Khan al-Tujjar (Mount Tabor)

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Khan al-Tujjar
Fair at Khan al-Tujjar.jpg
A fair at Khan al-Tujjar around 1850, by W. H. Bartlett
Alternative names The Merchant's Caravansary[1] Suq al-Khan
General information
Type Caravanserai
Architectural style Ottoman
Location Mount Tabor, Current Israel
Coordinates 32°43′17.46″N 35°24′40.67″E / 32.7215167°N 35.4112972°E / 32.7215167; 35.4112972Coordinates: 32°43′17.46″N 35°24′40.67″E / 32.7215167°N 35.4112972°E / 32.7215167; 35.4112972
Palestine grid 187/236
Completed 1581

Khan al-Tujjar (also called Suq al-Khan) are the ruins of a caravanserai in the Lower Galilee, Israel, opposite the entrance to Beit Keshet.


The caravanserai was established near Mount Tabor by Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha around 1581.[2][3] The reason given for its establishment was that the place was insecure for merchants and people making pilgrimage, and it was argued that if a khan was built, the place would become "inhabited and cultivated."[3]

The Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi visited about 1650. He reported that:

"It is a square, perfect fortress, built of masonry in the midst of a large, verdant meadow. It has a circumference of six hundred paces. The garrison consists of a warden and 150 men. It has a 'double' iron gate facing north. Inside the fortress are between forty and fifty rooms for the garrison. ... Inside the fortress is the Mosque of Sinan Pasha, an artistically constructed work, with a lead roof, full of light. Its windows have light blue glass enamel fixed symmetrically with rock crystal and crystal(?). It measures eighty feet each side. The sanctuary has three graceful and lofty minarets—Praise be to the Creator, as if they were three young coquettish muezzins—and seven high domes. The wayfarers are lavishly given a loaf of bread and a tallow candle for each person, and a nosebag of barley for each horse—free of charge. On either side of the fortress is a caravanserai with eight shops."[4]

In the early 18th century[5] there was one period where the area seemed deserted, and there was no weekly marked. However, Western travellers still noted two buildings, one with a mosque and bath inside, and one which had been used for goods and cattle.[6]

In the early 1760s the Italian traveller Mariti visited the khan, and wrote that:

" arrive at El-Net-Tesgiar, or the Place of Merchants. I was very much struck with the elegance and magnificence of its walls. Incrusted with the most beautiful marble, which the hand of art has disposed with much taste [..] El-Net-Tesgiar is enlivened by a very flourishing commerce. A fair is held here every Monday, which is resorted to by merchants from various countries. It is well furnished with cloth, cattle, and provisions of every kind; and in this respect it is, indeed, not inferior to the richest markets in Europe.[7]

Pierre Jacotin marked the place as Kan Ouioun el Touggar on his map from 1799.[8] James Silk Buckingham visited the place in around 1816, and described how, on a Monday, they found four to five thousand people assembled around the Khan, in addition to numerous herds of cattle.[9]

The American scholar Edward Robinson visited in 1838, a day after the weekly Monday fair which had "drawn away from their home a large portion of the people of Nazareth". As Buckingham, he describes two large buildings, one a Khan, and one building looking more like a castle.[10]

Remains of the Khan, in 2014

In the mid-1850s, W. M. Thomson made a lively description of a marked day there:

On Monday of each week a great fair is held at the khans, when, for a few hours, the scene is very lively and picturesque. These gatherings afford an excellent opportunity to observe Syrian manners, customs, and costumes, and to become acquainted with the character and quality of Syrian productions. Thousands of people assemble from all parts of the country, either to sell, trade or purchase. Cotton is brought in bales from Nablus; barley, and wheat, and sesamum, and Indian corn from Huleh, the Hauran, and Esdraelon. From Gilead and Bashan, and the surrounding districts, come horses and donkeys, cattle and flocks, with cheese, leben, semen, honey and similar articles. Then there are miscellaneous matters, such as chicken and eggs, figs, raisins, apples, melons, grapes and all sorts of fruits and vegetables in season. The pedlars open their packages of tempting fabrics, the jeweller is there with his trinkets; the tailor with his ready-made garments; the shoemaker with his stock, from rough, hairy sandals to yellow and red Morocco boots; the farrier is there with his tools, nails, and flat iron shoes, and drives a prosperous business for a few hours; and so does the saddler, with his coarse sacks and gaily-trimmed cloths. And thus it is with all the arts and occupations known to this people.... But long before sunset not a soul of this busy throng remains on the spot. All return home, or to take refuge in some neighbouring village.[11]

In 1875 Victor Guérin visited, and described and measured the two buildings.[12] In 1881, when the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it, Khan al-Tujjar was no longer a working caravanserai, but a market was held there each Thursday.[13] They also noted that there was a well with a perennial supply by the Khan.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 128
  2. ^ Khan al-Tujjar Archnet Digital Library.
  3. ^ a b Sharon, 1999, p. 230
  4. ^ Stephan, 1937, pp.84–85
  5. ^ Noted between 1700-1723, see Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 19
  6. ^ Egmont and Heyman, 1759, vol 2, p.27
  7. ^ Martiti, 1792, vol 1, p. 357
  8. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 167
  9. ^ Buckingham, 1821, pp. 456, 457, 458
  10. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 236
  11. ^ Thomson, 1859, vol 2, pp. 152-153. Also cited in Schölch, 2003, p. 147
  12. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 381 -382
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, pp. 394-396
  14. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 379


External links[edit]