To learn about another historical bazaar in Iran, here we are going to pay a visit to Kerman Grand Bazaar. The bazaar, considered one of the city’s most important attractions, is an attractive world full of amazing things. Together we are going to learn about different parts of this bazaar, and have a look at its history and also the ways to access it.
About Kerman Bazaar
Kerman Grand Bazaar is a historical market that starts from Arg Square and extends to Mirza Reza Kermani Stree. Actually, this bazaar is a straight line that has two entrances, the Arg gate, and the mosque gate, which in the past were the gates of the city. Kerman bazaar is known as the largest bazaar in Iran. When you enter it, you will experience a journey through 600 years of history, you will be in the local and charming atmosphere of the city. As well, you have the opportunity to buy goods, including souvenirs and high-quality handicrafts.
Most of the bazaar was built from the 8th century onwards and during the time of different rulers. In each part of this bazaar, you can see a different manifestation of Iranian Islamic art and architecture and face a different atmosphere. This is one of the most important historical and commercial centers of Kerman. Moreover, you can visit more than 60% of the city’s historical attractions here.
Interestingly, the name of this valuable monument is in the list of the national heritage of Iran since May 25, 2018. And one of the main reasons is its unique architectural features including the many sights it has embraced.
Important goods of the Kerman Bazaar
This market has long been a trading place for cloth, handicrafts, and copper vessels. Kerman bazaar is known as the most important distributor of spices in the southeast of Iran. So you can find everything from the famous Kerman cumin to hot Indian spices in this market. Sarcheshmeh copper mine is only 50 km from Rafsanjan, so it has made the line of copper miners in the Kerman market to be particularly famous. You can find Kerman’s special souvenirs and sweets such as Kolompeh in abundance in this market. And its Attaran bazaar is also famous for its supply of high-quality herbal medicines and herbs.
Kerman Bazaar Architecture
Kerman Grand Bazaar, like any other historical and important bazaar, has different parts, each of which is defined based on the profession or type of architecture, etc. Before entering into this discussion and explaining the important parts of the Kerman market, let’s take a general look at the structure of traditional Iranian Bazaars. In general, the main structural elements of the Traditional Iranian Bazaars that you can see in Kerman Bazaar, as well;
- Rasteh (passage): The main and sub-passage of the bazaar, which is a long route, and there are shops on both sides of it.
- Sara: Sara is a middle courtyard with interconnected cells around it. These structures differ in the number of floors, the type of porch, portico, and corridors.
- Timche: It is a small and covered space for the supply of a specific type of product that has impressive decorations compared to other parts of the bazaar.
- Charsoogh or Chaharsu: The intersection of two main streets that have different architecture and detailed interior decorations is called Chaharsu.
Some of the Different Parts of the Kerman Grand Bazaar
Ganj Ali Khan Bazaar
The Ganj Ali Khan complex is considered one of the architectural masterpieces of Iran and the turning point of the Kerman bazaar. The entire collection of Ganj Ali Khan is dedicated to Imam Reza (a.s.) and is in the custody of Astan Qods Razavi.
According to authentic documents, this complex was built in the place of the old bazaar of the city. And it is one of the most obvious examples of Safavid-era architecture. They built this complex in the years 1596 to 1619 during the rule of Ganj Ali Khan in Kerman, by the order of Shah Abbas. And finally, they completed it with the efforts of his son, Ali Mardan Khan.
Ganj Ali Khan chose a part of the bazaar at the intersection of the south, north, and east-west bazaars and proceeded to buy the buildings and free up the space around it, thus creating this precious complex. This market is located between Chahar Souq and Ekhtiari Bazaar and in the southern part of Ganj Ali Khan square. On the right side of this bazaar, there is the historical bathhouse of Ganj Ali Khan and 18 shops, and on the left side, there are beautifully designed arches.
The bazaar extends around Ganj Ali Khan square and connects the different structures of the complex such as the school, caravanserai, mosque, mint, and reservoir.
Ganj Ali Khan Caravanserai
They built the caravanserai (school) building with its four porches on two floors in the east of the square in the year 1598. Its inscriptions are written by Alireza Abbasi, a famous calligrapher of the Safavid era. And above its entrance, you can see very exquisite Moqarans decorations.
Ganj Ali Khan Mosque
Ganj Ali Khan Mosque or chapel is located in the east of the square, next to the school. Its area is 27 square meters. It is considered a small museum of post-Islamic architectural decorations of Iran in the Safavid period, such as plastering, tile work, calligraphy, Moqarans work, carving, sculpture, and beautiful paintings. In addition to this mosque, there are other mosques in the complex, one of which is located in Mesgari Chaharsoogh.
Ganj Ali Khan Bathhouse
Ganj Ali Khan Bathhouse is considered one of the architectural masterpieces of the East, all spaces are beautifully cut like crystal.
Ganj Ali Khan Chaharsoogh
The intersection of two bazaar lines is called Chahar Souq. Due to the meeting of the two lines of the bazaar at Ganj Ali Khan Chahar Sooq, in the past, this place was considered the most important and busiest point of the city. The interior of Chahar Souq is decorated with plaster and oil paintings. And even though 400 years have passed since they were painted, they still retain their beauty.
- Arg Bazaar
Arg Bazaar is located in the westernmost part of Kerman Bazaar, which starts from Arg Square and ends at Ganj Ali Khan Chaharsoogh. This market surrounds the area of Tohid Square and is divided into two sub-sections called “Naqarkhane Bazaar” and “Seraji Bazaar”.
The Naqarakhaneh Bazaar has a high ceiling and several rooms on the upper floor. In the past, they played the Naghareh (a classic Iranian musical instrument) on this floor in the evening to announce the time of the closing of the bazaar. Seraji market also starts from Naqarakhane market and ends at Chahar Souq. In the past, this market was the place of saddlers (the Seraj) and suitcase makers.
Ekhtiari Bazaar starts from the end of the southern bazaar of Ganj Ali Khan and extends to the first of Vakil Bazaar. This narrow bazaar can be considered the oldest part of the bazaar, which is important due to its location between Ganj Ali Khan and Vakil bazaars. So that it is limited to Ganj Ali Khan Bazaar from the west and Vakil Bazaar from the east.
Among the elements in this part of the market, we can mention Chehelsotun Mosque, Golshan Caravanserai, and at the end of it, Vakil Hammam which is turned into a traditional tea house, nowadays.
Vakil Bazaar and Vakil Complex
The founder of the Vakil bazaar and the complex was Mohammad Ismail Khan Vakil al-Mulk. He was the one who ruled Kerman from 1865. This complex is located to the east of the Ganj Ali Khan complex, a short distance from it along the large bazaar. Vakil Bazaar includes Vakil bazaar, Vakil caravanserai, Vakil bathhouse, and Vakil mosque. Vakil bathhouse is one of the most beautiful baths of the Qajar period in Kerman and is located near Ganj Ali Khan and Ibrahim Khan bathhouses. Vakil caravanserai with two floors is one of the main and important elements of this complex. Among its noteworthy elements, are the windcatcher and the clock tower.
Location of Kerman Bazaar and How To Get To Kerman Bazaar
You can access Kerman Grand Bazaar from several entrances:
From the west: Arg square
From the east: Mirza Rezai Kermani St
From the south: Imam Khomeini Street or Motahari Street
From the north: Shohada Square or Shariati Street
Access by Public Transport
The three-way north-south bus station on Shariati St., Mirza Rezai Kermani taxi station, and taxis to Arg Square (Toheed) are the best options to reach the market by public transportation.
Golbazan Street parking lots, Ebrahimi parking lot in Arg square, parking lot next to Hindu Caravanserai, Arg bazaar parking lot, bazaar parking lot (Imam Khomeini street, Imam alley 17) and Mozaffari bazaar parking lot are among the available parking lots in this big bazaar.
Where to Eat near Kerman Bazaar
- Vakil Tea House
- Aghababa Traditional Restaurant
- Wheelie cafe
- Cafe Radio
- Pelak-e 13 Cafe
- Rahimi Restaurant
- Ebrahim Khan Restaurant
- Soltan Traditional Restaurant
- Golshan Traditional Cafe
Where to Stay near Kerman Bazaar
- Hotel Pouya
- Shahbaz Traditional Hotel
- Hezar Hotel
- Kerman Hotel
- Kerman Pars International Hotel
- Khorram Garden Hostel
- Yas Guesthouse
- Golden Days Guest House
- Kerman Welcoming Hostel
- Moshtagh Guest House