Kerman Vakil Bazaar

Kerman Vakil Bazaar
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Kerman Vakil Bazaar

The extensive Regents Bazaar, constructed of beautiful and well-preserved brick, much of it from the Safavid period, is largely of interest for its architecture rather than for the range of goods, although there are a few metalwork shops selling brass trays and the like noisily hammered into shape on site. Built by Mohammad Ismail Khan, Vakil ol-Molk, who was an energetic governor of Kerman from 1859 to 1866, the Vakil caravansary with its attractively tiled walls, adjoins the main Vakil Bazaar.

The caravansary provides office accommodation for bazaar merchants. The two handsome “chimneys” are in fact wind towers (bad-girs), which are a common feature of Kerman, Yazd, and other desert towns of Iran. Cool air was drawn down to basement rooms which were used during the scorching summer months. The temperature in these rooms is between 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in those above ground in summer.

Perhaps the most enchanting corner of Kerman bazaar is the entrance to the Ebrahim Khan Madraseh and Bath House (hamman). Built in 1816-17 by a cousin and son-in-law of Fath Ali Shah, Ebrahim Khan, who was the governor of Kerman from 1802 to 1824, the entrance portals are decorated with gay tilework, whose designs include peacocks, water fowl, flowers and calligraphic inscriptions. The interior of both buildings is worth their entrances. The tiled and single-story Madraseh is built round a peaceful, cypress-shaded courtyard, while the walls of hamman are decorated with amusing painting said to date from the end of the 18th century. There is a traditional and very atmospheric tea house inside the Vakil Bazaar, which is called the Ghahveh Khaneh Sonnati.

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