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Souvenirs of Kerman

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Those who have traveled to Kerman know that you cannot leave that city without buying one of its many souvenirs. Travelers visiting Kerman never forget those souvenirs.

Caraway

This is a fragrant plant which is used in composition of many drugs. There are various kinds of caraway like 70th, 90th and Kabkou caraway, with the latter enjoying the highest quality. It is black in color and is harvested on the slopes of Hezar Mountain, which is said to be a growing field for 1,000 types of herbs. It is also used in cooking along with rice and in boiled form.

Ghoutou (Ghavout)

This is made of 40 plants including nigella seed, purslane, coffee, hemp, cotton seed… It is brown in color and is very nutritious. Varieties of ghoutou have pistachios and coconut in their make.

Pistachios

Although pistachios grown in Rafsanjan are especially famous, pistachios grown in Kerman mostly comes from Sirjan, Zarand, and Ravar and is packed under various names like Owhadi, Kalleh Ghouchi, Robati, Excellent, Red, and Vahedi.

Pistachio Halva

Pistachios constitute the main component of this sweet. Other forms of traditional halva made in Kerman include: rice flour halva, hemp halva, walnut halva, coconut halva, yellow flower halva, and beans halva.

Kolompe

To make this, dough made from Hashtarkhoun (or Haji Tarkhoun) flour is spread out over a saucer and seedless round dates are put over it. Then the whole thing is covered with another piece of flattened dough before adding seasons and putting it in an oven to bake. Kolompe has various kinds like sugar, walnut and so on.

Bereshtou

It is some delicious sweet. First flour fried in cooking oil is mixed with sugar or dates before being cut in rhomboid pieces. If dates are added to flour, it is called dates bereshtou.

Kerman Carpet

Kerman carpet is a garden of colorful flowers whose fragrance is comforting for those who love arts. Kerman carpet is more than 400 years old and there is an old picture of Kerman carpet belonging to the time of the Safavids. A precious Kerman carpet is covering the floor of the US Senate. It was woven 100 years ago by one of the city’s artists called Abolqasem Karbasi and is about 400 square meters in area. It was shipped to the United States despite many difficulties. The weaver had first spread the carpet in front of the western yard of the Grand Mosque of Kerman to take a picture of it and prove that its area was no less than 400 sq. m. Another famous Kerman carpet is the one which has been taken from Kerman to the United States by an Armenian called “Toum Kolijan” and which is spread under the big Freedom Bell. Finally, peace ambassadors stood on a Kerman carpet in Versailles, France, and signed the peace treaty.

Major figures like Mohammad Arjmand Kermani, who is known as carpet king of the world, brought about major changes into the industry and his carpets can be still seen at many palaces. A major feature of Kerman carpets is that rhythmic quality of its patterns which are soothing to viewers.

Pateh

Pateh is one of the traditional arts, which is specific to Kerman. Kermani women use colorful threads on a wide piece of cloth, which they call “Ariz (meaning “wide” in Persian)” to make this scarf which is then decorated with very beautiful designs, and exhilarate any person loving arts.

Tree, aigrette, pine, peacock, cypress, and armband are major patterns which are used to weave patehs. Pateh is woven in various types and sizes, including a size suitable to be used by brides to put their things in it. Some of them are big enough to be spread at bathrooms, to be prayed on, and in quadrilateral shapes. In addition to above industries, Kerman enjoys other industries too, some of which have lost their importance now. Weaving scarves, for example, was once prosperous in Iran and they were worn by rulers and the rich and were also exported to neighboring countries. Kerman scarves and shawls were so famous that they were compared with Kashmir shawls in terms of quality.

The people of Kerman also make knives and guns. These industries are mostly found in Rayen. The knife of Rayen is quite famous in the country and there is a legend about a knife, which cut through an iron lock and the ruler ordered the hand of its manufacturer to be cut. Rayen knives are very delicate and efficient. The art, however, is almost obsolete and only few people still pursue that profession.

Making various kinds of fans, covers for water jars, and mats made of palm fronds, carving on copper plates, and tilework are other handicrafts of Kerman province and artifacts produced by Kermani craftspeople can be taken as souvenirs.

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