Written by Kieran Proctor

Arg of Karim Khan

The Arg of Karim Khan is located in central Shiraz Iran. Here’s what you can expect to see if you visit ...

The Arg of Karim Khan is located in central Shiraz Iran. Here’s what you can expect to see if you visit the Karim Khan Citadel.

Arg of Karim Khan | History

Serving as Karim Khan’s living quarters, the arg was built during the Zand dynasty (1766-7). It’s a rectangular brick structure built to resemble a medieval fortress. And the arg was originally part of a larger square that took influence from Naghshe Jahan Square in Isfahan.

After the conquest of the city by Mohammad Khan, all but the arg and Vakil Bazaar were destroyed. Instead of demolition, the arg citadel was repurposed as an emirate court. And later a prison.

Arg of karim khan | Interior

Walking through the narrow front entrance in the 12m high walls, you find yourself greeted by a large grove of bitter orange trees divided by a central fountain. For me the garden was my favourite aspect of the complex.

Though likely not part of the original design, the grove of bitter orange trees inside the complex was most impressive. And the grove made the complex feel much smaller than it actually was at 4,000 m2.

At the rear of the complex from the entrance gate, there are a sequence of rooms open to the public. When we visited there were a sequence of mocked up scenes from the castles glory days. In these rooms the original interior and tile reliefs are being slowly restored.

Plastered over by subsequence tenants of the castle, the original painting and tile work were covered during the castles term as a prison. These are being slowly uncovered and restored by the government in Shiraz. And the parts so far restored were stunning.


If you ever travel to Shiraz you should definitely allocate an hour or two to seeing the Arg of Karim Khan. Though it would be best combined with a visit to Shah Cheragh or Vakil Bazaar.

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ارگ کریم خان, Arg-e Karim Khān