The Kapan inn, one of the oldest ottoman inns in Skopje, is situated in Skopje’s old Bazaar. It is first mentioned in the comprehensive register lists (defters) of 1467/68. It was built in the second half of the 15th century by the famous Turkish military leader and third border-area voivode isa Bey. As a building made of permanent material with a specified location, the inn is also mentioned in its waqfname of H.874/M.1469. The famous travel writer Evliya Çelebi recorded it in his writings as Isa Bey’s inn. The name Kapan probably comes from its purpose. it is derived from the word kabban, which means a large dining room/scales for the merchandise which came from foreign parts, was weighed and then sold wholesale here. This demonstrates the role and importance that this inn had in the trading and economic development of the city.
In addition to its function as a place for overnight stay and storage of goods, it was also a place of extensive trading. The goods would have been weighed, stored and then sold to the merchants. The building technique and spatial organization – the fact that the entire space is surrounded by shops – makes the Kapan inn similar to other inns built in Skopje at that time. It consists of an interior courtyard surrounded by a two-storey porch, where the uppermost storey is supported by wooden columns. The rooms aligned along all the four sides (20 on the ground floor and 24 on the upper storey) are accessed directly from the porch. The stable stood on the east side. The Kapan inn is a massive structure built of alternating rows of stone and brick, the building technique characteristic of this period.
Today, the whole structure is covered with a tiled four-ridged roof. Due to the heavy damage the inn has suffered, its present-day appearance is significantly changed. As many other buildings in Skopje, the Kapan inn, too, was damaged in the earthquake of 1555, the fire of 1689 and the earthquake of 1963, when it was heavily damaged. Only certain segments of the lower parts of the original building survive today. It served as an inn until World War II. After the war, until the earthquake of 1963, the upper floor was used for the accommodation of several families, while the ground floor continued to be used as a warehouse. Today, the rooms of the inn are used as craft shops, restaurants, etc.
Nikolovski A., Balabanov K., Kjornakov D., „Kapan an”, Spomenici na kulturata na Makedonija, Skopje 1980, 49.
Ayverdi E.H., Avrupa’da osmanlı Mimari eserleri – Yugoslavya, III. cild, 3.Kitab, İstanbul 1981, 255.
Nichota N., Kapan an, Kulturno nasledstvo, Skopje, 1983, 203.
Kumbaradzi-Bogoevich L., Osmanliski spomenici vo Skopje, Skopje 1998, 152-155.
Özer M., Üsküp’te türk Mimarisi (XiV-XiX y.y), Ataturk Kültür dil ve tarih Yüksek Kurumu, Ankara, 2006.
Pavlov Z., Kapan Inn, Ottoman Monuments, Cultural heritage protection office, Skopje, 2009, 92-93.
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