A caravansary on the way from Konya to Aksaray 40km/25mi before the city. It was built by Sultan Alaattin Keykubat I during the Seljuk period, in 1229. It has two sections, one open with a courtyard and another covered. It is the largest of all Seljuk caravansaries in Anatolia with an area of 4,800 sq m / 1.2 acres.
Sultanhan is a monumental caravansary which looks like a fortress. The entrance is through a huge, geometrically decorated portal. The courtyard is surrounded by an arcade of rooms on the left and covered places on the right. In the middle is a small mosque. The entrance to the second part is through another portal which is located on the fourth wall. The center of this second part is barrel-vaulted, containing cathedral-like aisles covered with a dome and capped by an octagonal conical roof.
These are public buildings built on the caravan routes for trade in normal times and for military use in times of emergencies. Because they were made to be utilized by the caravans, the distances between them were arranged according to the usual distance a camel could walk. A caravan could walk for about a day, and would not want to continue at night time. This meant that caravansaries were needed every 25-40km/15-26mi.
The Anatolian Seljuks particularly understood the importance of trade and did a lot to encourage it. In these buildings they provided the caravans with every possible service such as places to sleep, hamams, mosques, doctors and veterinarians, kitchens, coffeehouses, libraries, etc. There were times in which any service was free of charge for the sake of active trade. For example, they even gave animals without charge to people who may have lost them.
The rulers of caravansaries were responsible for security. As a general rule they closed the gates at sunset and did not open them until sunrise unless they were sure that no belongings of people had been lost. According to the weather conditions, people sometimes had to share the covered section with animals. In such cases the smell of animals was lessened by using a variety of incenses.
Today there are approximately 120 caravansaries still standing in Anatolia.
Ihlara Canyon is a deep, narrow river gorge cut through the tufa by the Melendiz River. The river running through the Ihlara Canyon at its lowest level is still contributing to the erosion of it. The canyon runs for 20 km / 12 miles offering one of the most enjoyable trekking routes to those people who can spare the minimum of half a day.
The canyon is approximately 150 m / 500 ft below the ticket office and reached by more than 300 steps. It has to be noted that the way back is not an easy climb. In the canyon there are about 60 churches, monasteries and cells of anchorites. There are a few major churches which are easier to reach.
It is a cruciform church with two small aisles and an apse. Due to a few collapses the entrance to the church is from the altar section. In the dome there is a fresco of Christ in a mandorla being carried up to heaven by four angels. It is in primitive style, the faces orange and white with eyes unfocused and empty.
It is a cruciform church with a horseshoe-shaped apse. It has a burial chamber in the north side. There is not enough light inside the church so the visitor might need a flashlight.
The name comes from the abundant hyacinths around the church. Sumbullu Kilise has a domed single nave and was part of a two-storied monastery, the upper floor being living quarters. The arched doorways which are divided by pillars and linked with an architrave in the facade of the church carry the traces of Persian influence.