Karim Khan Citadel (Arg-e Karimkhani) used to be the main residential palace of Karim Khan-e-Zand and his dynasty in Shiraz. Surrounded by high brick walls, there are four towers, each at a corner of the complex. This place was used as a prison for thirty five years until 1971. Although damaged as a result of misuse, renovations are taking place. This monument is a good representative of the architectural style which was typical of the Zand period.
Karim Khan Citadel is located in the city center, at Karim Khan Zand Boulevard and next to Shohada Square. There are several other attractions in this region like Pars Museum, Vakil Bath, Vakil Bazaar, Vakil Mosque, Nasir-Ol Molk Mosque, and Atiq Jame Mosque.
The Arg of Karim Khan or Karim Khan Prison was the residence of Karim Khan and where he ruled.
Karim Khan Citadel was constructed in 1697 when Zand Dynasty was ruling the country. When Karim Khan Zand selected Shiraz as the capital city, lots of significant changes were made. He invited the most professional architects and artists to Shiraz and asked them to build this really amazing structure. Karim Khan Citadel has had various functions in different historical eras.
It was the living place of Karim Khan Zand in Zand Dynasty, living place of local rulers in Qajar Dynasty, and prison in Pahlavi Dynasty. For the time being, it is under renovation process to be transformed into a museum. In 1972, Karim Khan Citadel was registered in National Heritage of Iran.
The interior decoration once included marble from Yazd and Maragheh on the lower parts of the walls of the "Ayvans" and halls and Shirazi-style patterns painted in gilt and lapis lazuli on the plastered surfaces of the upper parts and the ceilings.
The rooms have beautiful decorations which is typical of buildings during the rule of Zand King Karim Khan. It has four circular towers on the corners, one of which on the southeastern side has a distinctive slope. Decoration of this complex has been destroyed.
The citadel is spread over 12,800 square meters and the height of each tower is 14 meters. There is a large tile depicting the scene of killing of the white devil by Rostam (a hero of Shahnameh, a masterpiece by Ferdowsi) at the entrance gateway of the citadel. There are fountains (still in operation), flower and vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
The citadel has a tea room, itself housed within a bathhouse. Many of the rooms display photographs of Shiraz during the 19th and 20th centuries.
On the very south eastern part corner of the courtyard, there’s a door that leads to the Arg-e-Karimkhani’s bathhouse, Hammam. This handsome bathhouse has got all the architectural sections of any similar structures, which make it worth a visit. The simple yet likable plasterwork decorations on the walls of this hammam, imply the love in flowers and nature, what Shirazi artists have always been inspired by.
Marble floors and seats, insulated pools for hot and cold water, clay-made pipes for heating beneath the floors and transferring water, and so forth are all observable and the echo returning your voice inside the big hall of this hammam reminds you of the lively setting of old bathhouses where royal family met and had themselves washed and massaged by the servants.