Dayahatyn, also known as Dayakhatyn or Daya-khatyn (referred to as Bai Khatyn in folk), is a medieval caravanserai located on the left bank of the Amu Darya River approximately 170 km northwest of the city of Turkmenabat in Lebap welaýaty near the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This historic site takes the form of a fortified square enclosure, with each side measuring 53 meters in length.

Historical records suggest that Dayahatyn was initially constructed as a fortress by Tahir ibn Husayn in the 9th century. Later, during the 11th century, it underwent a transformation into a remarkable caravanserai featuring captivating brick structures. This architectural marvel served as a haven not only for caravans but also for elites during their extensive journeys. The preservation of Dayahatyn showcases the remarkable skill of Seljuk architects in employing intricate brickwork techniques during the 11th and 12th centuries.

Due to its artistic brilliance, Dayahatyn is widely regarded as one of the most precious and perhaps the finest remaining examples of caravanserai structures in Central Asia. Its historical significance and architectural splendor contribute to its status as a remarkable testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Local legends

There are various legends surrounding the construction of Dayahatyn, each offering a unique narrative. One tale suggests that the Rabat of Dayahatyn was constructed by a local ruler who sought to conceal himself from a woman of exceptional beauty named Daya. Another version revolves around a wealthy man named Bay, who harbored suspicions of his wife’s infidelity and left his home disguised as a humble dervish.

His devoted wife, Bay-Hatyn, patiently awaited his return for many years. In an effort to dispel his doubts and demonstrate her unwavering love and loyalty, she erected the magnificent Dayahatyn. After years of wandering, Bay eventually arrived back in his homeland, working as a laborer in the construction of the caravanserai. Bay-Hatyn recognized her beloved husband, and they lived joyfully together for the rest of their days.

Protection of a historical landmark

The site has been recommended by the Turkmenistan Government for the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 2012, Dayahatyn was awarded a conservation grant from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation by the U.S. Government; the National Administration for Protection, Research and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Turkmenistan undertook the responsibilities.