The 16th century was a golden age of constructing caravanserais. Shah Abbas I, the king of Safavid dynasty ordered 999 caravanserais have built. So travelers can stay overnight at these inns. The ordered caravanserais were built across the country included along the Silk Road. However, this ancient inn has been built on the way of Yazd to Kerman. It is currently located 500 meters far away the main road yet.
According to the history, when the king traveled to Kerman in 1606, he commanded to the ruler of Kerman to rectify the situation of this road. This law ended up in building two inns in this route. Although one of them is destroyed, the second one still hosts curious tourists. People who like to visit a historic circular building, or eat an appetizing meal in a different restaurant, are this caravansary’s customer.
Registered in the Iranian national heritage index in 1972, it has been described as an important caravanserai by Maxime Siroux in his book named ”Caravansérails d’Iran et petites constructions routieres” published by IFAO in Cairo. Besides, this lovely inn is mentioned in the travel guide book of Lonely Planet.
The architecture of Zein-o-din Caravanserai
The architecture of Zein-o-din Caravanserai is “sultan Mohammad” who is from Yazd. He has built this inn in a circle shape. And it seems that Zein-o-din Caravanserai is the only circular inn in Iran. Especially because others near Isfahan and Kashan are in a poor condition.
Considering architectural historic buildings remaining from ancient time, we know that circular edifices were used to be built as a token of respect for someone important. For instance, Tughrul tower a 12th-century monument in the city of Rey and Gonbad-e Qabus tower in Gonbad-e Qabus are built for this specific purpose. Although Zein-o-din Caravanserai has a circular façade and a dodecagon shape inside the building, it had been constructed to pay respect to Ganj Ali Khan, a military officer in Safavid period. Some of noticeable features of this monument are its brick façade. Besides, the dynamic symmetry of the east and west of the building is really amazing. However, some of internal parts weather the walls or the roofs are made of Plaster.
Zein-o-din Caravanserai as an Iranian historic building has won the prize of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This monument has also been granted by the UNESCO World Organization in 2006 because of rehabilitation by traditional building materials.
Additionally it is presented as one of the top 100 hotels in the world. This hotel can accommodate 50 travelers per night. However, people can taste a traditional or local food in its restaurant whenever they like and have a quick visit to this ancient monument or take photos of that.