Adjacent to the Grand Bazaar of Kerman, Ganjali Khan Complex stands as a historical ensemble comprising various structures like a square, caravanserai, bathhouse, school, mosque, and water reservoir. This complex is a must-visit in Kerman, offering a deep dive into its rich architectural heritage. Join SURFIRAN to get a closer look at one of the most famous historical sites in Kerman.
Iranian historical cities typically feature a grand, old bazaar. Visiting these markets is not just about shopping among locals and getting acquainted with their culture and dialect, but also about finding affordable goods and admiring the ancient architecture. In Kerman, the old and large bazaar located in the old part of the city offers this and more.
By visiting this bazaar, you also get to see Ganjali Khan Complex, right next to the market, promising an intriguing exploration. The name of the complex dates back to the Safavid era, named after Ganjali Khan, a famous ruler who governed Kerman for about 30 years and significantly contributed to the city’s development.
Covering an area of 11,000 square meters, the complex was built by “Mohammad Memar Yazdi” in the Isfahani style of architecture, consisting of several buildings and structures. Let’s delve into each of these components, enhancing your experience when visiting Kerman.
On the edge of Kerman’s Grand Bazaar, you’ll find a square in the city center, flanked by the bazaar on three sides and the Ganjali Khan caravanserai on the other. This square epitomizes ancient and traditional Iranian architecture. It features a pond and green space, where you are encouraged to sit for a moment and admire the intricate tile work and brick arches. The significance of this square becomes apparent when you learn about the extensive urban planning principles applied to its construction. The square is pedestrian-only, ensuring a tranquil experience.
To explore the bazaar, head to the southern part of Ganjali Khan Square. Looking right, you’ll see Ganjali Khan Bathhouse and eighteen shops. To the left, vendors have set up their stalls under the arches. If you’re interested in visiting the gold bazaar, known locally as Qeysarieh, head to the far end of the market.
In the northeastern part of Ganjali Khan Square, a historical and beautiful mosque captures your attention. It seems to have served as the prayer space for students and travelers staying at the school and caravanserai. The mosque, although small, boasts an attractive entrance porch and prayer hall. The simple facade of the porch is adorned with geometric plasterwork.
The marble inscriptions above the wooden door add to its beauty. Inside, you’ll find a narrow corridor leading to a domed prayer hall, stunningly designed with marble, floral motifs, and exquisite plasterwork. Today, the mosque is more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship.
Another highlight of the Ganjali Khan Complex is the bathhouse. The entrance features beautiful plasterwork and paintings from the Safavid and Qajar periods, depicting royal hunts, camel drivers, and romantic tales.
A green marble inscription with elegant Nastaliq calligraphy adds to the bathhouse’s allure. The most striking part is the changing room, seemingly a single space but dotted with secluded corners for rest and prayer. The bathhouse, now converted into an ethnography museum, is adorned with life-like statues, perfectly capturing the atmosphere of traditional Persian baths.
The School and Caravanserai
On the eastern side of the square, you’ll find a large school that later served as a caravanserai. Interestingly, this location has now reverted to its educational roots, housing the Bahonar University of Kerman’s Art Faculty.
Visit the northern side of the square to see the mint. Inside, the architecture features brick shapes plastered on the walls. A tall dome crowns the building, topped with a European-style cap. A square pool beneath the dome’s oculus creates an enchanting light effect. Now a coin museum, it attracts numerous visitors.
The Water Reservoir
Opposite the caravanserai, the historic Ganjali Khan water reservoir draws your gaze. This reservoir was used for storing the city’s water supply.
Each component of the Ganjali Khan Complex in Kerman is a testament to the city’s rich history and architectural genius. For a comprehensive guide and detailed exploration of these historic gems in Kerman, check out the tours offered by SURFIRAN.