Sarakhs Caravanserai (or Robat-e Sharaf), known as the Museum of Brickwork in Iran, is located in the city of Sarakhs, Razavi Khorasan Province. This gorgeous construction is a relic of the glorious Seljuq era (1037-1153). Caravanserais were places for travelers to stay when the routes were very long. For this purpose, they set up buildings on the main roads, including the Silk Road, and at certain distances. In these Caravanserais, which included rooms, barns, storage of water and hot food, passengers were able to rest and take a break and continue their way after a few days.
In some Caravanserais, more space and facilities were provided for horses and other livestock. Robat Sharaf is one of these caravanserais that was built by the order of the ruler of the city of Marv, in the early 12th century.
The building of Sarakhs Caravanserai has a rectangular plan which consists of two main sections. Each section has a four-Iwan (four-porch) courtyard. The first courtyard has a rectangular plan and guard's rooms are situated around it. The inner courtyard is square in shape with a pool. Some believe that the entrance rectangular courtyard was intended for the residence of the general public and ordinary people, and the inner courtyard was intended for the residence of government officials.
One of the main reasons for the fame of Sarakhs Caravanserai is the absolutely stunning and delicate architectural decorations that have been used in it. This building is full of elaborate brickwork and various stucco in different sections, including the Mihrab, under the dome, the entrance and other places. Brick inscriptions cover the whole building. The building also had six towers and two mosques in the past. This Caravanserai has been damaged and renovated many times since the Seljuk period until the present time. Nevertheless, the construction of Sarakhs Caravanserai presents a great treasure of the art and skill of brick working of the Seljuk era in the northeast of Iran. Besides, this building introduces us to a collection of original inscriptions of this period.
Be certain to include visiting of this unique complex on your itinerary, after visiting the Imam Reza's holy shrine in the city of Mashhad, spiritual heart of Iran. This building is located within 45 km of Sarakhs city as well as on the road, from Mashhad to Sarakhs. on this road, after reaching the city of Mazdavand, continue your trip about 25 kilometers to reach a village called Shurloq. After six kilometers of asphalt road in this village, the magnificent Sarakhs Caravanserai will be in front of you. The best time to visit this attraction is spring.