Arg-e Karim khan

 Introduction to Arg-e Karim khan

Arg-e Karim khan is an old building which surrounded whit new  buildings. If you travel to Shiraz city ,in center of city end of Zand street you will face to  magnificent citadel . its face is old and different with other building .in fact it has  made 300 years ago. At first sight it looks like army fortress but inside there is a beautiful building.Citadel lies in Zand complex ,near old district of Shiraz .Zand complex is consist of several building which by Karim khan Zand has made.You can visit all sites by foot, because there are next together.A 5 star hotel has lied back of citadel, shopping center ,taxi and subway station are around citadel and make it easy to reach from airport.

The great characteristics of Arg-e Karim khan  are stained glass sash windows like a Nasir ol Molk mosque , stone pools and citric fruits trees. Today this beautiful building is open to public as anthropology museum.

Karim khan could capture the west part of Iran in 1163 A H and in 1766 AD he started ruling Iran officially and chose Shiraz city as capital. Karim khan made a Citadel and some great building during his time.

After Zand Dynasty ,Arg-e Karim khan was used in Qajar period as center of government in Fars Province.From 1930 to 1970 this place was turned into prison of Shiraz City . In 1970 Arg-e Karim khan was renewed and was registered as cultural heritage.

The area of Arg-e Karimk han is 12800 S. M. The walls are 12 meter and towers 14 meters high.The exterior of the Arg-e Karimkhan is very modest and has army appearance but inside the Citadel there was a palace for king and his family.

Karim khan was a warlike and at the same time humanitarian king. We can see his spirit in his high and spacious buildings.

To construct the Citadel, Karim khan invited stone cutters, architectures, carpenters and painters from different places and he spent a huge amount of money.The construction took 10 years and 10000 people worked to complete it.

The Citadel of Karim khan has introverted design with simple decoration and without any window to outside.The north alcove was used as winter residence , the south side was summer quarters and the west side was for administrative purpose in four seasons. The east side was not residential. entrance of the complex is in east side where the sun rises.The decoration of entrance of Arg-e Karim khan was done during Qajar period. It depicts the conflict between Div e sefid and Rustam , a story of Shahname.

Thickness of the walls were about 2 m. and made of stone , mortar and bricks with 5 m. base. exterior of Citadel has simple design of bricks ornaments with horizontal course and geometric motifs of diamond ,triangle and lozenges shape therefore predominate.

All towers in the four corners of the citadel have round shape and each one has a guard room and a weapons store.Also rooftop is flat and its width is 10 m. same as the rooms. It’s covered with bricks and ceilings are double thickness and water proof.

The edge of rooftop is decorated with lion heads. It gives good shade in summer time and protect the stained glass windows in rainy season. northern alcove , suitable for winter residence  had two stone columns. They were made of monolithic stone ,each one weighs 3800 kilo gram.There are 6 rooms in each side of Arg-e Karim khan with huge sliding windows.

The columns of west side are wooden. In fact the columns in west and south side were dismantled by Qajar king and brought to Tehran.All entrance of the rooms are short and opposite each other and they are connected to the courtyard by corridors .There is small space behind each corridor which is reachable through the rooms of its left side. The stairs in the space takes us to the second floor where there is a closet.

wind catchers of the Citadel in north, west and south sides are twins and cubical.They are connected to the alcove and its side room. The air circulation was controlled by fixing or removing some wooden plates.The main rooms are 6 by 8 m. and 5.7 m high. The thickness of the walls are 1 m. The architect has used groin technique for building the ceiling.

the stairs of  Citadel were made very high probably for these reasons:
a) to minimize entry of women and children to the courtyard
b) to prevent harmful and creeping animals inside the rooms
c) women and children could mount the horse back easily.

All flooring of area is made of limestone. We can observe some marks on them also as the signature of the labor.also  pools of Arg-e Karimkhan are made of monolithic limestons with 28 fountains. Water of Citadel was prepared by Rokn Abad Qanat, received by clay water pipes beneath the southern tower. It was stored in the pool ,located in backyard of the building and distributed to other parts as well.

Bathhouse of the Citadel is one of the oldest private bathhouse in Iran and it was used only by royal family. Citadel bathhouse is located in the southern corner ,next to the tower.The bathhouse of Arg-e Karim khan is made few steps lower to prevent the hot air going outside.The relief of the bathhouse were done on the limestone walls because limestone is very resistant in damp areas.

other related atrticles;

Naqsh e Rustam 

 Hafez Tomb

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