Ganjali Khan Complex | Mosque in Kerman, Iran
If you long to travel in time to four hundred years ago in Persia to get a sense of the architecture of Safavid Empire (1501-1722), Ganjali Khan Complex in Kerman city is the place to be. In particular, Ganjali Khan exhibits an integrated ensemble of a bazaar (ancient marketplace), hamam (bath), square, caravanserai (ancient roadside inn), water reservoir, mosque, and mint. Indeed, Ganjali Khan Complex is an excellent example of an ancient welfare services complex in Persia in the early 17th century. This ensemble shares architectural characteristics with Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and Amir Chakhmaq square in Yazd. On the three sides of the Ganjali Khan Square, you will observe the Grand Bazaar of Kerman, the largest old grand bazaar in Iran. Since various rulers of different eras had their contribution to the structure of the bazaar, you can explore several decades along bazaar. Ready for a walk in history?
Why Visit Ganjali Khan Complex
• Ganjali Khan Complex is home to the largest old grand bazaar in Iran.
• Ganjali Khan Complex features one of the most fascinating hamams from the 17th century.
•It shares with you the sense of bazaars in Iran in the 17th century.
• The amazing architectural characteristics of the complex allows you to envision yourself in Safavid era.
• You can access the best local handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicacies in Ganjali Khan Bazaar.
The Story Behind the Name of Ganjali Khan Complex
Ganjali Khan Complex was named after Ganjali Khan, the fearless commander and ruler at the time of Shah Abbas, the Safavid King (1571-1625 AD), who ruled around thirty years. Moreover, Shah Abbas put him in charge of governing Kandahar and Herat. At that time, he carried out multitude of civil engineering projects in Kerman. Among his non-profit constructions was the extraordinary Ganjali Khan Complex, which included a bazaar, hamam, square, caravanserai, water reservoir, mosque, and mint.
The Spectacular Structure of Ganjali Khan Complex
Ganjali Khan Complex with its bazaar, hamam, square, caravanserai, water reservoir, mosque, and mint, located in the heart of Kerman is a comprehensive representative of Kerman’s 17th century architecture. Any of above fabulous structures contributes to the architectural value of the ensemble. So, it is worth describing each for a deeper impression.
Ganjali Khan Square
The rectangular Ganjali Khan Square used to be the trade center and the social gathering event venue of the old town of Kerman. A bazaar surrounds three sides of square, while the Saraye Ganjali Khan sits on the fourth side. Particularly, this square is comparable to Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and Amir Chakhmaq Square in Yazd. Indeed, multiple gardens and an ornamental pond in the center provide a peaceful area, where you can spend hours beholding the beauties of Ganjali Khan. Particularly, the astounding tilework and brick arches will attract your attention. Chiefly, this area is a car-free zone, which reinforces the peaceful atmosphere of the square.
Ganjali Khan Aromatic Bazaar
Treat your nose and eyes to a colorful aromatic collection of spices and delicacies in Bazar. In order to visit the main Rasteh (a series of shops in a similar occupational group) of bazaar, you need to head to the southern part of the square. On the right side, you will see Ganjali Khan Hamam besides eighteen stores. As you walk in Ganjali Khan Bazaar, the aroma of spices, condiments and sweets fascinate you. Furthermore, this bazar is an eye-catching gallery of colors. All these smells, flavors, and shiny colors provide you with a sense of the life of the locals several hundred years ago. In addition, you can experience Iranian architecture along this large market three kilometers long. Above all, you will behold amazing old caravanserais, Saras (a place in Bazaar designed for wholesale), and Timches (A small caravanserai with some stores, where merchants could trade), which are perpendicular to each other. Also, you can resume your journey to the end of Bazaar and visit the elegant Qeysarieh Bazaar.
Ganjali khan Hamam
Ganjalikhan Hamam is the most significant structure of Ganjalikhan complex, located on the southern part of the square and in the middle of the Bazaar. Undoubtedly, this hamam is among the most charming tourist attractions in Kerman. The well-known architect, Sultan Muhammad Meamar-e Yazdi designed the building. Moreover, the artistic works of famous calligrapher, Alireza Abbasi adorn the hamam. Above all, extraordinary paintings, tilework, and stuccowork attract art and architecture enthusiasts.
Interestingly, various places were designed in the hamam for people of different social ranks. This architectural feature will attract you if you are an anthropology admirers. Following the restorations in 1971, the hamam has been functioning as Kerman’s Museum of Anthropology. The museum showcases wax statues dressed with Kerman’s local costumes. The wax statues depict traditional bathing styles in 17th century in Iran.
Particularly, the hamam consists of Rakhtkan (locker room), Garmkhane (a hot area in the bath), Sarsara (lobby), Dalan (corridor) and Hakem neshin (governor’s section). Hamam exhibits a comprehensive water system. In fact, a series of Qanats (underground water system) supplied the water for hamam. Besides, they would heat hamam using desert shrubs. An intelligent architectural characteristic of the bath is that it was built below the ground level. Thus, hamam is fairly earthquake resistant.
A must-see section of hamam is the time stone slab. On the eastern and western sides of hamam, you will face two stone pieces known as Time Stone Slabs. In fact, these two stone slabs are made of monolith marble stones. As sun shone through these stone slabs, the reflection of the light on the opposing wall signaled the sunrise as well as the sun set. Hence, people in the bath would become aware of the approximate prayer times.
Ganjali Khan Caravanserai
On the eastern side of the square stands Ganjali Khan Caravanserai. Though, it is interesting to mention that Ganjalikhan Caravanserai used to be a school in the past. The reason for such a claim is the architecture of the structure is not similar to the common caravanserais from Safavid era. Significantly, the major masterpiece that you will notice in the caravanserai is a huge motif of a Chinese-Mongolian style winged dragon. Ganjali Khan Caravanserai comprised several chambers. At the present time, these chambers function as gift shops and handicraft workshops.
Ganjali Khan Mosque
Head to the north of the square and you will find the marvelous Ganjali Khan Mosque before yourself. They built the mosque for the residents of the caravanserai and the students of the school so that they could pray. Let’s immerse ourselves into the beauties of the mosque. A stunning stuccowork with geometrical patterns adorn the modest facade of Iwan (porch). Iwan also features a stone floor and a stone inscription above its wooden door. Once you pass through the Iwan’s gate, you will find yourself in a narrow corridor. Then, you will reach a shabestan (prayer hall) with an absorbing dome over it. Despite its small size, the mosque exhibits an astonishing Shabestan and entrance gate. In particular, charming stuccoworks, Muqarnas (ornamented vaulting), painting and framing have augmented the beauty of the mosque. Additionally, marble slabs and vase motifs appealingly decorate Mihrab (niche).
Ganjali Khan Coin Museum
In the north of square, in the middle of Ganjali Khan Bazaar, a mint stands. Indeed, this construction functioned as a place for the gold and silver coin mintage in the Safavid time. Currently, the mint houses a coin museum, where you can behold various types of old coins. These coins belong to diverse Persian dynasties from the 3rd century BC till 20th century, including Parthian, Sassanid, Ummayed, Abbasi, Gurakani, Timurid, Muzaffarid, Ilkhanid, Safavid, Afsharid, Zandiye, Qajar, and Pahlavi. Furthermore, some notes from recent times also exist in the collection.
Ganjali Khan Complex – Attractions Nearby
Not far from the Ganjali Khan Complex, you can visit several historical attractions, which are worth the visit. Friday Mosque of Kerman, also known as Mozaffari Mosque dating back to the 14th century; Khaje Atabak Mausoleum, belonging to the 10th century; Nur Ali Shah Khanghah; Green Dome of Kerman; Museum of Industrial Arts; Arg Square; and Ibrahim Khan Complex are great examples.
More about Ganjali Khan Complex
When to Visit Ganjali Khan Complex
The best time to visit Kerman is spring and early autumn.
Visit Hours of Ganjali Khan Hamam
Every day from 08:00 a.m. to 08:30 p.m.
Visit Hours of Ganjali Khan Mosque
Every day from 07:00 a.m. to 08 p.m.
Visit Hours of Ganjali Khan Mint
Every day from 09:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.
Where to Eat Nearby
Ibrahim Khan Restaurant
Vakil Café and Restaurant
Golshan Café and Traditional Restaurant
Like to visit Ganjali Khan Complex?
Then our 13-DAY IRAN TOUR: HISTORY, CULTURE & SAND tour is the one for you.