The 10th most populous city of Iran, Kerman is home to numerous historical mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples. Kerman neighbors Lut Desert on the north and east, Bam and Jiroft cities on the south and the cities of Ravar, Zarand, Rafsanjan and Bardesir in the west.
Because of its proximity to Lut Desert, Kerman has hot summers and winters with very cold night temperatures. Some of Kerman’s surrounding mountains are snow-topped all year round.
There are several accounts about the history of the city. In Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings), which recounts Iran’s mythical and historical past, the righteous Kiani King Kay Khosrow (Keykhosro) gave this city to the legendary hero Rostam as a reward for his services. Kianian are the second Aryan dynasty after the Pishdadian in Persian folklore.
Based on the remains of several Sassanid (224-651 CE) structures namely Ardashir Castle and Dokhtar Castle, which is believed to have been temple dedicated to the Persian water Goddess Anahita, it is believed that Ardashir I the Unifier (180-242 CE), the founder of the Sassanid empire, built this city as a military outpost named Gavashir. Ardashir I is said to have turned Kerman into a flourishing city and made his son its governor.
When Marco Polo visited the city in the 13th century, Kerman was a major trade emporium linking the Persian Gulf with Khorasan and Central Asia.
Kerman has a number of attractions including the extravagant Qajar era (1785-1925) Ghaffari and Aminian Houses, the Seljuq era (1038-1118) Malek Mosque, the Muzaffarid era (1314–1393) Jame Mosque, the Harandi Garden, the Moshtaqieh Dome and a Pahlavi era (1925-1979) Fire Temple.
Perhaps the most famous of Kerman’s attractions is the Ganjali Khan Complex next to the Kerman Grand Bazaar. This Safavid era (1501–1736) complex consists of a square, bazaar, bathhouse, mosque, Ab-Anbar (water reservoir), mint and a monument.
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Roghan Jooshi- A traditional bread made with a mixture of coriander, fennel, poppy, fenugreek and caraway seeds, coated with turmeric.
- Kolompeh- A cookie stuffed with date, walnut, cardamom and cinnamon.
- Boz Ghormeh- A thick lamb soup made with chickpea, garlic, onion and whey, decorated with fried mint.