Kızlarağası Caravanserai

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It is the biggest and the most glamorous of the inns in Izmir. As well as having a monumental character, its uniqueness in terms of its architectural features gives it a special importance among Ottoman inns. It was built by Yakup Bey in 1598 and it is a few meters away from the west side of the Hisar Mosque, the largest mosque in Izmir today. This section constitutes the eastern side of the inn. The western façade is located opposite to the Halim Aga bazaar and it’s on the 871th street today, which was known as Keresteciler street before. The inn was at seaside as it was first built, but due to the filling of the sea in time, now it is 200 meters away from the coast.

Kızlarağası Inn, built by Kızlarağası Hacı Beşir Aga, was certainly made in the year of 1744 as we learn from the contruction records from those days. Although there had been serious collapses on the facade of the inn in 1745 due to landslide, the inn was repaired immediately. With the earthquake of 1778 the inn was extensively damaged, but it was thoroughly repaired again in 1779. In following years the inn survived other earthquakes and fires. The main similarity of the Kizlaragasi Inn with the other Ottoman inns is that it has the typical structure in terms of consisting of bazaar and courtyard. 

Kızlarağası Inn's ground floor was used for storage and trade. The cargoes of the caravans were unloaded here, they were seperated accoding to the purpose of usage, e.g. to be exported,  to be traded in shops, or to be stored. Beasts of burden such as camels, mules, donkeys and horses were sleeping over after they unloaded their freight. The goods were kept in the warehouses and cellars of the inn. The doors of the inn, like in all inns, were closed after sunset. On the upper floor of the inn there were rooms for accomodation with ovens, niches and wooden floors. There were also tools and equipments such as floor coverings, earthen potty, clay pots, earthen oil lamp and tobacco pipe bowls.

The fact that Kızlarağası Inn was built in the most central and commercial place of İzmir (port mouth) is an indication of the importance of the Inn in terms of commerce. The inn, which is so important in the economic life of İzmir, reached the peak of its commercial capacity in 1778 and continued this bright period until the last quarter of the 19th century.