Located in the heart of Shiraz, the Arg of Karim Khan (Karim Khan Citadel) manifests one of the most significant monuments of the Zand dynasty (the 18th century), named after the famous King Karim Khan which ruled over Iran and chose Shiraz as the capital.
Dominating the city center, this fantastic fortress formed part of the royal court that Karim Khan had hoped would develop to rival Isfahan. The high walls feature ornamental brickwork and are punctuated by four attractive 14m-high circular towers. The southeastern tower has a noticeable lean, having subsided onto the underground cistern that served as the nice Arg’s bathhouse.
Constructed with the best materials from other cities and abroad, the citadel was designed by the best architects and artists of the time, combining residential and military architecture, for it was Karim Khan’s residence and the military center of the dynasty.
The rectangular fortress includes a bastion at all its four corners, a large, open courtyard filled with citrus trees, and a pool along with a memorable museum featuring the Zand period, with wax figures in traditional dress, occupying a room off the northwest porch which is beautifully decorated with wooden, lattice, and colored windows as well as plasterwork and paintings.
Functioning differently in various periods of history, the citadel has been used as living quarters, governor’s seat and a prison during the Zand, Qajar and Pahlavi periods respectively. Today, it is a museum operated by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.
The citadel is regarded as one of the most beautiful and historical monuments of the Zand era and especially that of Karim Khan, depicting the architectural style of this era including nice interior decorations with flora designs and using herbal colors and gold plates in the ceilings’ ornaments, which truly makes it a must-see destination and an enchanting place for visitors.