Numerous books have been written about caravansaries, introducing almost every specimen for a deeper, more accurate, understanding of the architecture of Iranian caravansaries. This text focuses on countryside caravansaries. Urban caravansaries, which often occur in combination with bazaars buildings. Countryside caravansaries are built beside desert roads and bear essential differences with urban ones as regards their architectural features, spatial organization, function and environment.
Iran’s location at the heart of the ancient world, as the major link between the orient and the occident. And made the travelling a highly important issue in this country. As powerful centralized government, economic prosperity and flourishing trade depend on safe and comfortable travelling, the Iranians soon come up with various solution in this domain. One such solution was to build and constantly maintain, a multitude of caravansaries throughout the country. Travelers have commented on the vital role of caravansaries and attested to the secure and restful abodes they had offered them against sandstorms, scorching desert heats, snow tempests and brigands.
Caravansaries were commissioned by rulers, governments and benevolent individuals. They were usually built beside busy roads, using locally available materials such as mud, raw bricks, fired bricks and stones, alone or in combination. Water was a vital element in a caravansary’s life and easy access to water played a major role in the choice of its site. A water cistern was built inside or nearby every caravansary.
They were simple and unpretentious buildings. Four long, tall, windowless walls and occasionally two towers in the middle of its long walls, gave the caravansary a fort-like appearance. The building’s only decorated exterior element was it’s distinguishing entrance. Walls had simple arcades. These arcades provided shaded platforms where passerby could rest for a while. At the center of the caravansary was the main courtyard, which had a regular geometric and it was usually rectangular in shape. The courtyard was encircled by chambers, and each chamber was usually fronted by a semi-open area. Behind the attractive regular facades of the courtyard stood stables, which were usually accessed from the corners of the courtyard. Rooms for animal-keepers existed at these entry points. In this way, the travelers could rest in their chambers away from the animal-keepers’ company. The development of caravansaries is correctly regarded as the great victory of Iranian civilization. Also without doubt, which a study of these forsaken structures clearly reveals, is that Iranian architects have devoted their utmost capabilities to create stunning buildings out of simple, rough materials.