31 Mar Caravanserais
There was no better way to soften the march. The long hours between arid steppes, deserts and rocky mountains, exposed to intense heat or cold, could exhaust the toughest of traders, pilgrims and adventurers. At the beginnings, they were a few, then the way got populated of these inns, called since then “caravanserais” or “caravasars”. According to the estimated distance that a caravan used to make in a day, the inns were placed about 30 kilometers apart: a roof and shelter for the night, store the load and allow the beasts to rest.
Today, passing through the caravanserais of Cappadocia, in the heart of Anatolia, it is impossible not to imagine, if not revive them, full of life, hosting hundreds of men and animals, the smoky kitchens, the clink of tea glasses, the blacksmiths, the fires, exchanges and intrigues, table games and times of prayer. They are beautiful buildings, made especially to serve the men of the road, to give them a blanket, shoes and food while providing a common space where sharing the rest and leisure.
At 5 kilometers southeast from the town of Avanos, in Aksaray-Kayseri route, is the Saruhan or Sarıhan (“The Yellow Inn”), with two thousand square meters, stone walls and beautiful red and yellow decorative figures, according to the fashion of the time and the style of the region. Here, every night take place a whirling dervish ceremony and their spiritual dance Shema. You can easily book the tour with transportation included. The experience is amazing! Where centuries ago caravan’s bustle thronged, today you can enjoy a moment of peace and bliss, watching the followers of Mevlana with their beautiful white dresses billowing in the wind while spinning steadily with body and mind to achieve perfection. After the ceremony, about an hour long, “Serbet” is provided, a refreshing drink made from fruits, flowers and spices.
Aunque quedaron prácticamente abandonados una vez que los europeos comenzaran a explotar nuevos caminos para la Ruta de la Seda, los caravanserais de Capadocia permanecen en pie y han sido restaurados periódicamente. Entre sus altos muros, pensados para proteger el sitio de bandidos y ladrones, hoy se pasean turistas de todas partes del mundo y algún que otro aventurero de estos tiempos… tras el eco de las antiguas caravanas.
Although they were practically abandoned once Europeans began to exploit new routes for the Silk Road, the caravanserais of Cappadocia still stand and have been restored periodically. Among its high walls, designed to protect the site from bandits and thieves, today tourists from all over the world and some other adventurous of these days wander around… following the echo of the ancient caravans.