Category Archives: KERMAN

All About Kerman

All about Kerman

The desert trading city of Kerman has long been a staging point for traveling between Persia and the Indian subcontinent and today it remains the best place from which to explore southeastern Iran. The city has a mud-brick core centered on the historic and very lively bazaar.  This is surrounded by ever – expanding low-rise , blond-brick suburbs punctuated by Qanat- fed parks.

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 The city is something of a melting pot, blending Persians with the more sub continental Baluchis who dominates areas east of here. This mix is most evident in the Bazaar, which is a highlight. Sights in and around Kerman can keep you for two to four days.

Believed to have been founded in the early 3rd century by Sassanid dynasty progenitor Ardeshir I, Kerman has a history full of prosperity and plunder. Always an important trade hub, from the 7th century Kerman was ruled in turn by the Arabs, Buyid, Seljuks, Turkmen and  Mongols, and then until the Qajar dynasty by a further succession of invaders and regional despots. Kerman only gained security under the central government in Tehran during the 19th century.

Kerman’s continuity was its commerce, the evidence of which can still be seen in the many caravanserai around the Bazaar. As trade moved more to the sea in the production of carpets, which remains important today.

Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar)

Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar)

Stretching for 1200m from Tohid Sq northeast to Shohada Sq, Kerman’s Bazar-e Sartasari is one of the oldest trading centers in Iran. This main thoroughfare is made up of four smaller bazaars, and a further 20 or so branch off to the north and south. It is, however, easy enough to navigate and has a vivacity that should keep you interested, especially in the morning and late afternoon.

Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar) - Parvaz Aram Abi04

Starting at Tohid Sq, in a part of Bazar-e Sartasari, the first section is the Bazar-e Ganj Ali Khan, built in the 17th century for local governor Ganj Ali Khan, which soon opens around the pretty Ganj Ali Khan Square. This courtyard is home to what was once most important Hammam (Bathroom) of Kerman, the Hamam-e Ganj Ali Khan, now restored and transformed into a museum. Wonderful frescoes adorn the walls and wax dummies illustrate the workings of a traditional bathhouse. The reception area, for example, was divided so men practicing different trades could all disrobe together. At the east and west ends of the Hammam, look for the ‘time stones’, translucent, 10cm-thick alabaster doorways through which bathers could get a rough idea of the time according to how light it was outside.

Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar) - Parvaz Aram Abi02

On the north side of the courtyard is the photogenic Bazar-e Mesgari Shomali (Coppersmith’s Bazaar), and at the square’s northeastern end is Masjed-e Ganj Ali Khan, Ganj Ali Khan’s lavishly decorated private mosque. Next-door Golshan Caravanserai has recently been restored and is now home to a bunch of antique-cum-bric-a-brac stores and the Kerman Tour Guides Association.

From the northeastern corner of the square, the Bazar-e Zargaran (Gold Bazaar) leads to a small square with an attractive portal into an old (and now closed) Madraseh (school). Follow the steps down to the Hamam-e Ebrahim Khan, which was being restored when we passed but, when complete, should be open for men to be rubbed, scrubbed and beaten.

Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar) - Parvaz Aram Abi03

From Ganj Ali Khan Sq the main bazaar continues east as Bazar-e Ekhtiari and passes the Hamam-e Vakil Chaykhaneh before becoming the Bazar-e Vakil; both are about 150 years old. After about 600m the covered bazaar ends and the 700-year-old open-air Bazar-e Mosaffari begins with vendors selling fruit and (when we visited) socks from tables and crowded storefronts. The Masjed-e Jameh (Jameh Mosque) can be entered from this bazaar, and you can then walk through to Shohada Sq.

Ganjali Khan Complex

The Ganjali Khan Complex is a Safavid-era building complex, located in the old center of Kerman, Iran. The complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, an Ab Anbar (cistern), a mint, a mosque and a bazaar.

The Ganjali Khan Complex was built by Ganj Ali Khan who governed Kerman, Sistan and Kandahar provinces from 1596 to 1621 under Safavid Shah Abbas I. A number of inscriptions laid inside the complex indicate the exact date when these places have been built.

The complex covers an area of 11000 square meters and is centered on a large public square-ninety-nine meters by fifty-four meter-which is aligned with Vakil Bazaar running east-west to its south. The square is enveloped by bazaar arcades to the north, south and west and is flanked by the Ganjali Khan Caravanserai to the east. The entrance to the Ganjali Khan bathhouse is located along a section of Vakil Bazaar south of the square, known as Ganjali Khan Bazaar. The complex was built in Isfahani style of architecture.

Monuments and buildings

Ganjali Khan Square

In ancient Iran, the squares of the cities were established near the governorships and were places for gatherings and ceremonies. The Ganjali square is ninety-nine meters by fifty-four meter, and Similar to Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and Amir Chakhmagh Square in Yazd, is surrounded by urban elements such as bazaars, Caravanserais and schools.

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Ganjali Khan Bathhouse

Built in 1631, the Ganjali bathhouse is located on the southern side of Ganjali Square, off a section of Vakil Bazaar known as Ganjali Bazaar. The entrance of the building is painted with ornaments of the Safavid era. An interesting feature of its architectural finish is that the sculptured stones of the ceiling coincide with that of the flooring. It is composed of a disrobing room, cold room and hot room, all covered with domes carried on squint. The Ganjali Baths are unique works of architecture decorated with exquisite tile works, paintings, stucco, and arches.

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The bathhouse was converted into an anthropological museum in 1971. In the closet section and main yard of the bath, there are many lifelike statues. These statues were designed at Tehran University‘s faculty of fine arts in 1973 and then transferred to this museum.

Ganjali Khan Bazaar

The bazaar is located in southern part of Ganjali Khan Square. Inside, the bazaar is decorated with exquisite plasterwork and wall paintings and although they are 400 years old, they are still well preserved. The bazaar is 93 meters long and is connected to Ganjali square through 16 Iwans and vaults.

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Ganjali Khan Caravanserai and Mosque

The caravanserai is located on the east side of the Ganjali KhanSquare. Its portal bears a foundation inscription from 1598 composed by calligrapher Alireza Abbasi. The plan of the caravanserai is based on the four-iwan typology, with double-story halls centered on tall Iwans enveloping four sides of an open courtyard. There is an octagonal fountain at the center of the courtyard, which is chamfered at the corners. The caravanserai measures thirty-one and a half by twenty-three meters. It has a small domed mosque at one corner that measures five and a half by five meters.

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Ganjali Mint

The mint’s construction started in 1598 and ended in 1625. The interior decorations consist of Ochre plasterwork and brickwork. The building has a tall dome crowned by a cupola to admit light and vent air. The mint was converted into a numismatics museum in 1970. The museum displays coins from different periods such as Parthian, Sassanid, Safavid and Afsharid eras.

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Gonbad-e Jabaliye

Gonbad-e Jabaliye

Gonbad-e Jabaliye, which is situated in the eastern end of Kerman city and at the edge of town there is an strong octagonal and large dome, made of stone and has saved from the trespassing hand of time, which known as Gonbad-e Jabaliye . This eight-angle dome is completely made of stone. There are eight doors in its eight sides with the width of 2m, that recently have been closed by stones to strengthen the building and only one of them is open.

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The upper part of dome has been made of brick and it is not clear whether or not had it been decorated by tile-work? Inside the dome, there were apparently plaster-works that have been destroyed. There is no any document about the time of construction. Sarborsisiks in this book “Eight years in Iran” writers, passing through that has a dome in the shape of two arcs and its internal diameter is 18 foot. This place is called Gonbad-e Jabaliye and it is the only stone building of Kerman.

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Iranian people believe that it has been the tomb of one of Zoroastrians and some believe that is the tomb of Seyed Mohammad Tabashiri, but the later allegation has been traversed is some regions. Some believe that it belongs to Seljuks but it is not correct it belongs to the times before Islam and is one of the Zoroastrian building, however its style is not similar to the style of Fire Temples.

Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art

Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art

Occupying a former orphanage, the Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art is a pleasant surprise in a town that can otherwise feel a long way from modern cultural pursuits. In a Qajar-era building set around an attractive courtyard, the museum houses paintings, sculptures and stone inlays by famous local artist Sayyed Ali Akbar Sanati (1916–2006), who spent most of his childhood in the orphanage. It also exhibits works by younger Iranian artists and even a bronze hand by Auguste Rodin.

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A unique feature of the museum is its architecture. Set around an attractive courtyard the museum building was built of adobe and brick with domed ceiling in accordance to Iranian traditional architectural style. Not surprisingly, it is a good place to meet open-minded young Kermanis.

Imam Mosque

Imam Mosque

The expansive Imam Mosque is worth a look specifically if you are interested in the process of rehabilitating old buildings. Dating from the early Islamic period, restoration work has uncovered the remains of a fine Mihrab (niche inside a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca) believed to date from the early Islamic period (in the southwest corner), and on the roof a series of three unusual Mihrab-style niches, the origins of which remain a mystery.

It is one of the oldest mosques of Kerman or perhaps Iran which is constructed during Seljuk Dynasty (Malek Touranshah, the king of Seljuq Dynasty) and different parts of it has been rebuilt repaired at the time of Vakil-olmolk (1285 A.H)

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This large four- veranda mosque dates back to Seljuk dynasty, but it has been reconstructed during different eras. The western veranda and the dome -covered space on its other side are the oldest parts of this building. Mosque is 91 * 101 nr in area and has paved and large courtyard. There was a pond deep 4m in the middle of this courtyard in the past, a Qanat (aqueduct) attributed to the daughter of Tooran Shah provided its water. Verandas and player areas have been constructed around the courtyard that known Imam Hassan, Aqa Sheikh Hassan Feqieh, Aqa Seyyed Ali, Emam Musa Ebn Jafar and Mirza Esmaiil Deilamqani player areas. The western and eastern verandas date back to Seljuq and Qajar era respectively. Deilamqani has reconstructed the eastern veranda. Furthermore, the southern one has been reconstructed recently. Three entrance doors were decorated by stalactite, plaster-work and tile setting. The brick tower at the northeastern side and 3 altars decorated with plaster-work have left from Seljuq era.

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Imam mosque has many courtyards of which the most famous is Shabestan-e Imam Hassan (Imam Hassan Courtyard). It is a four-Iwan structure. The large Iwan is on the opposite side of the western gate. One of the large doors opens to the north while the other faces the southwestern side. Unfortunately, tile works and inscriptions of the mosque have been destroyed and there is no document on its establishment date and architect. There is a pool in the middle of the mosque’s courtyard, which was used for performing ablution in the past. Nowadays, performing ablution is difficult in the mosque due to water shortage. Only the old pools situated beside the mosque are used. Different parts of the mosque, particularly the main Iwan, were restored by Kerman Ruler Morteza Qoli Khan Vakil-ol-Molk Sani in 1864.

Yakhchal Moayedi

akhchal Moayedi

The Safavid era Yakhchal Moayedi is a well-preserved, conical adobe structure that was used to store ice. The ice store was, and in some part still is, surrounded by gardens. The gardens would fill with water during winter, and when the water froze, the ice would be slid into the yakhchal for use in warmer months. It is now a theatre space that doubles as a tourism office, with a few brochures.

 Yakhchal Moayedi - kerman

Yakhchal Moayedi, is located about one and a half kilometers from the center of the city. This cone-shaped building is about eighteen meters high. The massive insulation and the continuous cooling waters that spiral down its side keep the ice stored there in winter frozen throughout the summer. These ice houses used in desert towns from antiquity have a trench at the bottom to catch what water does melt from the ice and allow it to refreeze during the cold desert nights. The ice is broken up and moved to caverns deep in the ground where ambient low temperatures remain constant and allow the ice to remain in a frozen state. As more water runs into the trench, the process is repeated. Often seen around the ice-houses and many of the homes in the desert are towers called Badgirs or windward. Built of mud or mud brick, these Badgirs (windward), mentioned by Marco Polo, are square or round, but the operating principle is the same: to catch the slightest breeze in the vents at the top and to funnel the cooling air down through internal, vertically-placed wooded slats to the water or dwelling below. Alternately, the badgir can function as a chimney, expelling warm air to pull cool air out of a Qanat (an underground stream).

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This is a circular structure made of sun baked bricks and clay. The same resembles a huge dome. This structure located in the city of Kerman, is surrounded by lush greenery and is a site for tourists. There are several small-gardens around this ice-house, which were filled with the water in winter, then after that the water iced, the ices lead to the ice-house to use in summer.

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Moayedi is the name of a parish in Kerman and it includes some parts of fields and old Qanat in Takhti square and Khorshid Abuhames streets. It sites in the first of Shahid Kamyab in the same region of Kerman and is now one of the tourist attractions. It seems that Moayed Aldin Reyhan one of the rulers of Kerman had been the owner of it. The gardens would fill with water during winter, and when the water froze, the ice would be slid into the Yakhchal for use in warmer.