Ganjali Khan complex reminiscent of everyday life in 17th-century Iran

February 18, 2020 - 18:55

TEHRAN - The historical Ganjali Khan complex, which is composed of a madrasa, a mosque, a caravanserai, a hammam (public bathhouse), a water reservoir and a labyrinth bazaar, all centered on a large public square, is a typical Iranian tourist spot to wander around!

Located in Kerman, southern Iran, the complex is well designed for avid anthropologists, travelers or even curious people to catch on how typical Iranians lived during the 17th-century Safavid era in Iran.

Lavishly decorated structures and abundant wax dummies clad in indigenous outfits could help visitors better conceive traditions, culture and lifestyle of the time.

Covering an area of 11,000 square meters, the compound was built upon the order of Ganjali Khan who governed Kerman and some neighboring areas during the late 16th to early 17th centuries under Safavid Shah Abbas I (r. 1571-1629).

With an entrance at the northeastern corner of the square, the mosque though is small in size enjoys elaborate tilework and arabesque designs. It boasts a gilt-pattern inner dome and honeycomb windows.

The hammam has been repurposed into an anthropology-like museum in which wax dummies illustrate the workings of a traditional bathhouse. There is also a display case of antique washing utensils. The waxworks clearly illustrate the activities which took place in the old hammam: including a rather chubby chap being cleaned!

The bazaar is ornamented with exquisite plasterwork and wall paintings that are well-preserved although they are roughly 400 years old.

The caravanserai is based on the four-iwan typology, with guest rooms constructed around a courtyard. Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) is credited with building a network of caravanserais across Iran during the much later Safavid dynasty.

The big and sprawling Kerman province has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity, blending Persians with subcontinental tribe dwellers. It is home to myriad historical sites and scenic landscapes such as Bazaar-e Sartasari, Jabalieh Dome, Ganjali Khan Bathhouse, Malek Jameh Mosque and Shahdad Desert to name a few.


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