Ottoman Inns (“hans”) in the Old Bazaar
There are three remaining caravanserai’s (inns) from the Ottoman Empires time in Skopje old Bazaar worth to see while visiting Skopje. These inns were build at the time when Skopje was the main trade and merchant center on the Balkans.The ground floor used to house the horses and the goods of the travelers that visited the bazaar and the city. On the upper floor there were rooms where the people could stay over the night. All three of them have been badly damaged in the past from earthquakes and fires but today they are restored, rebuilt and renewed and used for many different activities.
This caravansary was built in the 15th century is located in the core of the Old Bazaar, and this inn is an important monument of the Islamic architecture. Otherwise, the name of inn gets because Serava River which flowed beside him. In the old notes of travelers of this time, this building is mentioned as a caravansary of Ishak Bey, and covers an area of 2101 square meter. Around the spacious square yard ,there is a porch with arcades, from where you can enter the small vaulted rooms on the ground floor and first floor. The ground floor had 27 rooms, which are used for storage of goods and the floor had 30 rooms where merchants and travelers slept.
At the end of 20th century, the city grows and the traffic becomes more intensive so this Caravan-Sarai no longer could fulfill the function for which it was built, and its premises were used as warehouses and workshops of artisans of the bazaar.
Today Suli- An is a working home and educational institution for young artists and houses the arts school of Skopje University.
Kurshumli Han or The “Lead Inn” is the largest and the most beautiful of the three remaining Ottoman caravanserai’s. It was built in 1550 by Mula Musledin Hodza, son of Abdul Gani scientist on the court of Sultan Selikm II. Both the ground and the first floor are made of stone and beautiful arches line the courtyard. The han has two courtyards, the second one was used to house the horses and the goods of the merchants and the guests, while the rooms around the first courtyard both on the ground and the first floor housed the guests. There is a water fountain in the middle of the first courtyard. The roof was covered with lead, and that is how the an got its name (lead is used for making bullets, and bullet is called kurshum in Turkish). Next to the han is where a mosque and a hammam (Turkish bath) used to stand, they both suffered in the big fire of 1689 and the earthquake of 1963, so today the mosque is gone and the amam stands in ruins. Today the Kurshumli Han is on the grounds of the Macedonian National Museum and houses the lapydarium.
Kapan Han wаs built іn the mid-15th century by Isa-Bey іn order tо provide а regular source оf income fоr hіs endowment. The name comes frоm the Arabic word ‘kabban” whіch wаs а device used fоr measuring the weight оf sold goods аt the entrance оf the an. It has а surface area оf 1,086 m². The building has twо entrances, а ground level аnd second level. There were 44 rooms fоr guests аnd traders wіth theіr caravans. There wаs space fоr horses оn the east side оf the han.