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Iran Caravanserai

Iran Caravanserais

Iranian ancient people tried to make the roads across the country safe for trade and delivering letters or news. This was only fulfilled by building special type of inns for travelers called Caravanserai or Caravansary. Development of caravanserais dates back to Achaemenid era that is more than 2500 years ago. On the roads, Caravanserais were built on a distance that a caravan could travel in a day. Also, caravanserais were built inside of cities too for travelers. The main feature of a caravanserai has an entrance and the inner space is enclosed by walls and ramparts.

Due to long distances between cities and villages and also dryness in most parts of the country the necessity for caravanserais to rest and preparing food arose and without this kind of accommodation there was no possibility to travel throughout the roads and  connect different parts of the country. 

Ahowan Caravanserai(Semnan):

There are two inns in the place, one belongs to more than 800 years ago and the other one is of the Safavid caravanserais. The older inn is made up of stone with a square shape and four towers. It has 26 rooms roundabout the yard. It has also four barns in the back side of the caravanserai. Inns are located in 36 kilometer away from Semnan and on the midway of Damghan. You can visit the place every day free of charge.

Classification: National Heritage

Dayr-e Gachin Caravanserai (Qom):

 Located in the center of Kavir National Park on the historical road from Qom to Rey. This inn is also known as mother of Iran’s caravanserai because of its unique features. The caravanserai had a stucco dome but it is ruined now. The structure belongs to Sassanid era but was renovated in the Seljuks, the Safavid, and the Qajar era. As the road from Tehran to Qom was changed in Qajar era, the caravanserai was abandoned then and was used to keep animals by local people. The inn has four porched and 12000 m2 area. It also has six towers as well as 44 rooms, 4 barns, a mosque, private yard, warehouse, mill, bathhouse and 6 fountains. The mosque is presumably built on the ruins of Sassanid Fire temple. There also two cisterns can be found in the back side of the inn and a brick oven, a dam and cemetery belonging to Islamic era.  

Classification: National Heritage

Bistoon or safavid Caravaserai (Kermanshah):

As an ancient city, Bistoon is located 2 km east of Kermanshah province. The exceptional condition of Mount Bistoon (that is the famous relief of Darius, the Achaemenid king) has led many to call it the Zagros Gate. The city is host to Bistoon Caravasary, also known as Shah Abbas Caravansary, as it was built on the orders of King Abbas I during Safavid era. Like other caravansaries in Iran, Bistoon has is built in the foursquare style having four towers at the corners. The west side towers are circular and the east side ones are hexagonal. For the time being, Laleh International Hotel serves the travelers in Bistoon Caravansary.

Classification: National Heritage

Charsogh Caravanserai (Kerman):

Related to the beginning of Qajar era and located in Great Bazaar of Kerman. The in has two floors and two entrance gates both open in the bazaar.

Classification: National Heritage

Dalaki Caravanserai (Bushehr):

Located in Dalaki city (also known as Dashtestan) in Bushehr province. Dalaki caravanserai is 95 km away from Bushehr city. The structure belongs to late Qajar period. The common form of architecture of the time can be observed in this caravanserai: a central yard with rooms around and barns in the back side of rooms. In the outer corners, there are four towers that are connected to the inner part of caravanserai by a small doorway. What is interesting about this caravanserai is that it is built up of river stones.

Classification: National Heritage

Dehdez Caravanserai (Khuzestan):

This caravanserai has passed different historical periods but the foundation related to Achaemenid era. Because of that the inn is near Chahar Mahalo Bakhtiari province and having connection to Isfahan, attracted so meny eco tourists and tourists. Unprofessional restorations, seasonal winds and rains have greatly affected the erosion of the building.

Classification: National Heritage

DEHDEZ Carvanserai

Ganjali Khan Caravanserai (Kerman):

In Ganjali Khan Complex of Kerman there is an inn or school with the same name. Today it is used by Art University of Kerman. 

Classification: National Heritage

Goreh Daregh Caravanserai( East Azerbaijan):

This inn belongs to Safavid era and is one of the most important historic symbols of Ahar city in east Azerbaijan. The caravanserai is located 25 kilometer away from Ahar in the road of Tabriz. Architecture is customized for mountainous regions and cold snowy winters. The area of the caravanserai is 30 × 21 meters and has 5 rows brick rooms. Unfortunately, the inn is destroyed 100 percent in an earthquake in 2012 and is not restored yet.

Classification: National Heritage


Izadkhast Caravanserai(Fars):

Related to Safavid era and known as one of the 999 caravansaries that were built under the command of Shah Abbas I. It is located in north east of Izadkhast river and in north of Abadeh city on the midway of Abadeh and Isfahan.

Features: 4000 square meters area. Each side has 35 meters length and 20 rooms around the courtyard.

Classification: National Heritage

Izadkhast Caravanserai

Kalmard Caravanserai (Tabas):

The largest ecolodge in South Khorasan. 80 km away from Tabas city. It has access both through Tabas to Isfahan and Tabas to Yazd. Kalmard Caravanserai is located in a pristine desert area which is very quiet and free of noise and light pollution.  A good place for star watching. Not too far from the caravanserai sand dunes of Halvan desert can be found. It is also known for geology explorations. The inn dates back to Safavid and Qajar era and has two parts old and new. The older part is 200 year old and ruined. The new part is 120 year old is in good condition and is used as a desert ecolodge.

Classification: National Heritage

Kamaraj Caravanserai (Fars):

Belongs to Safavid era and located in a village with the same name. It is 30 km away from Kazeroon in the right side of the road from Kazeroon to Bushehr. The caravanserai has four porches and four towers in the corners. The plan is square and each side is 74 meters. There is a central yard around which there are rooms for travelers. These rooms open to the yard by a porch. Behind the rooms, barns for cattle can be found. Main materials to build the inn is stone. Rooms’ lighting is provided by ceiling and wall windows.

Khane Khoreh Caravanserai (Fars):

One of the few octagonal inns belongs to Safavid era which was one of the most famous and lively caravanserais in that time. A central yard that brings to the mind of visitors the magnificent architecture of Sassanid Empire. It is located in Abadeh city in Fars province (in the midway of Shiraz to Isfahan). Today, the inn is almost forgotten. After the inn’s booming days it was used as a military outpost and now it is vacant.

Classification: National Heritage

Kharanaq Caravanserai (Yazd):

Belongs to Qajar era and built under the command of the prince in Kaharanq village, Ardekan city of Yazd province. It takes about 1.5 driving from Yazd to the caravanserai. The inn has 400 year old and due to location on the Silk Road it was booming on its own time. This can be distinguished from large lounges and number of porches. Now, the place is renovated as a hotel for tourists so you can spend one or more nights there like an ancient pilgrim heading to holy city of Mashhad in pervious centuries. Today, astronomy enthusiasts and desert lovers choose Kharanaq caravanserai to enjoy star rain in the velvet sky of the desert.

Classification: National Heritage

Kouhpa Caravanserai (Isfahan):

Being around 400 years old, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai in Varzaneh, is one of the 999 ones that were built under command of Shah Abbas during the Safavid Empire. Kouhpa Caravanserai is now actively providing the guests with a traditional Persian ambience. This place gives you an impressionable and indescribable sense of ancient times as if you are traveling in history. You can find the place in the eastern exit road of Varzaneh and to be exact 74 km in Naeen road. As the main feature of Persian caravanserais the inn has a central yard surrounded by rooms and four porches. Barns to for the housing of travelers’ animals are behind the rooms around the building. In the exterior view of the caravanserai four tall touwers can be observed in the corners and three towers in the middle of the walls. 

Classification: National Heritage

Maharloo Caravanserai (Fars):

Adjacent to the beautiful pink Maharloo Lake in south east of Shiraz there is a village with the same name where we can find another caravanserai remained from Shah Abbas. Unfortunately the inn is forgotten today and mostly ruined.

Maranjab Caravanserai (Isfahan):

In Maranjab desert beside Aran & Bidgol salt lake there is a fortress and inn called Maranjab caravansary which was built under the command of Shah Abbas I on the midway of Isfahan to holy Mashhad for pilgrims and merchants. It is also located on the Silk Road.  It is 40 km north east of Aran & Bidgol city.

Features: a 3500 sqm castle with 6 towers and 29 rooms roundabout a 60 sqm yard. Backside of the rooms there were built barns for travelers’ animals (horses and mules).

Classification: National Heritage

Meybod Caravanserai (Yazd):

Also known as Shah Abbasi Caravanserai which is one of the 999 caravanserais that Shah Abbas built. It is located on the midway of Yazd and Isfahan. Less than 1 hour driving from Yazd and about 4 hours driving from Isfahan. The caravanserai is made up of brick build on the remnants of an older inn. The place has a central yard and 100 porch and rooms in and round the inn. In the middle of the yard there is a small pool which is feed by qanat. Beside the inn there is a large cistern with a brick dome and 4 wind catchers. There is also a roofed market. In the back side of the inn barns can be found. You can also find there a Kilim museum, restaurant and café. Some parts of caravanserai is used by bureau of cultural heritage and library of Meybod city.  

Classification: National Heritage

Miankotal Caravanserai (Fars):

Belongs to Safavid era which is built under the command of Shah Abbas. This is the only stone caravanserai in Iran which is located in Fars province, Kazeroon city in a region known as Dasht-e Barm. The area is 3500 sq2 in a square plan with a central yard around which rooms can be observed. The inn is not in a good situation in these days and needs more attention for renovation.

Moein Al-Tojar Caravanserai (Khuzestan):

Adjacent to Karoon River in Ahvaz city there is a caravanserai dates back to Qajar era. The owner of the caravanserai also built bathhouse, bazaar, mosque and garden next to the inn. This is the remnant of the old Ahvaz city.

Classification: National Heritage

Moshir Al-Molk Caravanserai (Bushehr):

Borazjan fortress is also known as Moshir Almolk caravanserai dates back to Qajar era and is the main emblem of Borazjan city. It is built masterfully just like Zand architectural form.  It was built 148 years ago and used as a caravanserai for 50 years; a good place for merchants and caravans coming from Bushehr and head to Shiraz and need rest. The inn was used as prison in Pahlavi era.

Classification: National Heritage

Neyshabur Caravanserai (Khorasan):

Located in Khorasan Province, Neyshabour is firstly quite well-known for having a knack in making turquoise jewelries. But it is not the only way travelers know the city, as it has been home not only to a famous mystic poet (Attar) but also being the hometown of the famed poet Khayyam who was fond of seizing the day. Therefore, it is full of attractions that one might not consider its caravansary. Shah Abbas Caravansary is located in Neyshabur, and is considered as one of the relatively largest ones among others. The building has a central courtyard and there are four towers around it. There has been stables behind the rooms (Hojrah) where the cattle were kept as well as platforms built for load and passengers’ equipment. In the past there used to be a water storage (Abanbar) in front of the caravansary that had two wind catchers (Badgir) but today there is not even a trace of this water storage. Neyshabur Shah Abbas Caravanserai was home to orphans and the poor during the Qajar period. Now, they have changed the function of this building turning that into the carpet museum.

Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai (Semnan):

 Also known as Bahram Palace is located in south of Garmsar in Semnan province. The inn is a part of Desert National Park and to visit the place you need to get permission from the Iranian environment department in advance. To go to Bahram Palace you need to go 145 kilometer away from Tehran to south and find the caravanserai in south of Garmsar and north of Salt Lake. Based on some evidences the palace or caravanserai was built under the command of Bahram the Sassanid king which is known as Bahram-e Goor (the hunter of zebra). At that time the place was used for hunting of the king and later was restored by Shah Abbas as a caravanserai.

As other caravanserais this one has a central yard too which is octagonal and protected by six defensive towers. Two gates in north and south of the inn can be observed with rooms around the yard. Also, there is a square pool in the middle of the yard which is feed by a spring more than 5 kilometers away from the inn. Nowadays, the place is used as police station of the national park as well as an ecolodge for desert visitors.

Classification: National Heritage

Qavam Abad Caravanserai (Fars):

Few miles away from the world heritage of Pasargadae lied a forgotten inn dated back to Qajar era. It is a stone and brick caravanserai located in Pasargad County, Saadat Shahr city. A large entrance gate with a stone frame and two stone benches can be observed. The inn has three rooms for the kings and two large yards.

Classification: National Heritage

Rabbits Caravanserai/Castle Rabbit Ardakan (Yazd):

Near the Gavkhooni swamp there is a beautiful stone caravanserai that has survived since the days of the Safavids. A wonderful caravanserai called the Rabbit Castle, with its rocky structure. Considered as one of the most important caravansaries, Rabbit Castle is in fact one of the 999 caravansaries built by Shah Abbas on the main routes constructed at that time. When you get there, you will surprisingly see that it is all made of granite and brick. Even the couches, stables, and stables are stone-built, and this is perhaps the most significant reason why it has been remaining firm so far. As there are many granite mines in the surrounding area, the workers during Safavid era used to excavate granite from the mountains when constructing Rabbit Caravanserai. It is located in Ardakan city of Yazd in the midway of old road of Yazd to Isfahan 60 km to Aghda.

Classification: National Heritage

varzaneh,Rabbits caravanserai

Shah Abbasi Caravanserai (Karaj):

A stone-brick structure back to Safavid era and built under the command of King Soleyman. Found in Alborz province, Karaj city. It is on the east side of Shah Abbasi square. The place has 3000 m2 area and located in on Silk Road. First it was a place for travelers to rest but in Qajar era was converted to a military fort and later to a school. The central yard has 21 rooms around and the inn has 5 docks. Today the caravanserai is used as handicraft museum and restaurant.

Classification: National Heritage

Stone Caravanserai (Zanjan):

Zanjan stone caravanserai is another one of those 999 caravansaries related to the Safavid King Abbas. Unlike its similarity of the architecture with other caravansaries, this one has been built using stone, though some parts are made of brick. Stone Caravansary has been reused as a traditional restaurant. Besides this ancient building, Zanjan is really worth visiting specifically if you head towards Mahneshan in which you can see Rainbow Mountains.

Classification: National Heritage

Vakil Caravanserai (Kerman):

Inside Kerman city, close to Vakil Bazaar and one the largest caravanserais in Iran. 170 years ago, Vakil caravanserai was buit and has two floors and 120 rooms. On the first floor, there are 81 rooms and on the second one 31 rooms. The caravanserai has two gate to Vakil Bazaar. Ganjali Khan Complex is almost there.

Zein-o-Din Caravanserai (Yazd):

A 400 year old caravanserai in Mehriz city near Yazd adjoined to the desert and 60 km away from Yazd. This is the only circular building on the Silk Road in Iran. The inn is built out of brick with a circular plan and five semicircular plans. Yard has twelve sides surrounded by porches. In the north part of the inn there are rooms used by kings in the past but now they are used as restaurant. In another part of the caravanserai you can find hand woven carpets which are a place for short rest. 

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