Caravanserai

Caravanserai

Caravanserai is a Persian word meaning where a caravan breaks a journey or takes refuge. They are reputed to have been first introduced in the Achaemenid period (550-330 BC) along the Royal Road connecting Sardis to Susa, to help ease the 2,500 kilometres route. Today, we primarily associate these roadside inns with the Silk Road, for millennia the commercial artery connecting Eastern Asia to Europe.

Whether it was due to its roots in the distant past or the burgeoning urbanism of Iran during the Islamic era and the ever-increasing popular appetite for goods, the Iranians founded many caravanserais. Strategically cited along trade routes, both outside and inside the city walls, Iran’s distinctive caravanserais were built and maintained to cater for travellers and merchants and their retinues.

From very basic four-walled courtyards to luxury palatial ones, they catered for all manner of traveller and merchant. Perhaps the golden age of the caravanserais in Iran was during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great (1557-1628). He is credited with understanding the role of trade in maintaining and developing his kingdom ahead of others and instructed and financed the construction of many caravanserais. Shah Abbas left a perpetual endowment for these caravanserais to be maintained and to offer free shelter to less fortunate travellers.

 

 

 

 

 

From very basic four-walled courtyards to luxury palatial ones, they catered for all manner of traveller and merchant. Perhaps the golden age of the caravanserais in Iran was during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great (1557-1628). He is credited with understanding the role of trade in maintaining and developing his kingdom ahead of others and instructed and financed the construction of many caravanserais. Shah Abbas left a perpetual endowment for these caravanserais to be maintained and to offer free shelter to less fortunate travellers.

 

Up and down the country these caravanserais are protected through heritage listing and are given new leases of life as commercial centres championing local crafts, art galleries and museums or as they were originally intended, as hotels and inns. The caravanserais of Meybod, Deh Namak, Shah Abbasi of Kermanshah, Qasr Bharam in Semnan, TiTi in Siahkal and Zein al-Din in Yazd are excellent examples.

 

 

 

 

Land of Turquoise Domes has inspected a number of Iran’s working caravanserais to offer our visitors an authentic experience of these thousand year old inns.

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