The city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, is located about 900 km south of Tehran. This ancient city of Iran existed even during the construction of Parse and Persepolis. This fact is proof of the antiquity of this city. The historical monuments of Shiraz, including the historical complex of Zandiyeh and Vakil Bath of Shiraz, which is a part of it, prove this claim.
Shiraz gained its fame, prestige, and importance in the centuries after Islam. Karim Khan Zand had chosen Shiraz as his capital. By his order, a wall was constructed around the city and a moat was dug. New buildings, markets, and palaces were built in the city. Among the most important buildings, we can mention Hammam-e Vakil.
During the Zand period, the Zandiye complex was built by the order of Karim Khan. This complex includes a bazaar, a mosque, a school, and a Vakil Bath, which are located in the center of Shiraz. The construction of this building dates back to the 18th century.
Architectural Style and 3 Parts of Vakil Bath of Shiraz
In the architecture of most old Iranian baths (from the beginning to the Pahlavi period) there were three spaces. These spaces include Sarbineh (dressing room), Miandar (middle room), and Khazaneh (warm room). This type of bathroom is called a vault bathroom. After the water piping, traditional baths gave way to showers or shower baths.
• Sarbineh (Dressing Room)
Most of the old bathrooms have a Sarbineh or a dressing room. In the meantime, Sarbineh-e Hammam Vakil of Shiraz is unique. In the Sarbineh part of the Vakil Bath of Shiraz, the rite of recitation of Vasunak was performed in a beautiful local dialect. This is the distinguishing feature of Sarbineh Hamam Vakil from other old baths.
There was a person named Ostad Hamami in this place. People who entered the bath trusted him with all their belongings. Different sections can be seen in the head part. People were positioned in each of these sections based on their social status.
In the past, it was believed that it is better to dip our feet in cold water after bathing. For this purpose, cold water ponds can be seen everywhere in Sarbineh. There is also a large pond in its center.
In addition, a Vakil Bath of Shiraz was present in Sarbineh as a Naqal (storyteller). He used to explain political events in a loud voice to the people. In addition, Naqal used to tell the people literary stories and explain the traditions that were painted on the ceiling of Sarbineh.
Due to the high humidity, lime is used instead of plaster in the bathroom ceiling of the Vakil Bath of Shiraz. The more moisture the lime gets, the stronger it becomes. These lime decorations are used all around the roof of Sarbineh. Quranic, literary, and mythological narratives of Iran are seen in these decorations.
The pictures on these decorations tell many stories, stories such as:
- Ascension of the prophet Mohammad
- The sacrifice of Ishmael by Ibrahim
- Shirin and Farhad and the digging of Bistoun by Farhad
- Bijan and Manijeh love story
- Shirin bathing in spring and Khosrow in hunting field
- Throwing Prophet Yusuf into the well
- Sheikh San’an and Christian girl
- Taking Yusuf out of the well
- Prophet Yusuf’s endearment in Egypt
- Prophet Yusuf’s appearing in the women’s party
• Miandar (Middle Rooms)
Between the dressing room and the warm room, there is a space called the Miandar of the bath. In this part, Hanabandan (Henna painting) ritual was performed. During the wedding ceremony, each of the bride and groom’s families used to participate in this part of the bathroom. Also, in the Miandar, special rituals were performed when a child was born or during other ceremonies.
Currently, in this part of the Vakil Bath of Shiraz, there are statues, each of which is dressed in Shirazi local clothes. These sculptures, together with Hanabandan’s tools and sounds recreated by the Cultural Heritage Organization, represent the customs that people used to perform in the baths in the past.
• Khazaneh (Warm Room)
After passing through the Miandar, we reach the Khazaneh (warm room) through a corridor. This corridor is built to regulate body temperature. The Khazaneh is a bathing place. In this section, there was a person named Dalak who served the customers. He performed the following tasks inside the warm room:
- Washing customers’ skin using a particular bag
- Drying customers’ body using a particular cloth called “Long”
- Applying traditional-style massage
- Pulling Teeth
Today, while people’s houses have bathrooms, such baths are out of function. People no longer go to traditional baths. That’s why many of those old customs have faded. Vakil Bath of Shiraz has also become a museum.
Do Not Miss Visiting This Attraction
The city of Shiraz is one of the most beautiful cities that has 3000 monuments registered in the national heritage list. If you happen to come to this city by purchasing international tours from Iranian tour agencies, don’t forget to visit the Vakil complex, especially the Vakil Hammam in Shiraz.
Also, Destination Iran recommends you familiarize yourself with the tourist attractions of Shiraz before traveling so that you can find your favorite places in advance and visit them.