Centuries-old Arg-e Karim Khan still stands tall

November 6, 2016 - 12:36

The Arg-e Karim Khan is an immense brick fortress that has dominated the southern city of Shiraz since the 18th century.

Part of a historical complex, the Arg is named after the founder of Zand Dynasty Mohammad Karim Khan Zand who ruled Iran from 1751 to 1779 and selected Shiraz as his capital. 

The massive walls of the citadel feature ornamental brickwork designs in particular on the four circular tower-like structures punctuating each of its corners.

However, the southeastern tower generally catches the eyes of the passersby due to its noticeable lean, having subsided into a concealed cistern which once supplied the bathhouse of the Arg.

Walking inside, one encounters a typical design of the Persian garden that interweaves different fields of knowledge such as water management and engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture.

The citadel was used to be a prison for a while in the 20th century, however the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization has turned it into a museum showcasing aspects of Zand-era Iran.

It also features a variety of wax figures and effigies representing the king, his courtiers and some others who are clad in traditional outfits. 

Frescos embellishing the walls and ceilings, well –furnished rooms along with rich architecture of the interior contribute to the charm of the place.

Here is a select of comments that visitors to the historic fortress have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:

“The leaning tower of Shiraz”

Sorry to say, but this old fortress and former prison is more interesting viewed from the outside, so if you are short of time and/or money - just shoot it from the corner, where the picturesque tower leans heavily as its sister in Pisa, Italy. (Mogeltoft from Denmark, visited July 2016)

“Inspiration for the ‘Tower of Pisa’ ”

Have a looking at the leaning tower on the Southern side of the Citadel and you'll be strongly reminded of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. Fantastic mudbrick architecture, well worth a visit inside. (Markus U. from Austria, visited September 2016)

“Impressive walls suggest a fort”

The impressive walls suggest a fort but in fact they are just for show and inside was a residence. Nothing much to see inside. (Martin W. from France, visited October 2016)

“Center of attractions”

A standout attraction in Shiraz that you won't miss. Inside it, however, is nothing much to bode. Most interesting area is actually the bath hall. Beautiful and quite technologically advance for its time. (Chai T. from Thailand, visited October 2016)

PHOTO: An undated photo depicts passersby looking at Arg-e Karim Khan, the 18th-century immense fortress dominating downtown Shiraz in southern Iran.


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