Welcome to Kerman City - the provincial capital of the same name. We know you have limited time so let's skip the humdrum and get straight into the Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman City.
(1) Ganjalikhan Complex - Home to one of the oldest trading centers of Iran including: Ganjalikhan Square, Public Bath House, Mint House, a School, a Mosque, Cross Marketplace, and Water Reservoir. With Bazar-e Sartasari (End-to-End Bazaar) as the main attraction with four smaller bazaars, plus many more branches to the north, south and east. Around the bazaar includes the historical features of Ganjalikhan Square, home of Kerman's most famous Hamam-e Ganjalikhan (currently a anthropology museum), northeast of the square is Ganjalikhan Mint House (previously minted silver & gold coins) and Masjed-e Ganjalikhan, east of the square is a caravanserai (previously Ganjalikhan School), and west of the square near the copper market is Alimardankhan Water Reservoir (currently a popular coffee shop). Plus many more places to see including: the Ibrahimkhan Complex, Vakil Complex, Golshan Caravanserai, Indian Merchant Caravanserai... the list goes on.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Ganjalikhan Bazaar Complex
(2) Masjed-e Jameh (Friday Mosque) - If you haven't seen enough ancient Jameh Mosques in Iran yet, then checkout the unique Masjed-e Jameh to the eastern end of the bazaar. It's well preserved with four lofty Iwans (rectangular hallways opening into a courtyard). It has exquisite Blue Tile-Work dating from 1349, but kept modern since Persia's regrowth during the Safavid period (16-18th CE). There is however no minaret, instead there is a Squat Clock tower atop the main entrance.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Kerman's Masjed Jameh (Friday Mosque)
(3) Hammam-e Vakil Chaykhaneh - Have lunch, listen to traditional music, and maybe trying a galyun (smoke pipe) with sweets. Very popular experience for lunch (12:00pm-2:30pm), but smoke pipe and music is available throughout the day. This architecturally magnificent, sub-terrain former bathhouse is oozing with atmosphere featuring elegant arches and vaulted ceilings. Try the Khashke Bademjan (eggplant & whey) and the Khoresht Bozghorme (local Kermani stew).
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Kerman Vakil Bath House.
(4) Holy Defense Museum (local guided recommended) - worth a look but probably one for the guys. Check-out the tanks and missile launchers from the Iran-Iraq War - the 20th centuries longest conventional war (1980-1988). But you'd need a strong stomach to see the gruesome photos, weapons, letters and documents on display. America and it's Arab allies supplied loans, advanced military equipment, chemical weapons and security intelligence to the Saddam Hussein regime and it's regional forces, including Mujahedin fighters. However the UN Security Council did not identify Iraq as the aggressor until 1991, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait some 12 years after Iraq invaded Iran. The war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders, despite over 500,000 civilian losses in addition to injuries and other ongoing illnesses sustained from Iraq's use of chemical weapons.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Holy Defence Museum.
(5) Yakhchal Moaidi (Ice House) - if you haven't seen one around Yazd, this Safavid-era adobe structure is a good example of well-preserved ice house. It has a reservoir, wall, pool and ice pit, and surrounded by gardens. The garden grounds would fill with water and freeze during the winter months, then slide down into the ice house for use during warmer parts of the year. It's now a theatre space that doubles as a Kerman tourism office.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Kerman's Yakhchal Moaidi
(6) Kerman National Library - you mightn't be able to read the books in the "Greatest Library in Iran", but the forest of columns supporting the vaulted ceiling is quite special. The massive collection of books aside, the architecture work by Mohammad Ali Ravari is the real attraction for foreigners. There is 4,000 m of floor space consisting of beautiful domes and 66 octagonal pillars. The style is a harmonious variation of late Qajar-era designs, originally built in 1929 for the purpose of... a textile factory.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Kerman National Library
(7) Imam Mosque (Malek Mosque)- well worth a look if you're interested in restoration work of early Islamic architecture. Restoration work has uncovered the remains of a fine Mihrab (niche inside a mosque indicating direction of Mecca) in the southwest corner, believed to be from the early Islamic period. It's the oldest mosque in Kerman and probably in Iran, the There are other features on the roof which would best be explained from a local guide.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Kerman Imam Mosque.
(8) Gonbad-e Jabaliye - is in the far eastern end of Kerman, with it's strange and large dome. The old structure was made of stone rather than usual brick, so this makes it unique in itself. It's octagonal shape has 8 doors, with 2m width on each of the 8 sides. Seven of the eight doors were recently closed by stone to strengthen the building and prevent it from damage, however just the one door is open for access. It pre-dates Islam and some claim it to be 2nd century AD, however the history and purpose is largely unknown. Since 2004 the Gonbad turned into a stone museum.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Gonbad-e Jabaliye Kerman
(9) Moshtaghieh / Moshtagh Ali Shah Mausoleum (local guided recommended) - learn of the famous young Sufi musician who put the forth string on the Setar (three stringed guitar). His influence became so popular that the religious community had him stoned in the Masjed-e Jameh. The building itself is from the late Qajar period. It's a quiet attraction in a rough area near a busy bus stop, so it's generally gated shut by the caretaker. It's recommended going with a local guide to get inside and learn about the Sufi communities of Iran.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kerman: Moshtaghieh. With Moshtagh Ali Shah Mausoleum.
(10) Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art - meet some young open-minded Iranians, see the attractive Qajar building and progressive collections by famous local artists. Affiliated with charitable trusts and orphanage community in Kerman.
Ganjalikhan: Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art
However if you're enjoying Kerman so much, why not check out some other important sites, including:
Kerman Tourist Attractions: Restaurant at Fath Abad Palace Gardens.
Okay we're getting further away from Kerman city now. For the best destinations outside Kerman (or #mustseekerman) we recommend the following day trips to put on your Kerman Bucket List : (in order)
A) Watch the sunset over the Shahdad Kaluts;
B) Wander UNESCO Arg-e Bam the the largest adobe complex in the world, then fill up on Bami dates and colompeh baked treats;
C) Take a trip to pleasant Mahan with it's own UNESCO charm;
D) Check out the newer Arg and powerful region of Rayan;
E) Sleep in a cave at Meymand, the UNESCO troglodyte village, on your way to Yazd or Shiraz.
So you could probably stay in Kerman for two weeks, and probably still crave to see more.
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