Kerman is one of many ancient cities in today's Iran and is located on a plateau at the edge of the Lut Desert on an important caravan route. Ardashir, ruler of the Sassanids, founded the city, and its Friday Mosque was built during Mongolian rule. Following Islamic conquest, the city had many rulers. After Teheran and Yazd, Kerman has the third largest community of followers of the teachings of Zarathustra. The Ganj Ali-Khan Mosque is a small mosque that was named after the Safavid governor who ruled the city in the seventeenth century. The huge Vakil, or Regent Bazaar, has a seven hundred and fifty metre covered main alley that is always full of life. At any time of day almost everything can be purchased here under its brick vaults sheltered from the intense desert heat. In semi-darkness the ceilings of the bazaar streets contain an array of intriguing architectural designs and amazing ornaments. The centre of Kerman exudes its historic past as well as its former prosperity.
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