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an inn and trading post for caravans along the roads in the cities of Southwest Asia, Middle Asia, and Transcaucasia. Caravansaries, which have been known since antiquity, were widespread during the ninth through 18th centuries as cities grew and the caravan trade intensified.

Two types are most common: the hall caravansary and thecaravansary with an inner court. The hall caravansaries, seen inArmenia, are retangular buildings divided into naves. The mid-dle nave is designed for men and goods; the animals are kept inthe side naves. The other type has small buildings of one or a fewstories, where travelers stay with their merchandise; the build-ings open on an enclosed court, where the animals are kept.Roadside caravansaries were fortified with protective walls orelse were attached to inns or fortresses (rabats and khans). Thedevelopment of railroads and other modern type of transporthave brought about a decline in the importance of caravansarieson transit roads.

caravansary, caravanserai

interior of a caravansary
1.In the middle east, a building or inn for the overnight lodging of travelers by caravan; usually enclosed by a solid wall and entered through a large gate.
2. By extension, any large inn or hotel.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is as clear as day that there will be too few people with the discretionary income to lodge in these up-market caravansaries.
Paul; the Christian church fathers who gathered in the first seven ecumenical councils, all held on Turkish soil; the Seljuk Turks, who established their capital at Konya and built a chain of caravansaries along the Silk Road, some 200 of which remain today; the Crusaders; the Ottoman Turks, who conquered Constantinople in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul.
It could be an effective way to communicate in a country with weak news media: "If required, political opinions or gossip can be transmitted from a Shimran [northern Tehran] dowreh to the mosques, caravansaries, workshops, and teahouses in the remotest corners of the South Tehran bazaar within hours and to the other cities of Iran or countries outside of Iran within a day or two.
Topic (1990:161,164) excavated two caravansaries (caravan stables) in the Chimu Chan Chan complex, a major acquisition and distribution centre for Spondylus, documenting coastal and sierra trade and exchange via camelids.