Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran

An Old Jewel of the Desert
Header zeinodin caravanserai p2 - Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran
16 Feb

Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran

Are you a travel lover? Then, one of your main concerns might be the overnight accommodation. In the past, caravanserais (ancient Persian roadside inns) functioned as hotels for the travelers. Generally, they were rectangular in plan. Zeinodin Caravanserai, located in Mehriz (some 65 km north of Yazd), however features a round plan. The caravanserai is one of the two circular caravanserais in Iran and dates from the sixteenth century. For the most part, the caravanserai was built to serve as a venue for the meeting between Shah Abbas, Safavid king (1571-1629 AD) and Zeinodin Ganjali Khan, the governor of Kerman. So, it must have been quite something! Probably, you want to consider an overnight stay in this exclusive ancient hotel!

Why Visit Zein-o-din Caravanserai

  • It received the honorary diploma of UNESCO for employment of traditional building materials in the restoration of the structure.
  • Zeinodin Caravanserai is the only circular caravanserai on the southern Silk Road, which hosts visitors.
  • The exclusive purpose of construction of the caravanserai was for it to function as the meeting venue of the king and the governor of the region in the sixteenth century.
  • Staying at this caravanserai will provide you with a unique ancient hotel experience.

An Ancient Caravanserai Turned Into A Hotel – Zeinodin Caravanserai

At the present time, Zeinodin Caranserai has been glamorously restored and serves as a hotel with a capacity of one hundred guests. The interior of the caravanserai with its wooden doors, Termeh curtains, and hand-woven carpets bring about feeling of serenity. Contrary to the other restored ancient buildings which exhibit combined characteristics of antiquity and modernity, Zeinodin Caravanserai has retained its authenticity.

 Ancient Persian Caravanserais

These days, travelling has become popular among people of different kinds. Similarly, people would travel and explore varieties of lands in the past time. Back then, Caravanserais served as hotels for passengers by supplying them with meal and lodge. They even would meet trading and transportation needs of their guests. Traditionally, a caravanserais was a massive construction with several main or auxiliary structures. Particularly, each structure fulfilled certain functions. Maybe, these ancient hotels would also get stars based on the quality of their services. So, they attempted to include any structural element that would satisfy the guests better. Who knows?!

History of Safavid Caravanserais

Several Persian dynasties established caravanserais as welfare services complexes all over the history. However, caravanserais reached their pinnacle during Safavid Empire (1501-1722). Rumor has it Shah Abbas I had a nightmare about the world ending in 1000 AH (or 1591 AD). So, he was afraid that the world would end and he could not resume his reign. Consequently, he made a vow to construct several inns for travelers. Some years later he constructed 1000 caravanserais as his nightmare did not come true.

Later, he decided number 999 better represents the significance of his accomplishment. Actually, he believed number 999 is more mouth-filling and impressive than 1000. As a result, he ordered to destroy one caravanserai. Over time, many of these Shah Abbassi caravanserais were destroyed. Only 54 out of 999 were left, 25 of which were restored. Additionally, Zeinodin Ganjali Khan, the governor of Kerman ordered the foundation of Zeinodin Caravanserai in the sixteenthth century in Yazd for his meeting with Shah Abbas.

zeinodin caravanserai hitory - Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran
caravanserai in the Past

What Is Zeinodin Caravanserai Like?

If you have had the chance to visit a Persian Caravanserai, you will notice that they all have in common a rectangular plan. However, Zeinodin Caravanserai varies from other Persian caravanserais in that it is round in plan.  Are you craving for exploring a nostalgic brick structure? Then, this is the place to be! Let’s get a view of this caravanserai.

Exterior of Zeinodin Caravanserai

The first thing that will stand out in your visit to Zeinodin Caravanserai is the circular plan of the caravanserai. Firstly, you will behold a gate and five semi-circular towers, which are attached to eight-meter-high walls. The main entrance gate is in the south of the castle. One tower stands opposite to the gate, and two towers appear in the east, while, the two others appear in the west. The main highlight of the caravanserai is the symmetrical architecture of the structure.

exterior zeinodin caravanserai - Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran

exterior of zeinodin caravanserai

Interior of Zeinodin Caravanserai

Let’s enter the caravanserai to gain an impression of the structures inside the caravanserai. Once you walk in the caravanserai, you will find yourself in a Hashti (a space behind the gate). Two wooden doors in the east and west sides of Hashti open up to two corridors, which used to be stables. Astounding Termeh (Persian hadwoven cloth) curtains adorn these arch corridors. Pass through the Hashti into the central yard. The yard features twelve sides, each of which is named after an Imam (an Islamic leader). Riwaqs (arcades) with platforms surround the yard and lead to Shahneshin (VIP accommodation) and subsequently octagonal chambers. In the middle of the yard lies a pond, which is the main source of water supply in caravanserai.

Luxurious Shahneshin chambers were designed for the accommodation of the king, merchants and officials. Of course, caravanserai ensured full security of theses VIP chambers. Moreover, these luxurious rooms enjoyed the most subtle and eye-catching interior design in Zeinodin caravanserai. Two large octagonal chambers with domes and four smaller rooms stand behind the Shahneshin. Furthermore, a wind tower stands to the north of Shahneshin, which directs the cool wind into the construction. On the other hand, common people or companions of the king stayed in ordinary chambers.

interior of zeinodin caravanserai - Zein-o-Din Caravanserai | Mehriz, Yazd, Iran

Interior of zeinodin caravanserai

Desert Skygazing in Zeinodin Caravanserai

Two staircases on the sides of the yard lead to the roof of caravanserai, where skygazing enthusiasts can appreciate the breath-taking desert sky coupled with the silence of the night and the charm of the desert covered with sand.

More about Zein-o-din Caravanserai

Visit Hours and Days

Every day from 09:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Attractions Near Caravanserai

Sar Yazd Castle, located in Mehriz (in Yazd) is one of the oldest and most valuable castles in Iran. It is also the only well-preserved three-story historical attraction in Yazd province. This castle is among the oldest safe deposit boxes in Iran and the world that served for storing the villagers’ cereals, food, money, gold and jewelries. Moreover, Pahlavanpour Garden in Mehriz (in Yazd) is an extraordinary example of Iranian garden in the middle of the desert. Also, The 2000-year-old Mangabad Cypress is a natural attraction nearby.

Nearby Restaurants

Zeinodin Restaurant

Sarv Restaurant

Karen Retro Café and Restaurant

Caesar Restaurant

Like to check out Zeinodin Caravanserai?

Then join our Fahraj Desert & Cultural Attractions tour.

Have explored the adorable Yazd but still have a day left for digging deeper into the culture, history and the sand...
1 Day

Zein o din Caravanserai on Map

Zahra Soltani
Content Manager, International Relations Manager

To Zahra, introducing the beauties of Iran is a delight and an inherent mission! Beyond that, arts, culture, literature, mythology, and all the astonishing secrets of our marvelous universe set her soul on fire! This is what makes Zahra a filmophile, an insatiable reader, and a passionate writer.

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