Vakil Bazar is the name given to the section of Shiraz Bazaar constructed by Karim Khan. Vakil Bazaar is considered the most beautiful bazaar in Iran. Here’s what you can expect to see if you visit while in Shiraz Iran.
Vakil Bazaar | History
The wider Shiraz Bazaar of which the Vakil Bazaar is a part has been in operation since at least the 11th century. During the Zand Dynasty, Karim Khan Zand undertook an ambitions project of relocating the capital to Shiraz from Isfahan.
Karim Khan was inspired by Naghshe Jahan Square in Isfahan and set about building his own version in Shiraz. The Arg of Karim Khan and Vakil Bazaar are the two prominent remnants of the square that was built by Karim Kahn in Shiraz.
The city walls and most of the other buildings built by Karim Khan were destroyed; Demolished by Mohammad Khan upon his conquest of Shiraz. The Karim Khan citadel was repurposed as an emirate court. And the Vakil Bazaar remains as part of the larger Shiraz Bazaar.
Design of Vakil Bazaar
The bazaar is made of brick and features vaulted dome ceilings. Its design allows it to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. It’s many alley ways make it quite the maze to navigate. While we didn’t get lost in the maze we did lose track of just how far we’d gone. Popping out the other end it was a bit of shock how far we’d gone from our start point.
Occasionally opening out onto internal courtyards in different sections is definitely welcome. I personally found the open courtyards welcome when navigating the bazaar. As they gave us an opportunity to get out of the crowd.
The various lanes are broadly divided into themes. With some alleys containing more spice and nuts and others rugs or traditional art and crafts. I loved the smell of spices wafting through the halls. And found the traditional Persian inlayed wooden boxes and trinkets featuring Khatam designs most appealing.
It’s definitely worth seeing Vakil Bazaar if you ever find yourself in Shiraz. Not least so you can say you’ve visited Iran’s most beautiful bazaar. It’s certainly a place I’d visit again if I were ever in Iran. And I’d allow at least half a day to see it in full.
There are mosques, bathhouses and restaurants within the complex. However when we went we didn’t have time to investigate further. Though I’d definitely recommend stopping for a tea or faloodeh to others visiting the Vakil Bazaar.
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