Damascus, SANA- Khans or caravansaries in Damascus Old City were roadside inns where travelers could rest and recover from the day’s journey.The Khans supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes.
The courtyard was almost always open to the sky, and the inside walls of the enclosure were outfitted with a number of identical stalls, bays, niches, or chambers to accommodate merchants and their servants, animals, and merchandise.
They were built in the areas which witnessed an active commercial activity in the past such as the area surrounding the Omayyad Mosque and its commercial markets in Damascus Old City and the ancient souk of Midhat Basha.
Khans were also built in the area which is located outside Bab al-Jabiya souk in Damascus Old City which used to be the starting and arrival point of merchants and pilgrims’ caravans from and to Egypt, Horan and the Arabian Peninsula.
Reader of Ancient Inscriptions at the Antiquities and Museums General Directorate Mahmoud al-Sayyed said that the first khan in Damascus Old City was built during the Umayyad reign in the 8th century A.D while the second khan was built in the Abbasid age during the 9th and 10th centuries A.D.
Many other khans were built in Damascus Old City in the 11th century A.D during the ruling of the Fatimid dynasty and a khan was built during the Seljuk reign, while in the 12th century A.D, 22 khans were built during the Zengi reign and 24 khans were built during the Ayyubid ruling between the 12th and 13th centuries A.D, al-Sayyed added.
The number of khans in Damascus witnessed a notable increase in the beginning of the 16th century A.D during which Damascus trade relations with Egypt, Iraq and Iran flourished as 80 khans were built during the Ottoman age.
The khans which were built on the roads firstly appeared during the Umayyad age while the khans which were built in the cities started to be built during the 8th century A.D and during the Abbasid reign in the 9th century.
R. al-Jazaeri/ Barry