Kerman, the outlandish city of lush gardens in the middle of the desert, raises your heartbeat and plays with your imagination. You can walk inside majestic mansions to see the trace of a rich culture in every corner, trek mountain hills, and find yourself staring at the captivating buildings made of clay.
As one of the largest cities of Iran, Kerman is located in the southwest of Iran, near Yazd, which makes it share some similarities with that city. The combination of fascinating domes with Persian gardens represents the mythical Tower of Babel and drowns you inside its endless magic.
The History of Kerman
The history of Kerman goes back to Achaemenid Dynasty when this city was under Cyrus the Great commands, and the houses were built on the hill of the mountains. The high clay-made castles in Kerman stand strong to represent the power of the Persian Empire, and the combination of Islamic forms with Persian arts creates a new level of beauty in the design of gardens and mosques.
The talented people of Kerman proved their ability to create exceptional handicrafts throughout history. The art of scarf weaving was a major industry in Kerman because of the high-quality materials such as wool, and they created fascinating patterns of paisley designs in the scarves. However, this art faded away during the Qajar Dynasty, and the people of Kerman started to use these patterns in designing and weaving carpets. Since then, Kerman’s carpets are one of the most popular Persian rugs, famous for their colorful and floral patterns.
The meaning of Kerman is intertwined with Persian mythological stories. Ferdowsi, the narrator of Shahnameh and one of the most famous Persian poets, mentions Kerman in his book. Legend says that Kerman was an independent region ruled by a tyrant king called Haftwad. One day his daughter was eating an apple and found a worm inside. The girl considered the worm as a symbol of luck and Instead of throwing the worm away, she decided to keep it alive and have it as a pet. The worm blessed the family and got bigger and bigger, so the vicious king threatened the people by using the worm as a fear factor and received expensive taxes. Ardeshir, who was a brave hero and the king of Persia, could not stand this injustice and attacked Haftwad to seize power. Ardeshir knew that he could not beat the worm in a fight, so he came up with a plan. When the worm was eating food, he poured molten lead inside its throat and made the worm explode from inside. People were happy and free after all, but since “worm” translated to Kerm in the Persian language, the city was called Kerman.
Stories aside, some linguists believe that Kerman means the city of hardworking people since those who live there deal with difficulties and work hard every day.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Kerman?
Being located near the desert, Kerman has one of the highest temperatures among cities in Iran; however, during the winter, the town gets very cold. Because of this diverse climate, the best time to visit Kerman is in spring or fall when the weather is pleasant enough to let you explore different parts of the city and enjoy hiking the mountains or trekking phenomenal landscapes.
Kerman Province shares borders with Khorasan, Fars, Yazd, Hormozgan, and Sistan-o Balouchestan. The capital city of Kerman is located in the northeast of the province. You can see the map below.
Kerman Top Attractions
Every part of the city offers you a new aspect of Persian culture, where you will encounter some of the most exceptional UNESCO World Heritage sites. Being in Kerman, you are able to explore magnificent natural wonders, witness green Persian gardens, and get stunned, looking at historical buildings all over the city.
Jabalieh Dome is presumably a fire temple that remained from the Sassanid Dynasty, but there is still an argument between the archeologists about this place. The whole building is made of stones, and people claim that the workers used camel milk instead of water, for building the structure. That is why the building has remained so strong.
The octagonal walls of the place are linked together by a dome, which is the landmark of the Sassanid architecture, and you can see traces of Islamic architectural design in it since the building was renovated later.
Like Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan, Ganjali Khan Square represents the Persian lifestyle during the Safavid Dynasty. This square includes the main aspects of Persian life, which are religion, economy, and education.
In the southern part of the square, old Kerman Bazaar is designed with the geometrical ceiling and filled with colorful Persian handicrafts, spices, and copper dishes. You can also see the vendors in front of the bazaar’s gate who are trying to show you their goods and convince you to buy something from them.
If you move on to the northeast of the square, you will see Islamic patterns on the plaster designs of the Ganjali Khan Mosque. The combination of camel color along with blue and orange on the arch-shaped entry of the mosque is spectacular. You can walk inside, look at the ceiling, and be surprised by the clever usage of lights and colors that makes the interior part of the mosque look majestic.
Right in the east part of the mosque, you can see Ganjali Khan School, which was used to teach children literacy and Quran; however, this place was used as a caravanserai later on. The design of the building follows the same theme of the complex, but several rooms with arch-shaped entries that are covered with Islamic patterns are impressive.
The existence of a Persian Bath (Hammam) and a reservoir, complete this complex and make it perfect. Besides the gorgeous floral design of the walls, you can see a poem written in Nastaliq font (Iranian calligraphy), which talks about the value of these places.
Shazdeh Mahan Garden or the Prince Garden is located in the Tirgan mountain hills near Kerman. What distinguishes this garden from the other Persian gardens is its unique architectural design. When you enter the garden, you see a stream flowing on a stairway in front of you. The fantastic design of the fountain makes the atmosphere look like a paradise.
By walking under the high trees and looking at the colorful pattern of Kolah Farangi, you cannot believe that this garden is located near the desert.
Designed columns that stand under a dome-shaped ceiling are open from at least two sides to form a structure called Kolah Farangi or Kooshk in Farsi. This form is a kind of pavilion (kiosk), which is one of the significant elements of Persian architecture used in gardens.
This garden is one of the UNESCO World Heritage that undoubtedly worth visiting.
The best word to describe this place is magnificent. By going to Jameh or Mozaffari Mosque of Kerman, you will see a reflection of a massive structure on the surface of the pool that dances by each wave caused by breezes.
The rectangular shape of the mosque is covered with blue Islamic patterns and surrounded by smaller rooms.
This mosque is located in the Shohada square and is still in use.
The Lut Desert
Lut Desert or the hottest place on earth is located close to Kerman and will melt your heart and show you the real magic of nature. When you are walking on the soft golden sands, you can take a deep breath and enjoy the pure silence of the desert. You can continue exploring Lut and passing fascinating sand dunes to find Kalut. These natural phenomena are located in Shahdad region and look like huge statues in the middle of the desert. Due to the wind abrasion of sands, these bedrocks shaped this way to form the largest cloddish town.
You can experience all the desert’s wonders by booking the Lut Desert Tour.
Bam Citadel is located near Kerman and was considered the biggest clay-made city in the world. Unfortunately, a powerful earthquake in 2003 destroyed a considerable part of the Arg, but luckily, with the help of UNESCO, Arg-e Bam could be saved and renovated.
The majestic castle in the central part of the citadel, which is surrounded by different types of rooms for different seasons of the year, is still attractive for visitors.
By entering the place, you will forget about the time, and you can only focus on the mysterious atmosphere of Arg-e Bam.
What are Kerman’s Best Hotels?
Kerman has always been famous for its perfect hotels and the hospitality of its people. If you are looking for accommodation when you are traveling to this city, you can find a suitable place amongst the best hotels and hostels of Kerman.
The five-star Kerman Pars Hotel, located in Jomhouri Islami Boulevard, is close to Kerman's airport as well as the city’s top tourist attractions. Inspired by Kerman’s architectural design, Pars Hotel offers a pleasant and unforgettable accommodation.
While entering the building, you see the bright lobby with its ceramic floor and large windows. There is a piano in the corner of the lobby, which has an excellent harmony with the ambiance of the place.
Two restaurants and two coffee shops in the hotel provide delicious Persian and international food. Although the hotel is nice in general, the facilities may not be enough for a 5-star hotel.
Arg-e Jadid Hotel
The four-star Arg-e Jadid Hotel is a combination of modern architectural design with some inspiration of Persian culture. By being located near Arg-e Bam, you have no difficulties reaching there. The gorgeous fountain and light works of the hotel’s exterior design welcome you inside to see a lobby decorated with white furniture and traditional Persian patterns.
The simple design of the rooms convey a comfortable feeling, and good facilities of the hotel make you feel at home.
One of the most beautiful and traditional hotels in Kerman is Shahbaz Hotel, located in Ferdowsi Street. The design of the building is marvelous. You enter a Persian wooden door and find yourself inside a lovely yard full of trees and flowers with a pool in the middle.
The lobby of the hotel has beautiful traditional decor with tile works and old Persian urns. The rooms also look traditional and comfortable. The beds are designed with Termeh (Persian fabric), and you can find old traditional lanterns next to your bed.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly hotel in Kerman, you can choose the two-star Akhavan Hotel located in Shahid Sadoughi Boulevard. By staying in this hotel, you can have access to Kerman’s attractions easily.
The design of the Akhavan Hotel is simple yet pleasant. The hotel’s lobby looks just like a Persian living room with a carpet on the floor and sofas around it. The rooms are clean and simply designed with photos on the white walls.
You can have free internet with no limits in your rooms, and a traditional restaurant is also available if you feel like having a Persian meal.
For having a cheap yet comfortable stay in Kerman and meeting new people from all around the world, you can book a bed in Zia Hostel located in Borzoo Amiqi Street.
The exterior design of the hostel looks like an ordinary house, but when you step inside, the traditional Persian yard catches your eyes. The yard is filled with trees and flowers with a blue pool in the middle and the usage of traditional handicrafts as decoration. If you are looking for experiencing the original Persian lifestyle, you can ask for a traditional sleep bag and sleep on the floor.
What Are the Best Restaurants in Kerman?
You cannot travel to Kerman and miss its famous food called Boz Ghormeh, which is a delicious stew made of goat meat and legumes. For making Boz Ghormeh, you need to soak chickpeas for a while. Then you should fry chopped onion and garlic with the meat and add salt, pepper, saffron, and turmeric to it. Next, you need to cook all of them with the soaked chickpeas for two hours. By adding whey sauce or Kashk and roasted mint to it, your stew is ready to be served with Persian rice.
In order to eat Boz Ghormeh or other Persian foods, you can check the restaurants below and find your preferred one.
Espakho Restaurant, located in Jomhouri Boulevard, is a popular restaurant in Kerman that offers you a variety of Persian dishes along with seafood and international meals.
The classic design of the restaurant and the bright atmosphere of it is so vivid because of the correct usage of green plants around the place. Hanging chandeliers of the ceiling add their share to the nice atmosphere as well.
Windmill of Kerman is one of the biggest windmills in the middle east. Being inspired by Netherland’s windmills, the architects could build an amazing three floors tourist complex. At first, the red and white combination of the building catches your eyes, but when you enter the restaurant, the wooden decoration meets your expectations.
Everything is made of wood to make you feel like being in a cozy cabin in the middle of nowhere where the time has stopped, and you have nothing to be worried about. You can enjoy traditional and international food as well as delicious drinks.
Max Restaurant, located in Jomhouri Boulevard, can surprise you with its traditional design and delicious foods. By using the tile works along with Persian sitting areas called Takht, you can enjoy the atmosphere and your food. The Persian carpets and Termeh on the tables make the place look beautiful, and the traditional menu of the restaurant offers you a variety of Persian dishes to try.
The best place to try the authentic taste of food in every country is the famous local restaurants. Hamisheh Bahar Restaurant is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Kerman, located in Moshtaq Square. They try their best to keep their originality and serve the most mouthwatering traditional food with Persian styles.
After entering a big blue door, you will see a huge crowd waiting to taste the delicious food of Hamisheh Bahar Restaurant. The decoration of this place may not look dashing, but the taste of the food can convince you to try it again and again.
Kerman is one of the cities that will find its place in your heart and your mind. You should put aside any doubts and start planning your trip to Kerman very soon.
⭐ Best For:
Salt Deserts, Cultural and Historical Sites
🕌 Top Sights:
Lut Desert, GanjAli Khan Square, Shazdeh Garden, Bam Castle, Jameh Mosque of Kerman
🛏️ Where to Stay?
Pars Hotel, Hezar Hotel, Kerman Tourism Hotel, Akhavan Hotel
😋 What to Eat?
Boz Ghormeh or Kermani Abgoosht, Kolompe, pistachio and Date
💭 Interesting Fact
According to NASA satellite temperature data Lut Desert close to Kerman is the hottest place on the surface of earth. Kerman is also the largest producer of pistachio in the world