The city’s ancient trading district is home to several bazaars dating from different periods. The finest and most famous of these is the Bazar-e Vakil, a cruciform structure commissioned by Karim Khan as part of his plan to make Shiraz into a great trading centre. The wide vaulted brick avenues are masterpieces of Zand architecture, with the design ensuring the interior remains cool in summer and warm in winter. Today the bazaar is home to almost 200 stores selling carpets, handicrafts, spices and clothes.
The bazaar is best explored by wandering without concern for time or direction, and heading at whim along the atmospheric maze of lanes that lead off the main thoroughfares. With any luck, a ramble will lead to the tribal handicraft arcade of Shamshirgarha Bazaar, the Seray-e Moshir (a restored caravanserai) and the nearby Seray-e Mehr Teahouse – an atmospheric little place to pause for lunch.
Bazar-e Vakil continues on the north side of Karim Khan-e Zand Blvd but is of less immediate interest.