Anatolia has always hosted many important routes that connect trade routes and distant territories with each other, allowing different civilizations and cultures to meet. Some roads in the region crossed cities, mountains and hills from east to west, or vice versa, and offered different views to travelers throughout history. During the Seljuk state, there was an important route from the capital Konya to the Mediterranean region which had many caravanserais for its travellers. This route passed through Taşağıl, Kargı Inn, Beldibi Inn, Atizi, Çaltıkuyu, Gelintaşı and Demirkapı respectively and reached Tol Inn on Eynif Plain, located in Ibradı District of Antalya Province. Also known as Tol Han, it was the main halt for caravans before crossing the Taurus Mountains and moving from the Mediterranean to Anatolia.
Archaic city of Antalya and its caravanserai
Apart from being the center of tourism today, Antalya was also an important city at the time since it was the point of intersection of trade routes throughout history. It is one of the archaic cities of the Mediterranean.
Antalya was connected to the central Anatolia region via Kesikbeli. The Kesikbeli road was a mountain pass that connected Alanya, Manavgat and Antalya regions to Beyşehir region from west of Ibradı. Kesikbeli was a road that crossed the Taurus Mountains through the Demirkapı Pass. Therefore, it connected Antalya and Konya during the Seljuk period.
There were 11 caravanserais in total between Kesikbeli of Antalya and Beyşehir of Konya at the time. As these caravanserais served people on the road that connected the capital Konya with the piers of Antalya and Alanya, which were one of the most popular trading centers in Anatolia, they had great significance for the Seljuk Empire. Accordingly, the Rum Seljuk Sultanate paid special attention to the construction of comfortable caravanserais in order to ensure the safe circulation of the goods they produced and imported, and to provide caravans and people with security and accommodation.
Although caravanserais were originally built for military purposes, with the growing importance of trade, the purpose of their use changed over time to housing. These buildings, erected at regular intervals on major trade routes, were the only safe havens for travelers and merchants. And in the plain of Eynif in Antalya, Tol Inn welcomed passengers in the time of the Seljuks.
Tol Inn and architectural structure
The lush plain of Eynif extends over the Taurus Mountains, which sharply separate the Mediterranean and Anatolia. The plain, which today attracts attention with its yılkı horses, or free-roaming Anatolian horses, was once an important trade route. For this reason, it is possible to see the ruins of other caravanserais on the plain of Eynif.
The remains of Tol Inn are the most interesting among others. This small caravanserai on the plain of Eynif having been largely destroyed, its epitaph cannot be found. However, it is known that Tol Inn was a caravanserai built during the Seljuk period in the first half of the 13th century.
The caravanserai, which has a structure of five sahns (a courtyard in Islamic architecture), extends in the east-west direction. The two outermost sahns and the central sahn are wide and the two sahns between them are narrow.
The monumental low-arched gate on the east side is the entrance to the caravanserai. Its jambs are made of cut stone and its lowered vault is one of the remains of the caravanserai which have survived to the present day. Almost half of the crown door is buried in the ground.
The exterior walls of the body of the building have survived to the present day. Three triangular support towers are located on the south and north sides and two on the east side. There are also towers on either side of the west side gate that reach to roof level.
With its architectural structure and its open and closed courtyards, Tol Inn belongs to a group of concentric inns gathered in one place.
How to get there?
Tol Inn is located near the village of Başlar in the Ibradı district of Antalya. After reaching Antalya by plane or otherwise, you can go to the village of Başlar by car, then continue on the flat plain of Eynif to reach the hostel. Especially in rainy weather, it will be useful to pay attention to swamps.
When you visit the ruins of Tol Inn, close your eyes for a moment and imagine being a passenger staying in a caravanserai in the past.