In the reign of the Seljuk Turks caravans carrying goods from the Far East roamed through the area of Anatolia. In order to facilitate the trade and support the merchants in their hard work a dense network of caravanserais (inns for travelers) was then established in Asia Minor. The last stop before the port of Antalya was Kırkgöz Han caravanserai, situated in Döşemealtı district which is today the metropolitan area of Antalya. This magnificent building has been recently renovated with the aim of hosting various events and festivities, so if you fancy a wedding, a conference or a training event in an unusual place, then you might consider this location. The name of this caravanserai - Kırkgöz - literally means "Forty Eyes" and is derived from the old name of Döşemealtı district, which is known for its many water sources.
Kırkgöz Han caravanserai was built between 1237 and 1246, during the reign of the Seljuk sultan Kaykhusraw II. The initiator of its construction was Ismat al-Dunya wa'l-Din's, the cousin and the third wife of Sultan Kayqubad I - the father of Kaykhusraw II. This information is known thanks to the inscription carved in a block of sandstone embedded in the southern gate of the caravanserai. Interestingly, the inscription is the longest preserved text of this type found on the Seljuk caravanserais in Anatolia.
The caravanserai, built from aggregate stone faced with ashlar masonry, faces the direction of Antalya. This is the third such structure built in the days of sultan Kaykhusraw II, however it is a bit different from its predecessors. The traditional plan, with an inner courtyard surrounded by open rooms, was modified by a covered, transverse section. The spacious courtyard has dimensions of 33 by 52 meters, and on both longer sides six rooms were placed. In the middle of the courtyard stands a well, and one of the rooms served, most probably, as a mosque. So far no traces of the baths, which were often erected at caravanserais, have been identified.
The rugged character of the building is emphasized by the lack of sophisticated decorations, customarily placed on the main gate of the caravanserai. However, the stone blocks, which were used to erect the building, had been cut with the utmost care and the symbols of stonemasons are visible on them. In the outer walls of the main building there are no window openings, which proves the defensive role of this caravanserai. Small slit windows are only present in the annex transverse section of the building.
Kırkgöz Han caravanserai has been preserved in an excellent shape, and for many years was used by local shepherds as a stable and a barn. In 2007 it was extensively renovated and now hosts for a variety of social events.
By car: Kırkgöz Han Caravanserai is located about 35 km north from the center of Antalya, just off D650 road to Burdur. To get to this caravanserai, turn south from D650 route, near Bıyıklı village, in the place marked by the brown signpost. After about 1.2 km you will reach the building. It is worth remembering that just 300 meters west of the caravanserai the picturesque Çubuk gorge is situated.