Its population was 821,374, in 221,389 households, making it the 10th most populous city of Iran. It is the largest and the most developed city in Kerman Province and the most important city in the southeast of Iran. It is also one of the largest cities of Iran in terms of area. Kerman is famous for its long history and strong cultural heritage. This city is home for many historic mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples. Kerman is also on the recent list of the world’s 1000 cleanest cities. Kerman became the capital city of Iranian dynasties several times during different periods of time. It is located on a large, flat plain, 1,036 km (643 mi) south of Tehran, the capital of Iran.
Kerman was founded as a defensive outpost, with the name Veh-Ardashir, by Ardeshir I, founder of the Sassanid Empire, in the 3rd century AD. After the Battle of Nahāvand in 642, the city came under Muslim rule. At first the city’s relative isolation allowed Kharijites and Zoroastrians to thrive there, but the Kharijites were wiped out in 698, and the population was mostly Muslim by 725. Already in the eighth century the city was famous for its manufacture of cashmere wool shawls and other textiles. The Abbasid Caliphate’s authority over the region was weak, and power passed in the tenth century to the Buyid dynasty, which maintained control even when the region and city fell to Mahmud of Ghazna in the late tenth century. The name Kerman was adopted at some point in the tenth century.
Under the rule of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th and 12th centuries, Kerman remained virtually independent, conquering Oman and Fars. When Marco Polo visited Kerman in 1271, it had become a major trade emporium linking the Persian Gulf with Khorasan and Central Asia. Subsequently, however, the city was sacked many times by various invaders. Kerman expanded rapidly during the Safavid Dynasty. Carpets and rugs were exported to England and Germany during this period.
In 1793 Lotf Ali Khan defeated the Qajars, and in 1794 he captured Kerman. But soon after that, he was besieged in Kerman for six months by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. When the city fell to Agha Mohammad Khan, angered by the popular support that Lotf Ali Khan had received, many of the male inhabitants were killed or blinded, and a pile was made out of 20,000 detached eyeballs and poured in front of the victorious Agha Mohammad Khan. Many women and children were sold into slavery, and in ninety days the city turned into ruins. However, the Zoroastrians of Kerman who had been strong supporters of Lotf Ali Khan suffered the wrath of the founder of Qajar dynasty the most during this period.
The present city of Kerman was rebuilt in the 19th century to the northwest of the old city, but the city did not return to its former size until the 20th century.
Ganjali khan complex
It is a Safavid-era building complex, located in the old center of city of Kerman. The complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, an Ab Anbar (water reservoir), a mint, a mosque and a bazaar. 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 architect of the complex was Mohammad Soltani from Yazd.
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 Caravanserai to the east. The entrance to the Ganjali bathhouse is located along a section of Vakil Bazaar in south of the square, known as Ganjali Khan Bazaar. The complex was built in Isfahani style of architecture.
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 Mir Chakhmagh Square in Yazd, is surrounded by urban elements such as bazaars, Caravanserais and school.
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 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 squinches. The Ganjali Baths are unique works of architecture decorated with exquisite tile works, paintings, stuccos, and arches.
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.
The bazaar is located in southern part of Ganjali 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.
Ganjali Caravanserai and Mosque is located on the east side of the Ganjali Square. 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.
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 periods.
Is a historical Persian garden located near (6 km away from) Mahan in Kerman province. The garden is 5.5 hectares with a rectangular shape and a wall around it. It consists of an entrance structure and gate at the lower end and a two-floor residential structure at the upper end. The distance between these two is ornamented with water fountains that are engined by the natural incline of the land. The garden is a fine example of Persian gardens that take advantage of suitable natural climate.
A garden was built originally for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani, 1850 on this site, and was entirely remodeled and extended in 1870 by Abdolhamid Mirza Naserodolleh during the eleven years of his governorship in the Qajar dynasty. The current visible structure dates almost entirely to this second period, and is formally related to similar gardens designed by Naserodolleh in Tehran. The construction was left unfinished, due to the death of Abdolhamid Mirza in the early 1890s.
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. 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. 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 buildings, however its style is not similar to the style of Fire Temple.
Shrine of Shah Nemat Allah Vali
This construction is for a Sufi Master and poet from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Shah Khalilullah’s tomb is located outside the Bidar Fort and known as “chokundi”. Today it is under the authority of the Archaeological Survey of India. Shah Khalilullah was succeeded by numerous other qutbs (masters) including Shah Mir Mahmud Deccani, Shams al Din Deccani and Reza Ali Shah Deccani. The silsilah moved back to Iran after the Sufi master Reza Ali Shah Deccani’s ordered his disciple Ali Shah Deccani in the year 1194 AH, nearing the end of Karim Khan Zand’s dynasty to depart to Iran with his family and entered in Shiraz. Not long after the establishment of the Safavid Shi’ite state, the Nematollah order publicly and declared itself Shi’ite.
Jame Mosque of Kerman
Masjed-e-Jami or Muzaffari is one of the historical monuments of the eighth century, famous for its magnificent portal, its mihrab and mosaic-tile decorations, and its historic inscription, which bears the date A.H. 750
on the western side of the mosque, there is an iwan which originally dates from the times of Ali Muzaffar. However, the mosque has been repaired in later periods, including repairs of the main part of its mihrab, carried out in the reign of Shah Abbas II.
The south-western portal of the mosque also belongs to the Safavid period.
The minaret and the muezzin`s cage of the Masjed have been repaired under Karim Khan Zand, and its mihrab is one of the outstanding parts of this monument.
Some essential repairs and decorative and tile works were completed in the S.H. year 1319.
It is one of the oldest mosques of Kerman or perhaps Iran which is constructed during Seljukide kings period (Malek Touranshah) and different parts of it has been rebuilt and repaired at the time of Vakil-ol-molk
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 near in area and has been paved with a large courtyard. There was a pond with the depth of 4m in the middle of this courtyard in the past; a qanat attributed to the daughter of Tooran Shah provided its water.
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.