Bazar-e Vakil is about 150 years old. After about 600m the covered bazaar ends and the 700-year-old open-air Bazar-e Mosaffari begins, though there is little evidence of such antiquity. The Jameh Mosque can be entered from this bazaar.
The ancient mud city of Bam is the largest adobe structure on earth and, until the 2003 earthquake, it was one of the jewels in Iran’s tourism crown. The site has been occupied for almost 2000 years and post-earthquake analysis has revealed the walls were first built using Sassanian-style mudbricks. Bam was a staging post on the trade routes between India and Pakistan at one end and the Persian Gulf and Europe at the other. Visitors, including Marco Polo, were awestruck by the city’s 38 towers, huge mud walls and fairy-tale citadel – the Arg-e Bam.
Arriving at the handsome Bagh-e Shahzde is like being beamed onto a different planet. One second you’re in the arid semidesert, the next it’s all flowing qanat water and tall green trees. The beautifully maintained grounds, built in 1873, contain a series of split-level fountains leading to a dilapidated palace that was once the residence of Abdul Hamid Mirza, one of the last princes of the Qajar dynasty. To the left of the palace there is a well-preserved bathhouse.
As the sun disappears, the fountains and palace are floodlit, which is a wonderful sight. Occasional music festivals are held in the grounds.