formerly known as Selim Caravanserai and Orbelian’s Caravanserai , is a caravanserai in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia. It was built along the Vardenyats mountain pass in 1332, by prince Chesar Orbelian to accommodate weary travelers and their animals as they crossed from, or into, the Vayots Dzor mountains. Located at the southern side of Vardenyats mountain pass at a height of 2410 meters above sea level, Orbelian’s Caravanserai is the best preserved caravanserai in the entire country.
The only entrance to the caravanserai is at the rectangular vestibule adjacent to the main hall of the structure.
There are two inscriptions found on the vestibule, one is written in Persian and the other is written in Armenian. The Arabic inscription written upon the half-rounded lintel of the entrance has nearly been effaced by vandals , but the Armenian inscription found at the eastern wall opposite of the entrance headed to the wall.
The caravanserai is constructed of blocks of basalt. It has one hall divided into three naves, with seven pairs of polyhedral pillars. Animals rested in the narrow aisles to the left, and the right, of the main hall. Between the pillars were stone troughs for the animals, and in the corner of one of the halls was a pool of water. Travelers slept in a separate room built at the end of the narrow aisles on the western side of the caravanserai. The roof above the three-aisled hall had three parallel vaults with an oculus in each. The vaults were supported by arches that stretched from pillar to pillar along the aisles, and went over the aisles from the pillars to the walls. Oculi placed in the middle of each of the vaults served the purpose of letting in light and air, while also letting out smoke. As mentioned earlier, these are the only other areas of the caravanserai that have ornamentation besides the decoration found at the entry vestibule.
The caravanserai was restored during the years 1956-1959.