Summary of Research The building selected for this assignment is Sultan Han Caravanserei, Kayseri. It is an Islamic building located in Turkey. The fortified structure of the building was built during the 13th century by a renowned Syrian architect. Sultan Han Caravanserei was destroyed by a fire, but its restoration took place in 1278. Since that time the building has transformed into the largest caravanserei based in Turkey (Jarzombek, Prakash and Ching 18). The historical importance of the building reflects in the popular use of caravanserais in Turkey, as this practice dates from the 10th century. Buildings like the one chosen for this assignment were suitable for accommodation provided to merchants because of the trade across the country.
Description and Comparison
Sultan Han Caravanserei, Kayseri represents one of the proper examples of Anatolian Seljuk architecture. The name of this architecture comes from the time of the Seljuks’ rule in the Middle East and Anatolia. Different influences can be witnessed in this form of architecture. In order to describe the building of Sultan Han Caravanserei, Kayseri, it is important to mention that people can enter the khan from the east side. Elements of marble can be seen from various angles of the building. The front wall is quite wide, creating the impression of a large building and massive construction. A significant aspect of decoration used by the architect is that of muqarnas corbels, along with some geometrical patterns. The open courtyard of the building makes it quite practical especially in summers (Jarzombek, Prakash and Ching 38). The decorated archway is another important element of the caravanserei because it creates a feeling of vast space and openness which is enjoyed by visitors. The numerous geometric designs present sophisticated perceptions about the importance of the building itself. There is also a mosque in the shape of a square stone, which is actually the oldest example of similar constructions in Turkey. Compared to other similar buildings, Sultan Han Caravanserei, Kayseri impresses with its unique structure and design, which brings plenty of visitors every year.
Critical Reflection
If the authors of the textbook had included the discussed building, this would change the overall story they tell about the respective historical period. This is because individuals may alter their perceptions of similar buildings in a positive way by borrowing certain architectural elements from the past. The high walls of local stone designed by the architect come to show the symbolic meaning of the building, which is to facilitate trade routes at that time (Jarzombek, Prakash and Ching 80). The geometric shapes create a strong impression of the practicality of the building, as it is mostly intended to shelter the travelling merchants as well as their camels and horses. The elaborate decoration of the main portal is also done symbolically so that visitors may pay attention to the importance of the building which is perceived as a shelter.
By including this building in the textbook, the authors could have changed the overall direction of history of trade in Anatolia at that ancient times. Sometimes providing different architectural solutions can help people change their views about the importance and functions of architecture as a whole. Sultan Han Caravanserei, Kayseri is one of those buildings which successfully place importance on the need to bring out fresh perspectives into design and practicality of such constructions (Jarzombek, Prakash and Ching 87). The architect of this building has demonstrated significant efforts to encourage people to view the architectural construction from a different light. It should be viewed as an example of art rather than being only considered in practical terms.

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  • Jarzombek, Mark, Vikramaditya Prakash and Francis Ching. A Global History of Architecture. New York: Wiley, 2010.