The nomadic Turks streamed into Anatolia starting with the 9th century A.D. The war of Manzikert (1071) which took place between the Seldjuk Turks and the Byzantine army is accepted to be the final defeat of the Byzantinians and the last obstacle for the Turks to get hold of the peninsula. The following centuries witnessed great wars between the Seldjuk Turks, the Byzantine empire, and the Crusaders. The Seldjuk Turks who lost their first capital İznik (Nicea) during one of the crusades, moved their capital to Konya (Ikonium) in central Anatolia.

The Seldjuk empire was the first state founded by Turks on Anatolian soil. The Seldjuk empire which had a relatively short life but startles us with fabulous political, military, commercial, and architectural success and monuments, paved the way to the following Ottoman empire. The Seldjuks had conquered Kayseri in 1082 and built a number of monuments also in Cappadocia. The most significant of these are the Grand Mosque of Kayseri (1135-1150), the Alaeddin Mosque in Aksaray (1156), the Double Medrese (school) in Kayseri (1202), the Kayseri School of Medicine (1206), the Alaeddin Mosque in Niğde (1206), the Sahibiye Medrese in Kayseri (1268), and the Sungur Bey Mosque in Niğde (1268). But the most outstanding monuments of the Seldjuk period are undoubtedly the caravanserais. The Seldjuk Turks who established commercial relations with other Islamic countries and conquered Sinope (1204) at the Black Sea coast and Attalia (1207) at the Meditteranean, sought to expand the volume of trade and to guarantee the security and comfort of the travellers. This outlook led to the construction of the caravanserais of immense artistic importance. The number of caravanserais built upon the road between Konya and Kayseri reached 20. The Seldjuk Turks for whom trade was of extreme significance, offered travellers food, shelter and medical services since the reign of Sultan Kılıçarslan II. The mosques, baths, hospitals, and stud farms of these caravanserais show clearly that these monuments were not only meant for travellers. They were usually built 30-40 kilometers away from each other, and were fortified with high walls and watch towers for military purposes. They offered comfort and security at times of peace, but at war they were the headquarters of the empire’s military personnel.

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