The city of Kerman is located on the edge of the Dasht-e Lut desert at an altitude of 1,750 metres. It is the capital of the province of the same name. The city was probably founded in the 3rd century AD by the Sassanid king Ardashir I with the name Karmania, meaning courage and struggle.

Kerman is a production centre for Persian carpets, silk and pistachios on the world market. The province is rich in minerals such as copper, coal, chrome, lead, zinc, uranium and aluminium.

The Kerman region was an important strategic and commercial location between Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Hindu Valley. Agriculture flourished there until Tamerlane’s troops destroyed the irrigation networks. Kerman had a great history because of its strategic location. This city opens the way to India and Pakistan on the east side, to Port Bandar Abbas on the south and further to the Persian Gulf. To go to Babylon, Susa, Persepolis, one had to go west, which is why Kerman was one of the satrapies of the Persian Empire since Darius the Great.

When Marco Polo visited the city in 1271, it had become an important trading centre connected thanks to the Persian Gulf, Khorasan and Central Asia.

Kerman expanded rapidly during the Safavid period and its carpets were exported to England and Germany during this time. In 1793 Lotf ʿAli Khān defeated the Qajars and conquered Kerman in 1794. Soon afterwards, however, he was besieged for six months by Agha Moḥammad Khān in Kerman. When the city surrendered to Agha Mohammad Khan, the latter, irritated by the popular support Lotf Ali Khan had received, had all the men slaughtered or blinded, and a heap of 20,000 eyes, cored from their sockets, was piled up before them. Women and children were enslaved and the city was razed to the ground in 90 days of war rage.
The city of Kerman was rebuilt north of the old city in the 19th century, but the city did not regain its former grandeur until the 20th century.

ATTRACTIONS

 

The Ganjali Khan complex,

is a complex of buildings from the Safavid era, located in the historic center of the city of Kerman. The complex consists of a school, a caravanserai, an Ab Anbar (water tank), a mosque and a bazaar and a bathroom.

Hammam Ganjali Khan,

it is a bathroom and is one of the architectural masterpieces of Iran from a decorative point of view. This ancient bathroom, built in 1631 for Ganj Ali Khan, governor of Kerman, features elegant tiles and sumptuous frescoes depicting men and animals at the entrance. Today the spa complex also serves as an anthropological museum where it will be possible to learn more about the customs and traditions of the people of the period in which the Hammam was built.

The internal space is divided into three parts: Frigidarium, Tiepidarium, Caldarium. What highlights the beauty of this Hammam is the decoration of the walls and the position of the water basins in the first room. Each pavilion of this environment is reserved for a different social class: the descendants of the Prophet, the clergy, the local lords, the nobles, the merchants of the bazaar and the peasants.

Moayedi icebox

It is a cone-shaped semi-buried structure that was used to store ice, but sometimes also to store food. In Iran, Persian engineers already mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. The ice was brought from the surrounding mountains during the winter and was then stored in the iceboxes called Yakhchal in Persian which literally means the ice pit. Under the conical dome lies a large underground space surrounded by thick walls and built with a mortar made up of sand, clay, egg white, lime, goat hair and ash in specific proportions.

Lut Desert; Shahdad and Kalut

One last inhabited center on the edge of the desert: Shahdad. Where, along the road, you can see the very particular Nebka also known as Tamarici (the vases of the desert) which in the Lut desert reach an incomparable height compared to the other deserts on the planet. The eastern side of the desert is a low plateau covered in a layer of salt, while the central point of the desert is sculpted by the wind in a series of parallel ridges and valleys that can reach up to 70 meters high. To discover the Yardang or the Kalut you have to get on an off-road vehicle and go to contemplate Kalut or the ridges created by the erosion of the wind that are located just ahead of the village. Yardang in Persian is known as Kalut while Yardang etymologically derives from Turkish. The local guides say that the Kalut are the work of the jinn, entities known in the Islamic world as malevolent ghosts, in reality they are formed by the wind that here always blows in the same direction and over the millennia has eroded the bottom of the sea to form them as they are now. . The Dasht-e-Lut has been included in the Unesco heritage as a landscape site of Iranian nature. During the short wet season, in spring, the water from the Kerman mountains floods the area, but in a short time it dries up, leaving behind only sand and salt.

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Sandra Haarmann

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