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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 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.
This could be heaven or this could be hell," Don and Reza sang, as we drove in the mountains near Shiraz, several hundred miles south of the capital Tehran, passing crumbling caravansaries, those vacant hotels once used as inns by travelers on the Silk Road in the Middle East and Asia.
Today this labyrinth of narrow alleys, open stalls, former caravansaries, old mosques, etc.
These regular pedagogical and social interludes were in keeping with the traditions of the caravansaries of the Silk Road that offered opportunities for both business and pleasure to weary travelers.
In the end, faced with the prospect of caravansaries of film crews importing much-needed cash along with inevitable chaos, the Cephalonian authorities decided to cut a deal with Captain Corelli's British producers, and a committee of officials and historians was set up to vet the project.
The misery of the peasants' lives contrasted with the opulent luxury of the courts and caravansaries.
Methinks I see the thousand shrines erected to Hospitality shining afar in all countries, as well Mahometan and Jewish, as Christian, khans and caravansaries and inns, whither all pilgrims without distinction resort.