The Ganj Ali Khan Complex with an area of around 11,000 square meters is located in the oldest section and yet, the center of Kerman City. It consisted of a square, bazaar, bathhouse, school, caravanserai, and water reservoir (Ab Anbar) but today, three constructs (square, bazaar, and bathhouse) of the great complex are left.
This complex was registered on the list of National Heritage in 1968. The construction of the complex was ordered by Ganj Ali Khan, the ruler of Kerman at the time of the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736) and its plan was suggested and implemented by architect Mohammad Soltani Yazdi based on the Isfahani style. This style is one of the Iranian architectural styles that has experienced its zenith during the Safavid kings.
Since Isfahan was the Safavid’s capital and a large number of buildings of the time followed the same structure, the style was known as Isfahani.
Ganj Ali Khan Mosque
Ganj Ali Khan mosque is in the north-east of the Ganj Ali Khan square that seems it used to be connected to a nearby school or caravanserai that has not remained today. The mosque has a prayer hall (meaning Shabistan in Farsi) that is about five and 25.5 meters in width and length, respectively. The portal entrance is linked to a splendid Iwan adorned with geometrical designs. There is an inscription in this section that attributes the mosque’s construction to Ganj Ali Khan and specifies the ruling time of Shah Abbas, the great Safavid king.
Right after the portal entrance, there is a dark and narrow hallway with a short roof, which leads to a domed chamber or Shabistan. The dome has 15 reticulated wooden windows (three of them are much larger than others) that function as light providers as well as air circulators. The prayer hall decoration consists of stucco work, painting, Muqarnas, and Kar-Bandi, of which the two last decorations make possible the transition of a square-shaped hall to a circular dome.
Ganj Ali Khan Bazar
The bazaar with a history of around 400 years is located on the south side of Ganj Ali Khan square. It is about 93 meters in length in the shape of a straight line (Rast-e in Farsi) having two gateways on both sides of the bazaar, known as Arg and Mosque gateways. Besides, the bazaar is connected to the square with 16 vaults and arcades. Ganj Ali Khan bazaar is adorned with stuccos, plaster, and frescoes.
Ganj Ali Khan Bathhouse
The Ganj Ali Khan Bathhouse stands in the southern part of the square in the middle of the bazaar. The bathhouse covering an area of about 1,300 m2 includes an entrance, corridor, disrobing room, hot water pool, Toon (heating source), cold room, and Hashti (vestibule). Hashti as a common architectural element in Iran refers to a roofed passageway in the shape of an octagon that connects the outer and inner spaces of a construct to each other.
There are different types of decorations in the bathhouse including paintings, Muqarnas, tile works, stuccos, arches, and stones. In 1971, the Ganj Ali Khan Bathhouse was turned into an anthropology museum exhibiting local customs in a public bathhouse through human sculptures dressed in traditional bath costumes.