- "The caravanserai itself was a curious study in Barrayaran social evolution. Its oldest core was cleaned up, renovated, and converted into a pleasant maze of shops, cafes, and small museums, frequented by a mixture of city workers seeking lunch and obvious provincial tourists, come up to the capital to do the historic shrines…. On the fringes to the south, the renovation petered out into the kind of shabby, faintly dangerous areas that had given the caravanserai its original risky reputation."
- ―Mark's visit to the caravanserai[src]
The Caravanserai was the main marketing square in Vorbarr Sultana, the capital of Barrayar, during the Time of Isolation. Many buildings in the Caravanserai dated to the first century of the Time of Isolation (and were made of stucco, the primary building material of that time). The original Vorkosigan House was sited in the Caranvaserai during that time but was later relocated.
By the time of the Cetagandan Invasion, the caravanserai was "a pestilential death-trap," a maze of narrow streets and severely deteriorated buildings inhabited by the lowest classes of society and plagued with crime. It remained that way until some time after Vordarian's Pretendership, during which time Padma Xav Vorpatril was killed on one of its streets just minutes before his son Ivan was born in an abandoned building nearby.