Past Watch Site

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Ankara, Turkey

Built in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century during Ottoman rule of Ankara, this han, or caravanserai, was designed to accommodate traveling merchants. Unlike most other hans, which were made of stone, this one, built on a rectangular plan around a courtyard, has a stone and timber frame, with wood floors and walls. The fact that this mostly wooden structure has been preserved is unusual. The district in which Çukur Han is located—on the south side of Ankara's citadel—had been a horse market since the thirteenth century. Since then, the area expanded to include markets for many types of goods, and became famous for the quality of its merchandise—especially mohair, fleece, and leather.

Although the building is owned by the Ankara General Directorate of Foundations, it has been abandoned and is in poor condition. Some subsidiary structures behind the building in the courtyard have been demolished, while wood floors and balustrades within the building are collapsing. Çukur Han is in a district that is also home to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and several historic buildings. It is hoped that Çukur Han can be protected and an appropriate adaptive reuse for the site can be found.


Last update: 2008