About Kerman, with four UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
Kerman Province (Ostān-e Kermān) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Kerman is in the southeast of Iran with its administrative center in the city of Kerman. Mentioned in ancient times as the Achamenid satrapy of Carmania, it is the largest province of Iran with an area of 180,726 km², that encompasses nearly 11 percent of the land area of Iran.The population of the province is about 3 million (9th in the country). The main townships of Kerman province are Baft, Bardsir, Bam, Jiroft, Rafsanjan, Zarand, Sirjan, Shahr-e Babak, Kerman, Mahan, Rayen, Kahnuj, Ghale-Ganj, Manujan, Roodbar-e-Jonob, Anbar Abad, and Ravar.
In 1996, 52.9% of Kerman’s population lived in urban areas, 46% in the rural vicinities, with the remaining 1.1% accounted as non-residents. The city of Kerman (population: 750,000) embraces about 80% of the urban population, being the most developed and largest city of the province.
Kerman is one of the five historical cities of Iran. From the industrial, political, cultural and scientific points of view, it is the most important city in the southeast of Iran.
The economy of Kerman is mostly based on farming and also mining. Sarcheshmeh Copper mine is the second biggest copper mine in the world after the one located in Chile. Pistachio is an important source of economy in Kerman, with Kerman province being the biggest producer of pistachio in Iran and all over the world.
Carpet weaving, which is a very old tradition, is one of the main industries of the city, and Kermanian carpets are renowned internationally. The oldest carpet discovered in Kerman dates from about 500 years ago, which proves the precedence of weaving in this city.
The most important industries of Kerman province include:
Some of the Most Popular Sightseeing of Kerman Province:
1. Ganjali Khan Complex:
This is a Safavid-era building complex, located in the old center of city of Kerman, Iran. 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.
The Ganjali Khan Complex was built by Ganjali 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 meters—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 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 schools.
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 finish 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
The Caravanserai 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.
1. Bagh e Shahzadeh (Shahzadeh garden):
This remarkable garden was made in the 1890s by the Governor of Kerman. It is a rectangular green oasis surrounded by brown desert. There are pavilions and a central canal. 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.
The garden was built originally for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani ca.1850 and was extended ca.1870 by Abdolhamid Mirza Naserodollehand during the eleven years of his governorship in the Qajar dynasty. The construction was left unfinished, due to the death of Abdolhamid Mirza in the early 1890s. This garden has inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
2. Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine:
This is a historical complex, located in Mahan, which contains the mausoleum (i.e. tomb) of Shah Nematollah Vali, the renowned Iranian mystic and poet. Shah Nematollah Vali died in 1431 aged over 100. In 1436 a shrine was erected in his honor and became a pilgrimage site; with the attention of successive rulers contributing various additions over the centuries.
The shrine complex comprises four courtyards, a reflecting pool, a mosque and twin minarets covered with turquoise tiles from the bottom up to the cupola. The earliest construction is attributed to the Bahmanid ruler Ahmed I Vali who erected the sanctuary chamber in 1436. Shah Abbas I undertook extensions and renovations in 1601, including reconstruction of the tiled blue dome, described as “one of the most magnificent architectural masterpieces in old Persia”. During the Qajar period the site was particularly popular, necessitating the construction of additional courtyards to accommodate increased numbers of pilgrims. The minarets also date from this period. The small room where Nematollah Vali prayed and meditated contains plasterwork and tile decorations. The complex is also famous for its tile-work and seven ancient wooden doors. The complex includes some courtyards and other sections which are as follows when one moves from the street toward the interior of the mosque: Atabaki courtyard, Vakil-ol-Molki courtyard, Modir-ol-Molki portico, the shrine, Shah Abbasi portico, Mirdamad courtyard and Hosseiniyeh courtyard.
Shahdad Desert (Kalut Shahdad):
Shahdad Desert is 100 Kilometers from Kerman. From east, it is 30 Kilometers from Dasht-e Lut and overlooks a plain called Tekab that makes up the main part of Khabis. This region is known as one of the Geothermal Poles among the geologists. Lut Desert, the world’s 25th largest desert, has inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list on July 17, 2016 at the 40th World Heritage Conference of UNESCO.
Current Shahdad is in a triangular shape whose vertex is located towards the Kenaran Valley and its base is located in the east in Tekab and leads to parallel yardangs in the margin of Lut. Shahdad lands are all covered with Citrus and palm groves.
Near Shahdad, there are gravellies (desert vases) that are sometimes 10 Meters long, while the longest gravelly of African deserts are 3 Meters long. In Shahdad Desert, there are 100 Hectares of salt marsh in the shape of boiling eggs that are unique in the world.
Throughout Shahdad, monuments related to the fourth millennium BC to the Islamic and contemporary periods such as cemeteries, forts, caravanserais, etc. can be observed. But the most important and unique asset of this desert region are yardangs. With regard to roughness and genesis, yardangs are unique in the world and there are numerous secrets of the principles and properties of their genesis. Looking at them from a far distance associates them with a big city with numerous skyscrapers and this is the reason for foreign tourists calling it City of the Ghosts.
Shahdad Desert Camp is 20 Kilometers from Shahdad in Nehbandan route and at the last points in which life is continuing. After Seif and Shafi Abad Villages, it is located in between the hills. Water, electricity, WC, an outdoor amphitheater, sun bathing, sleeping in the sand and relaxing in 35 Pergola made of natural materials such as palm leaves are among the facilities and equipment for hosting desert guests.
Cultural Landscape of Maymand:
Meymand is a village of troglodytes - cave dwellers - located in the south-eastern Iranian province of Kerman. Meymand village has been continuously inhabited for 2,000 to 3,000 years making it one of Iran's four oldest surviving villages. Maymand is a self-contained, semi-arid area at the end of a valley at the southern extremity of Iran’s central mountains. The villagers are semi-nomadic agro-pastoralists. They raise their animals on mountain pastures, living in temporary settlements in spring and autumn. During the winter months they live lower down the valley in cave dwellings carved out of the soft rock (kamar), an unusual form of housing in a dry, desert environment. This cultural landscape is an example of a system that appears to have been more widespread in the past and involves the movement of people rather than animals.
This village has inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2014.