An old and vast territory in an extensive and water less plateau with a starry sky – a mysterious desert-handsfull of gazelle and deer and precious historical inheritance speak of the antiquity of millenniums before Jesus Christ.
Few tourists after long or short traveling back to their home without gifts. Bam and Kerman have been important centers of producing the handicrafts in Iran since along time ago. The exquisite carpets and rugs and the most beautiful local handicrafts are some of these province’s gifts. The handicrafts of Kerman are produced in houses and workshops. Ones produced in the house include Pate (the hand- woven cloth with design of flowers, plants, and vase ….) and terme. Nowadays these handicrafts but Pate has no prosperity. Carpet, rug, dhurrie and carpetbag are produced in the workshops.
Pate (the hand – woven cloth with beautiful designs) weaving
Pate weaving is women’s handicrafts. The Pate’s designs as similar as carpets ones include bush, leaf, petal and diadem. Pate weaving as a hobby or a way to cover the cost of living is changed to a daily work at home.
In addition to personal usage, produced pates are sold in Kerman and other Iran’s cities.
Tribal people speak Farsi, Baluchi and Torki. Most of them live in foothills of Pariz, Koohpang, Chehel Tan, Bid Khoon, Kooh Shah, Hazar mounts. They disperse to near Bandar Abbas and Minab in the cold seasons.
Tribal women’s clothes
The tribal women wear loose fitting dress until the knees and Baluchi scarf decorated with small colorful coins, this scarf is called Shelik in local dialect. Men wear loose and black pants and white shirt. The women from Afshar tribal, Qasem Ovladi clan, wear long clothes, wind a kerchief tightly around the head and put scarf on it. Bo-chaqchi tribe’s women wear pleated skirt, scarf, kerchief and turban. The men in this tribe wear neck scarf, ghaba and espadrille. Baluch tribe’s women wear loose and long dress until the toes with tight cuff and collar.
This place with the fire which was taken from the temple of Mohaleye Shahr was lighted up on the Soroush Day from Shahrivar(September) of 1292 A.H. Since 1342 AM, the feast hall was built and added to this collection. It is the place for holding celebrations for Zoroastrians off Kerman.
This castle is located in the southwest of Rayen city. It is more than 20000 square meter in area and has 16 towers. The wall with the height of 10m was constructed around it. The only entrance of castle with the large and magnificent transom is in the eastern front. These are 4 beautiful buildings (that probably were ruler sitting) in the castle: bazaar, (the summer and winter) stables, zoorkhane (sport club) and popular houses. These buildings were constructed in the style of Qajar architecture. The date of building the castle is from Sasanid period and has reconstructed several times but unfortunately it is ruining. After Bam castle, it is the second large sun-dried brick building in Kerman.
Kerman Grand Bazar
The straight bazar of Kerman, with 1200m length, is the longest covered straight bazar yet. This bazar starts from Tohid (Arg) square and ends to Mirza Rezay Kermani’s street.
Kerman grand bazar is created from different parts such as
Arg bazar, Seraji bazar, Ganjalikhan bazar, Qale square bazar, North Copper bazar, West Copper bazar, Kafash-ha (shoes) bazar, Vakil bazar, Kolah Mali bazar, Zargari (gold) bazar, Ekhtyari bazar, Haj aqa ali bazar, Mozafari bazar,… .
This bazar is located between Naqar-e Khane bazar and Char Sooq. In the past there were many saddler worked in this bazar.
Ganj Ali Khan Bazar
This bazar is located between Char Sooq and Ekhtyari bazar. It is located in south of Ganj Ali Khan complex with 18 shops .
This bazar starts at the end of Ganj Ali Khan bazar and ends to the Vakil bazar.
This one is at the end of Ekhtyari bazar and built by order of Mohammad Esmaeil Khan Vakil-ol Molk, governor of Kerman in the time of Qajar period(1282 A.H).
This bazar is the last part of straight bazar of Kerman that starts from Vakil bazar and ends to the Mirza Rezay Kermani. In the past at the end of this bazar was one of gates of the city with the name of Masjed(mosque) gate.
Ghale Square Bazaar
This bazaar starts from Emam Khomeini Street and leads to Gang Ali Khan four- direction (Char Soog). It has better economic success in comparison with Ghale Mahmood Bazaar and is also more important than it. Ghale square bazaar is 600 m in length and there are some businesses in it such as carpet selling, quilt making, cushion making, grocery and perfumery.
Shahzade Mahan Garden (prince garden)
This garden that is at the distance of 60 km from Mahan was constructed by the order of Abdol Hamid Mirza, the ruler of Kerman, in the late of Qajar period, in 1297 A.H. This beautiful building includes different parts such as: transom residence, royal- sitting residence and bathhouse. Some of the valuable features in this garden are its ponds and stair water system.
Architecture of Bam Castle’s Houses
The popular houses were constructed next to the mount on an even land and they are the completed collection in the viewpoint of city planning and urban living, it was somewhat removing the needs of society during the own period. The known places in it include the main hallway (Bazaar), Hosseinieh (house of worship), mosque (fire temple), Zoorkhaneh (sport club), public houses and archways. Most of public houses are connected. In some houses, signs of private bathroom are seen and some stables were built separated from the living places.
Palm Gardens in Bam
Bam ancient city is 19424/47km2 in area at the distance of 183 km from southeast of Kerman. This city is on the way that connects southeast of Iran to Afghanistan and it has been especially important in the business since a long time ago. This city is surrounded by palm gardens and citrus gardens because of its fertile land so it is shining like a green setting, along the Kavir.
Gang Ali Khan Bathhouse
Gang Ali Khan bathhouse is the spectacular place for every tourist who visits Kerman. This bathhouse is a mixture of architectural art, using different materials and symmetrical space. Gang Ali Khan bathhouse is one of the oldest ones in Kerman that was constructed by the order of Gang Ali Khan in 1020 L.H, it is at the southern side of Gang Ali Khan complex. This building is decorated with tile setting, painting plasterwork, cornice and fine practice. The entrance transom of this bathhouse is decorated with beautiful painting from Safavid dynasty. The architect of this complex and bathhouse was Ostad Mohammad Sultani from Yazd. Gang Ali Khan bathhouse with the length of 16m and the width of 30m is 1380m2 in area. Courtyard of garmkhaneh (a covered area with radiant heat floor in where people wash their bodies)is 6/25m in length, 7/5m in width and 44/8 m2 in area.
Hammam-e Ganjali Khan or the bathhouse belonged to Ganjali Khan, is the most interesting part of Ganjali Khan Complex for visitors. It used to be a public bathhouse until three decades ago.
The Hammam or Ganjali Khan public bathhouse was built right in the middle of Kerman Bazaar.
Its treasure includes various wall paintings and a fine collection of Iranian handmade glassware, woodwork and marbles.
The old Hammam has a very detailed and logical architecture specifically designed for a public bathhouse. It has various chambers each open to another one, in the form of a complete circle, to save the heath. The clever architect designed the passages and the corridors curved to stop the outside cold weather to storm the bathhouse. The principal doorway adorned with murals depicting animal scenes. Its demolished plaster works and paintings of Safavid era were restored in 1332 A.H.by a man called Mirza Shokrollah who, inspired by Qajar
paintings, could finally manage the restoration. There is a marble table at the entrance that poetically reveals the age of the building, which is 1020 A.H.
The staggered entrance gives access to a first chamber surrounded by six spacious apses. Close to a pool for first ablutions, bathers could undress and have a rest. These narrow passages led to a row of dome covered halls, each to which served particular purposes such as massage, hot and cold baths, etc.
Hammam-e Ganjali Khan has recently been converted into an anthropology museum with true-to-life wax figures bringing back the memory of everyday scenes of the past.
Today, the old Hammam assumed the form of an anthropological museum of waxed men performing various stages of their ablutions. Special locally made bars of soaps, wooden combs, shoes and other objects are also displayed.
The Sculptures in Gang Ali Khan Bath House
The sculptures were designed in Fine Arts College in Tehran University and were transferred to this bathhouse. They show the old custom of bathing and also traditional clothes of Kerman’s people.
Anthropological Museum in Gang Ali Khan Bath House
This old bathhouse was reconstructed in 1350 and used as the anthropological museum
Some things that used in the traditional bathrooms such as special dishes have placed in it. Furthermore, there are pictures and sculptures that show custom of bathing such as phlebotomy and hair-cutting.
Vakil Traditional Bathhouse or Teahouse
The first part of Vakil complex is the old bathhouse or current teahouse. This magnificent Building was constructed in the style of Zandid- Qajar period’s architecture in 1280. This building is one of the historic, traditional and ancient bathhouse in Kerman that was built following Gang AM Khan bathhouse. It is consists of 2 parts: garmkhaneh and dressing room, Floor and walls were covered by tiles.
Dome’s ceiling of Shah Neamatollah Vali Tomb
Shah Neamatollah Vali tomb consists of 2 entrance transoms, 2 cloisters and 4 courtyards, 4 minarets, one dome and small and big rooms. The building’s plan is octangular. The dome height is 20m from the bottom of tomb. The courtyards of tomb known Atabak, Vakil Al Molk, Mir Damad and Hosseinieh. Complex was constructed during Shah Abbas I period but the main part of threshold is the relic of Ahmad Shah Bahmani Dakeni.
Tomb of Shah Neamatollah
Shah Neamat-ollah Vali was a mystic and leader of Neamat- ollahieh dynasty (730-834 A.H).His tomb and monastery (Mahan Shrine) is located in the southeast of Kerman, in Mahan beautiful and populous city. This city is well-known in Iran and other countries due to these tomb and monastery; it is one of the touristy centers of Kerman province and Iran.
Before traveling to Mahan, Shah Neamatollah Vali lived in Taft’s Yazd for some time and there is a district by the name of this famous mystic in Taft and the beautiful mosque was constructed there. In addition to mysticism and prayer, he had great talent in literary and poetry and a poetical works including ode, ghazal, quatrain and ma-snavi has left from him. He died in the first half of 9th Hegira century and was buried in Mahan.
Mahan- Bad gir (wind tower) of Vakil Water Reservoir
Endowing the water has been the popular custom in desert and dry region from a long time ago. Water reservoirs were constructed to provide water for Caravans, villages and hamlets. These reservoirs were built in the shape of the cylinder under ground, and a cone- shaped ceiling with a vent or Bad gir on the vertex, was constructed on it. There were the stairs in the water reservoir for passing people and taking water.
Banner of Shahdad_3rd Millennium B.C.
Banner (Picture 1) contains a square tablet (23x23cm) and shaft (1.19cm). There is an image of a flying eagle (in landing situation) on top of the shaft. On the tablet a scene designed in which there is a Goddess on a seat with three different sized women are sitting on the floor in front of her and one is standing behind.
On the right side of this tablet, under the images of the three women, there is a rectangular checkered garden in which two date palms has grown. Another date palm is under the image of standing woman, on the left side of the tablet. Beneath all above pictures, there is a row of animal images containing two laying face-to-face lions with a walking longhorn cow between. Both above and bottom of all images are limited with two rows of twisted patterns (i.e. How of river). On top of the tablet, between the Goddess and three women, is the sun symbol in the shape of a multi-petal flower. The tablet is surrounded by a thick metal frame and connected to the shaft with two move-able rings. The scene is about a religious myth of a Goddess, some have recourse to her for their needs. The garden, date palms, the stream, cow and lion images are all religious symbols of those period which show the spiritual situation of Goddess and the way she helps others. Most likely, this flag is belonged to a Goddess shrine that we do not know its name yet. They have used this flag usually for rituals or donate it as a gift to the shrine. This flag is very valuable mostly due to its antiquity, shape and structure. It is also a unique relic archaeologically, which is discovered in on of the prehistoric areas of Iran.
Ardeshir Castle and Dokhtar Castle
There are remnants of 2 large castles from before Islam above the high hills in the eastern of Kerman city: Dokhtar castle and Ardeshir castle. A southeastern high castle is called Ardeshir castle and another one is known Kohneh (old) castle, Dokhtar castle or Anahita fire temple. These two buildings are the oldest ones in Kerman city. These castles were constructed in the period of Ardeshir Babekan’s region (the founder of Sasani dynasty). The walls were made of very thick sun- dried brick and clay. Buildings such as palace and worship are visible near them. The access to the castles and their fortification is not easy. There are a deep well and water canal in the northwest. There is an almost high cliff in the south of Ardeshir castle, which 134 stairs were cut from its middle. Probably it was the Naqar Khaneh (place in which drums and horns are played). The remnants of Dokhtar castle is the relic of worship of Anahita in Iran.
The largest inn of Kerman, which is, constructed at the order of Mahmoud Ismaiil Khan Vakil-olmolk, the governor of Kerman, in the year 1287. lt has several louvers and chambers in two stories and is decorated with golden plaster-mouldings and tiles. At present, the activity of changing this inn into a traditional five-star hotel is being performed.
It was built by the year 1308(1929) with investments of some of rich people of Kerman, Yazd and Rafsanjan, as a spinning-knitting factory that called as Karkhan-e-ye Khorshid, which means Sun Factory. During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the factory has bankrupt, abandoned and was out of use till 1370(1990).
This factory was so ill-fated that shortly stopped its activities, left alone for decades and finally damaged in the severe earthquake of 1970s. After all, in 1990s, it was restored, refurbished and converted into a library. It is called National Library and receives and offers service to tens of students and researchers everyday.
The library includes a building erected in the middle of a pleasant green garden, with tall pine trees, and is accessible through an arched high entrance.
The total area of the complex covers almost 4000 square meters. The building is mainly made of bricks with domed roof while 66 octagonal columns ,made of bricks, support it.
This library has separate study halls, various meeting rooms and a large book storeroom. The library houses 76,400 volumes of books, and has 27,211 members.
Kaluts (the Most Wonderful Kavir Occurrence in the World)
The Loot desert as the considerable part of Kerman province, is full of the most wonderful and unique natural occurrences that arouse visitor’s admiration and interest due to their structure and exterior space. Most of tourists and visitors specially orientalists such as Sean Hedin after visiting the Kaluts called them , ghosts city , the largest clay city in the world , wonders land and…
The wave shaped-region with the area of 140*80 km2 is formed in the middle of the Loot Desert. It is at the distance of 150 km from the east of Kerman city and 30km from Shahdad. Kaluts in local dialect means capital of Loot, these natural structures are formed by the repeated falling rain and blowing winds in the desert, they seem artificial.
The loot desert with more than 183000 sq-km is the first natural UNESCO site of Iran which is located in southwest of Iran.
Along Zarisef Street, toward Saheb Al Zaman mosque, in the east of Kerman there is a large stone dome that known Gabri dome. Only the upper part of it is brick-made and it seems that the brick- made dome was added to the building later. There is no accurate information available about its antiquity and history, but he style of architecture shows that it belongs to the late of Sasani period and some people regard it related to pre-Islam period and one of Zoroastrian’s and fire worshippers’ buildings. Probably it has been reconstructed in the beginning of Islam or it has been built under the influence of Sasani architecture.
Kerman Jame Mosque
Masjed -e Jame is the name of a mosque, in every city or town, where the Friday prayers are performed. Masjed – e Jame or the grand mosque of Kerman is, in fact, the landmark of Kerman as well.
It has been built in the 14th century A.D, in the crossroad of Muzaffari Bazaar, when the Muzaffarids were ruling Kerman. However, it has been repeatedly expanded and extended, particularly during the Safavid and Zand time.
Masjed -e Jame stands at the eastern extremity of Kerman Bazaar The central court of the mosque is flanked by dozens of arcades. It consists of a high portal, court and porticoes. It has four portals. The main portal is an elegant masterpiece of the 14th century Islamic Iranian architecture with exquisite and fine tile works.
The wall of the Mihrab and the central dome are decorated with admirable geometrical compositions.
A modern light fixture, on a gold clock tower is standing over the main portal and spells out the Farsi word for Allah, is recognizable from a distance.
Malek (Imam) Mosque
It is one of the oldest mosques of Kerman or perhaps Iran which is constructed during Saljoughi kings period (Malek Touranshah) and different parts of it has been rebuilt repaired at the time of Vakil-olmolk (1285A.H)
This large four- veranda mosque dates back to Seljuk dynasty, but it has been reconstructed during different periods. 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 ghanat 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 Seljuk and Qajar respectively. Deilamqani has reconstructed the eastern veranda. Furthermore the southern one has been reconstructed recently. Three entrance doors were decorated by stalactite, plasterwork and tile setting. The brick tower at the northeastern side and 3 altars decorated with plasterwork have left from Seljuk period.
These domes that are called are located in Moshtagieh square in Kerman. They date back to Qajar dynasty. 3 domes were constructed over 3 tombs known as Moshtaq Ali Shah, Sheikh Esmail and Kovsar Ali Shah. Moshtaq Ali Shah is a sufi from 13th Hegira century, that was stoned to death in the late of the winter in 1206 L.H. It is said that his crime was reading the Qoran with the song of sitar. The dome over the tomb of Moshtaq was constructed in 1260L.H. Some of architectural features of mentioned tomb include tile setting and inner decorations.
Sanati Art Museum
Among the many tourist attractions in Kerman is the Sanati contemporary Art museum. For 40 years, the building was orphanage established by a philanthropist of Kerman Mr.Hadj Akbar Sanati Zadeh.
In the years 1939-1975 the Sanati foundation ran an elementary school for the orphans in the part of the building that today house the art galleries.
In 1961 a library was established by Mr. Abdolhosein Sanati Zadeh, the son of Hadj Akbar. This library which is located at the left of the entrance to the museum is one of the oldest public libraries in Iran. Hadj Akbar is buried in its precincts in 1977 the Sanati museum opened with an exhibition of master-pieces of the great artist, Seyed Ali Akbar Sanati and other famous Iranian and and foreign artists. The museum was closed for renovation in 2003 and reopened after 3 years on 15/1/2007.
At present the museum contains about 1500 master-pieces of painting status and stone mosaics, most of these pieces are by the master artist Seyed Ali Akbar Sanati. There is also an exhibit of a large number of paintings by Sohrab Sepehri.
The galleries of the museum are as follows:
The entrance gallery: statues by Seyed Ali Akbar Sanati & Reza Basiri.
Gallery No.3,4; these galleries contain statues stone mosaics & paintings by Seyed Ali Akbar Sanati. gallery No.5; this room is devoted to the personal belongings of master Sanati and include his work tools as well as letters of appreciation & medals.
Gallery No.8; paintings by Sohrab Sepehri.
Gallery No.9; this room contains the personal belongings of Sohrab Sepehri his work tools and letters of appreciation.
Gallery No.10; master-pieces by foreign artists including: (The hand) by Auguste Rodin (French artist) (Two figures) by Henry Moore (English artist) (Woman’s head) by Bonati (Italian artist).
A memorial to the master artist artist Sanati is located outside the galleries.
Gallery No.1,2,6,7′ The art works In these galleries are changeable, depending on the particular periods and different exhibitions.
Ganj Ali Khan was a Safavid Governor of Kerman in the 17th century. During his reign on Kerman, a collection of buildings including a bathhouse, a water reservoir, a mosque, a bazaar, a theological school, a mint and a caravansary were built all centered on a large square where in days bygone the caravans used to come to a halt. Each and every building and the complex itself, all are named after Ganaj Ali Khan.
Gang Ali Khan Square
Gang Ali Khan Square is similar to Naqshe Jahan square in Esfehan and Mir Chakhmaq one in Yazd. Some urban buildings were constructed around this square. There are bazaars at its 3 sides and Gang Ali Khan School was constructed at another side. The existence of bathhouse, water reservoir, mint house and being neighbors of bazaars and four- direction (Char Sooq) make this complex, complete. Brick- made arches, tile setting, green space, water pond and… increase the beauty of its front view.
Gang Ali Khan Char Sooq
The intersection of 2 sides of bazaar is called Char Sooq (four- direction). Gang Ali Khan Char Sooq was the main four- direction and most important place of the city in the past. The mentioned four- direction is part of Gang Ali Khan complex and is visible from Ganj Ali Khan square.
The dome’s interior in this Char Sooq is decorated with attractive plasterworks and beautiful paintings and pictures of important people from Safavid period (1034-1005L.H). Despite passing more than 4 hundreds years, these oil paintings are still beautiful.
The dome of Char Sooq was the highest one in the city at that time. The louvers around the dome provide the necessary light. Wind is always blowing in the Char Sooq and it is cool and pleasant in the summer.
Ali Mardan Khan Water Reservoir
This water reservoir is located in Gang Ali Khan complex. Storing water is necessary in Iran cities especially in the southern cities such as Kerman because of the little rainfall and lack of surface run off.
Ali Mardan Khan historic water reservoir has the unique architectural features that attract visitors. Its description dates back to 1209 L.H. the transom is decorated with tile setting and engraving stones. The main parts of this building includes: reservoir to store water, cover of reservoir, vent and Bad gir, stairs, a pond with top and decorated transom. Ali Mardan khan was Gang Ali Khan’s son.
Meymand Wonderful village
Meymand is the center of Meymand village, in Shahr-e Babak and is one of the wonderful villages in Iran. Houses in this village were constructed in the special style of architecture. The landscape of Maymand consists of a village dug, gardens and pastures, is that of agro-pastoralist, characterized by the combination of farming, which predominates widely here, and crops irrigated mostly due climatic conditions.
In spring and summer that we can best read the landscape, while cattle graze around the village and the people who left homes dug a temporary habitat for stone, wood or fabric, work in fields and gardens.
In winter, the space is reduced to a village where the entire population, just under 150 people now gathers. Their way of life that rises in local crafts and tools, their traditional cuisine and traditional medicines based on the use of herbs, attracts many visitors today.
Architecture of Houses in Meymand
The old houses in this village were dug in the heart of mount in the shape of minaret. The mount is from hard and sedimentary rocks and the dug rooms in it are strong too. There are rooms and larders with hallway and pillars in these minaret shaped-houses, they exhibit the special village architecture. The above mentioned houses have been placed on top of one another on 4 or 5 floors due to slope around Meymand valley. These houses are 2m in height and 16 to 20m2 in area. There is neither a vent to enter the light, nor chimney even in these houses.
The owner of this ice-box had been a person named Moayed-adin Reyhan, one of Kerman’s governorship agents. For supplying ice for warm seasons there were some little gardens around the ice-box.
They were filled with water during winter and after freezing, the ice were transferred in to the ice-box and after sometimes a mass of ice resulted which could be used during summer.