Two more places to visit from Kerman are Rayen and Mahan, with a well-maintained fort and a beautifully laid out garden, respectively.
Rayen has a nice adobe fort, similar to the famous one in Bam, the one that got badly damaged in an earthquake in 2003. The fort in Rayen is much smaller, but – for obvous reasons – in better condition. The castles in this area, built as trading posts probably dating from the Sassanid era some 1500 years ago, were residential castles: Rayen fort has a walled outer area which contains the remains of many commoner houses, as well as a second fortified structure, inside, which was where the aristocracy lived. Bits and pieces have been restored, especially from the inner fort – which contains four separate, symetrically constructed courtyards -, but for most of it, the structures have fallen into disrepair, since they were vacated around 150 years ago, probably for more comfortable accomodation outside in a world that got steadily safer. One is free to roam around the site, which is exactly what we did, not hindered by any other tourists.
Closer to Kerman is Mahan, a small town famous for its garden. Now have we seen many a Persian garden before, and especially at this time of the year, September, they are not at their best. But the Bagh-e Shahzde is something else. Beautifully laid out, it has a central cascading water channel in the middle, flanked by flower beds and trees, including many tall cypress trees. At the end is a small Qajar era palace, which is not so interesting, but the garden itself is certainly worth a visit.
next: the desert, and the Kaluts