An Old Huge Building in Downtown Shiraz

Shiraz is one of the most important cities of Iran. As a consequence of choosing Shiraz as the capital of Iran during Zandieh dynasty, the city encompasses several reminiscences of that era.

At the end of the Zand St., on a side of a wide square, Karim khan Citadel with its brick-made walls and four tall bastions is easily spotted. The huge elegant building with its simple appearance has been calmly observing the changes of the city for about 250 years.

They constructed Karim Khan Citadel for both governor’s residence and military issues. It’s interesting that right after Karim Khan’s domination over the country, They built the citadel just over a year. As a result of gathering lots of professional architects from around Iran. In addition to shipping the best materials from different regions of Iran and abroad.

Several Shiraz rulers had been residents of Karim khan Citadel for decades. Then it was used as a prison during the Pahlavi era that led to severe damage to wall paintings of its rooms.

Karim khan Citadel is currently used as a museum. 

 

Plan

Due to the simple martial appearance of the outside of Karim khan Citadel, you’d be surprised by what you face on the inside.

Right after passing the door, a curved vestibule guides you to the courtyard. Now the vast yard with most of it covered in orange trees is ahead of you. The floor is covered with marble stones from the day of construction. Also a long pool with fountains extends from the entrance side and crosses the yard to the other side where the main Shahneshin (room for the king) is located. 4 watercourses generate from the pool that each leads to one side of the yard. There are Shahneshins on three sides of the yard with 6 other rooms on both their  sides. Those rooms are all interconnected from inside, hence there is no need to exit the building to get to another room.

Furthermore, on the southeast corner of the courtyard lies the royal bathhouse, with fancy decorations and all features of a Persian bathhouse. To sum up another typical symmetric Persian architecture that is worth a visit without a doubt.

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Details

Yet the whole building specially the rooms are filled with amazing details. They thoroughly testify to the builders’ skills and their care for art and beauty. There is need to mention the stunning colorful glasses of the windows, the beautiful paintings on the walls and the fascinating plaster works on the ceilings. And above all the traditional Persian patterns all over the place.

As well as the wisely chosen materials for the pool, the floor, the ceiling, the walls and the pillars.

There is also a drawing of the battle between Rostam and Div-e-Sepid (a story from Shahnameh epic, Ferdowsi) above the entrance door that was added during Qajar dynasty.

Beauties

After passing through the building and making your way to the main loggia, you can easily visualize the past. Imagine the king, Karim Khan, Vakil-o-Roaya (advocate of the ordinary people), who always refused to wear a crown, had once stood in your spot and tried to govern this country.

Then slowly walk along the walls, the pool and notice the glory, the delicacy and the passion. Find a bench and sit among the scented trees for a while, at that time you’d gradually feel refreshed and relaxed.

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The fun fact about Karim khan Citadel is that one of the bastions is not straight. It slightly leads to one side, hence provides a good opportunity to take funny pictures. It was though well handled and designed in a way that hasn’t fallen down through these years.

The area around Karim khan Citadel is fairly landscaped. So make sure to buy “Faludeh”, the famous cold sweet dessert of Shiraz, from the popular shops behind the citadel. Spend some time there, and rest while having the pleasant view of the citadel.

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