect. He was given the Islamic name of Sinan. After he became the supervisor of all constructions in the Ottoman empire Mimar (Architect) or Mimar Koca (the Great Architect) were added to his name. A mosque built in Kayseri in 1574 is attributed to him (see his masterpiece at Edirne).
A later example of Ottoman art in Kayseri is provided by a library adjoining Ulu Camii (page one).

Vizir Han
Vizier Han

Nevsehirli Damat Ibrahim Pacha was the Sultan's Grand Vizier from 1718 to 1730, a period of unusual peace marked by a process of westernization of the Ottoman society. He was born in Muskara, a small village to the west of Kayseri, which he turned into a town (Nevsehir = new town). He did not forget Kayseri which in 1723 was provided with a new han. Now it is occupied by carpet sellers (upper floor), while the old stables have been turned into warehouses for storing raw wool.

Hammmam/Cesme
(left) Hammam; (right) Seyh Mueyyed Cesme (1390) also known as Asmali Cesme (grapevine fountain)

Due to its proximity to Mount Argaeus (which houses a small glacier), Kayseri had a reliable supply of water which allowed the construction of several fountains and large hammams.

Roman tomb
Roman Hypogeum (underground tomb) and XIXth century church

Kayseri is a stronghold of the most religious section of modern Turkish society and many mosques have been built in recent times to emphasize this aspect. There are however some reminders of the beliefs which were practised in its past.

Sultanhan

Sultanhan
Sultanhan

A large han outside of Kayseri on the road to Sivas was commissioned in 1232 by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I. It is the second largest Seljuk caravanserai in Turkey. As a fortified way station along the trade route, it was built of massive stone walls with only one entrance.

Rear view
Rear view

Its fortified aspect is enhanced by towers having different shapes; between them there are drain spouts carved as lions, a symbol the sultan placed at the entrance of the citadel in Kayseri (page one). From the entrance one passes through the thickness of the walls into the courtyard, in the middle of which is a small mosque set on arches above a fountain, with the prayer hall on the second floor, reached by a double stairway.

Details
Details

Return to
page one or move to:
Introductory Page
Konya
Karaman
Mut and Alahan
On the Way to Nigde
Nigde
Cappadocia
Sivas
Divrigi
Map of Turkey with all the locations covered in this website



SEE THESE OTHER EXHIBITIONS (for a full list see my detailed index).

The Last Roman EmpireRoman AnkaraThe Walls of Nicaea