Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Caravan (Persian kur, business, and Arabic hair, trade) denotes a company of merchants of the East, who combine together for mutual company and protection while travelling from place to place with their goods. The practice is of ancient date, and mention is made more than once of such travelling in the Bible. For instance, the company to which Joseph was sold by his brethren was just such a caravan as may be met with at the present day. The head of the caravan is called a Reis, and has considerable power. The caravanserai, or inn where at certain spots a caravan halts for the night, consists of a courtyard for the camels surrounded by buildings for sheltering the men, and is only an inn in the sense of providing shelter. For food the caravan is self-dependent. The word caravan has been applied in modern times to vehicles in which the travellers live. "Van" is the same word! shortened.