This caravanserai is located at Armenia’s Sulema Pass (also known as Selim Pass) at an altitude of 2,410m…
What’s a caravanserai?
I didn’t know before this trip either. This caravanserai, or inn, is but one of many in Armenia; overnight spots for caravans laden with goods meant for markets in Europe and the Orient.
Many think of the Silk Road as a single trail, but in fact there were dozens of routes connecting East and West, most by land, some by sea. They crossed east to west and north and south, the most popular tracing river valleys and lake shores as they wound their way to their final destinations.
A faint inscription over the entry dates the building to 1326-1327. Inside the arched entry, however, the completion date is 1332, attributed to the Prince Orbelian Chesar and his brothers. The two bas-relief carvings on the facade are emblems of the Orbelian family; a winged animal and a bull.
The basalt structure consists of an entry hall on the east end and a long hall for animals (13m x 26m) divided into three aisles with two rooms for people. Feeding troughs lay between the pillars.
To the east of the caravanserai is a large half-buried vaulted chapel.