Introduction to Vakil Bath
If we want to explore Shiraz with many stories to tell from history, we will come across a unique collection that includes valuable attractions and baths in its heart and is known as the Zand collection of Shiraz. One of the most famous tourist attractions in this complex is Vakil Bath. It is one of the most famous ones in Shiraz, and one of the buildings of Karim Khan Zand’s era, which was built as the Zand king ordered, in Shah Maidan neighborhood, next to Vakil Mosque and Vakil Bazaar.
History of Vakil Bath
The people of Iran have long cared for their health and cleanliness, so they built smart, bathrooms where people could communicate with other people and talk for hours in addition to their cleanliness. Karim Khan Zand, during his reign, due to his great interest in the history of ancient Persia and architecture, built many buildings in the city of Shiraz and provided more opportunities for the development of the city. Looking at the arrays, decorations, and motifs in the structures made by the king of Zand, we can see that the architecture of these buildings is very much inspired by the ancient architecture of Persia, which is also used in this building.
The order to build the Vakil Bath in Shiraz was issued in 1187 AH. Over time, much damage was done to parts of the building that were repaired by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization of Persia. It should be noted that various ceremonies such as Hanabandan ceremonies (a wedding tradition), and Cheleh Nozad Bath (40 days after the enfant birth) etc. were also held in the baths.
Today, Vakil Bath in Shiraz has become an anthropological museum where we can see the customs, clothing, and culture of the original people of Shiraz. The building of Vakil Bath has been registered in the list of national monuments of Persia with the number 917.
Architecture of the Bath
As we have mentioned, traditional Persian baths have had different functions in the past. These places were for cleaning, talking, resting, holding ceremonies, bathing the baby, etc., as well as getting to know others better. This has led architects to try to design bathrooms in such a way so people can experience a relaxed space and can easily get together.
Shiraz Vakil bathroom includes an advanced engineering. At first, you enter the general area of the bathroom through a small door. Then, you can access the locker room through a corridor. This corridor and its slope are located in the bathroom in this way due to temperature control. Bineh (the cold part or, the locker room) in this monument is octagonal, and is different from other parts in terms of decorations.
Vakil Bath Unique Feature
One of the unique features of this bathroom is the use of lime in decorating the ceiling and walls because the bathroom has a humid environment that leads to the destruction of plaster. These decorations were used not only in the time of the Zand dynasty but also during the Qajar period for the lawyer’s bath.
Decorations that represent the mythological and religious stories of Persia, such as the story of Shirin and Farhad, the story of Hazrat Yusuf, the sacrifice of Hazrat Ismail, etc., which were composed by narrators for the people in the bath at that time. The bathroom was kept warm by corridors built under the treasury paving. There was also another treasury in the southern part, whose water was heated by two large boilers.