Vakil Complex in Shiraz contains of traditional Bazaar, bath & mosque which was built in Zandieh dynasty (1750 – 1794 AD ).
The beautiful Masjed-e Vakil was begun by Karim Khan and is the only major mosque surviving from the late Zand period. Beside the entrance to the bazaar,it has two vast iwans to the north and south,a magnificent inner courtyard surrounded by beautifully tiled alcoves and porches,and a pleasingly proportioned 75m-by-36m vaulted prayer hall supported by 48 carved columns.Inside the prayer hall are an impressive mihrab and 14-step marble minbar, carved from a monolith carried all the way from Azerbaijan. Much of the tiling,with its predominantly floral motifs and arabesques,was added in the early Qajar era.
Vakil Bath was built on the order of Karim Khan Zand. the bath has been built according to the most advanced principles of architecture. For example, the entrance is small and has a modest steep hallway leading to a vestibule below the ground level.
The entrance to the cloakroom is angular to prevent cold air entering and heat to exit. The hot chamber is paved with stones under which there is a narrow corridor through which heat weather and steam passed to heat the bath floor. There is the reservoir with two great boilers, in the south of the bath, to heat the water. Also, there is a marble pool in the middle of each alcove. Some beautiful designs under the dome depict scenes of religious, love, traditional and fictional tales.
Shiraz’s ancient trading district is comprised of several bazaars dating from different periods. The finest and most famous is the Bazar-e Vakil,a cruciform structure commissioned by Karim Khan as part of his plan to make Shiraz into a great trading centre. The wide vaulted brick avenues are masterpieces of Zand architecture,with the design ensuring the interior remains cool in summer and warm in winter.
Today,it’s home to almost 200 stores selling carpets,handicrafts,spices and clothes and is one of the most atmospheric bazaars in Iran,especially in the early evening when it is fantastically photogenic. As usual,it’s best explored by wandering without concern for time or direction,soaking up the atmosphere in the maze of lanes leading off the main thoroughfares.
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