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About the Water (Suli) Han in Skopje, Macedonia

Today, the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Museum of the Old Town (which is part of the City Museum), are housed in Suli Han.

This Han is located in the Old Town, a few meters from Cifte Hammam and Sultan Murat Mosque.

Suli Han entrance

Built in the first half of the 15th Century by Ishak Bey, along with Cifte Hammam and Sultan Murat Mosque, was part of an urban complex, generally characteristic for cities in the Ottoman Empire.

After Skopje was conquered by the Ottomans, the city, of its initial stagnation began to grow rapidly.

Soon, it became an important military and administrative center of the Balkans, and the rapid economic development has transformed it into a commercial center.

Skopje, for many merchants represented final destination for their goods, but for somebody a starting point.

Inside Suli Han

At the city market products from distant countries were sold, thousands of traders mixed up in these markets.

Due to the city growing and increased number of merchants, the authorities decided to start building Hans or caravansaries.

Suli Han among the people was known as Old or Water (Suli means water in Turkish). It is named after the river Serava that crossed near the Han.

Today the river is gone. But here people are saying that “the river still runs under the Old Bazaar, and how do we know that? Because the moisture still occurs in our stores.”

Suli Han was built of brick and stone, in rectangular form, with ground and one floor, and with massive pillars that bears the porch.

The rooms on the ground floor were used as storage space, and on the first floor were rooms were travelers and traders stayed.

On the ground floor there were 27 and on the first floor 30 rooms. Inside the rooms, a chimney was placed through which the rooms were heated.

Its architectural concept was similar to the other two Hans – Kursumli Han and Kapan Han.

Suli Han Backyard

During its existence Suli Han suffered many damages, among them from the earthquake of 1555 and the Great Fire of 1689.

The Han was always renewed, but with each repair some of its originality and soul was lost.

The biggest damage that Han suffered was after the disastrous earthquake that struck Skopje in 1963, when only few of the exterior walls remain standing.

Today, maybe we do not know its original form, but it still has a breathtaking view, and the Museum through its exhibits silently speaks about another time, trying to share with us the beauty of past times.

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