Shiraz the city of the wine and the poetry. Its inhabitants are known for their savoir-vivre and their epicureanism.
A soft climate where the winds of the Persian Gulf blow, it is the favorite city of travelers.
The only place on earth where you have to forget the time to earn more and get drunk on the words of its poets in order to appreciate the Persian language.
Achaemenid kings chose the region to build their sumptuous palaces and developed their economy on the fertility of its land.
There are many nomads and cattle in the hinterland of Shiraz, more than anywhere in Iran these days.
Walking in its gardens, the breeze blowning through the slender cypresses, the beautiful voluptuous figure of Hafez’s poems and the rose garden, muse of Saadi, the great sage of moral precepts.
The spring air, perfumed with the scent of citrus trees and jasmine, the young nomade Turk in colorful velvet clothes and silky look.
From shops with vinegar jars and plant juices, to thousands of bottles of beneficial nectar, borage, chicory, Egyptian willow and eglantine.
The Moshir seraglio opens its craft shops and its smiling vendors stock their showcase.
Shiraz Persian beauty, legendary city, eternal capital of epicureans and poets …
Shiraz Attractions and Sights
Eram Botanical Garden:
Eram Garden in Shiraz was originally the palatial residence of a chief of the Qashqai tribe, a turkish-speaking nomad from the Fars region. It is now a property of Shiraz university and its botanical research center.
A pavilion decorated with painted tiles with various designs (motifs).
On the pediment of the facade, we find the representation of the king of the 19th century, Naseredin-Shah, on horseback.
The two other scenes refer to legends, that of Joseph, son of Jacob trapped by the temptation of women, and that of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba giving audience to animals, both of which are famous and popular Quranic stories matching the dreamy ambient of the garden. Streams leave from the large pool in front of the pavilion to irrigate the entire garden.
Take the time to stroll in the garden with its exotic plants and admire the famous cypress trees, the most beautiful of Shiraz, a symbol of feminine beauty in Persian poetry.
A morning visit is recommended to get the best light.
The mausoleum of Ali-Ebne Hamzeh.
The mausoleums normally house the graves of the descendants of
Shiite Imams. In Shiism the cult of the dead is very present.
Towards the beginning of the 9th century the nephew of Imam Reza, the 8th Imam was martyred and buried in a modest building.
The presence of the Shiites, being in the minority at the time, was not tolerated and they were pursued and persecuted by the agents of Abassiid caliph.
The building was rebuilt under the Safavids around the 17th century.
The current building is very recent, the courtyard is covered with tombstones. Those who can afford it offer themselves a grave near a saint.
The interior is covered with mirror mosaics which is a kind of decoration normally reserved for mausoleums and holy places.
The entry of non-Muslims into the mausoleum is possible, but the wearing of the veil for women is compulsory. A welcome visit service for foreign visitors is offered free of charge.
A 19th-century mosque, which bears the name of its founder who left an order for a unique structure with newly introduced colors to Iranian tile decoration.
The plan does not follow the current routines for example, there is neither a dome chamber nor Iwan towards Mecca and the direction of Qibla marked just by small minarets. Two rooms on the sides are principally used for prayers, the one on the right is the famous room with tinted glass windows, the one on the left is now a photo exhibition of the Activities of Oughaf (the religious institution that deals with the management of the property and the collection of endowments) to which the mosque belongs.
In the same room, there is access to a cow alley to collect well water in the past.
Concerning the decorations, the walls are covered largely with painted tiles where rose and yellow are dominant and the drawings, on the whole, have realistic features and are never seen in the mosque especially in a prayer room, it seems to show exotic landscape.
Narenjestan Ghavam (the Orange orchard, Narenj is actually the root for the orange in European languages), the house of Ghavam, governor of Shiraz in the 19th century, was originally the outer part of a residential complex Whose interior, the residence of Zinatol-Molk, interconnected with each other.
We recognize the plan of a garden and the rooms located on the north side that recently transformed into a museum.
Since the 1960s the university of Shiraz has been in charge of the management.
The house is particularly known for its decorations including paintings (the drawings of Glolo-Morgh, the flower, and the bird), marquetry, mirror works, the tiles, and the bas-reliefs whose designs were taken in part from ancient Persia.
The Khan Madrasa (theological school) is a peaceful 17th-century Koranic school open to non-Muslim travelers thanks to the tolerant atmosphere Special to Shiraz.
A four-Ivan plan and an interior courtyard surrounded by student cells on a double arch structure. The current decoration dates back to the 19th century. Moula -Sadra, the famous philosopher of the Safavid era, taught in this school.
In Koranic schools, apart from theology and Koranic sciences, students learn gnostics and jurisprudence, sharia law, and a preface of Classic philosophy and Platonism besides Islamic philosophy.
Madrasa seems not to be fully active, but you always find some smiling mullah in the courtyard to discuss a subject and ask some questions.
Hafezieh, the tomb of the great 14th-century Persian poet, the undisputed master of lyrics poetry (Ghazal, a poetic style that deals more with themes of love). The universal poet, the source of inspiration for great philosophers and writers like Goethe and André Gide.
His poetry deals as much with the worldly subjects (material world) and social theme as with the philosophical and mystical themes beyond our human perception. He talks about wine, beauty, and beautiful faces and appreciates the charm of his hometown Shiraz.
He has only one collection of poetry (Divan) which represents his literary style while there is another poet like Sadi (master of speech) mastering several styles, writes more voluminous works in prose as well as in poetry, but after centuries, it is the poetry of Hafez which has welcomed as interlocutor of advantage among Iranians and admirers of Persian poetry.
Perhaps more than literary and aesthetic reasoning, the enigma of Hafez’s poetry is one reason. Hafez’s poem is surreal and reveals several layers of perception that everyone based on their abilities perceives and translates.
This multifaceted quality has created a tradition called Tafaol (bibliomancy).
By opening Divan of Hafez at random, the verses that come, speak of the wish and foresees the fate of the person.
The ideal man for Hafez (Rend) is a person who does not care about this material and deceptive world that reveals the hypocrisy of the religious and deflects from the populism of authorities which has cost him the disgrace of governors.
The tomb is set in a pretty garden under a dome, it is the most comforting place for young lovers, frustrated by the infidelity of the beloved, seeking a cozy corner to spend some time with Hafez relieving verses.
Persepolis is the most majestic city that the Achaemenid kings have built. Started by the order of Darius, 520 BC, the rock had to be raised to find the extent necessary for its construction and to fit out the palaces and halls of various names and functions.
Architects and craftsmen from different regions are engaged in the work to create an artistic symbiosis representing all the people forming part of the empire and subject to the undisputed power of the Achaemenid rulers.
The heart of the site is a courtroom called Apadana. This is the courtroom where the representatives of the nations were received. They were on their way to Persepolis on New Year’s Eve, bringing their gifts to the Emperor. The representation of a procession of guests has been brought to light on the stairs of the Apadana.
Two tombs were built on the rock, behinde of the site, belonging to the kings of this Achaemenid dynasty.
The city succumbs to the sacking and the raging fire of Macedonian soldiers in 333 BC. The radiance of a lavish and unparalleled period was thus extinguished, consumed by this fire.
Naghshe-Rostam, literally the image of Rostam, is the necropolis of the Kings of ancient Persia. The site was named by the locals over the Sassanid bas-reliefs evoking the story of a hero in the Book of Kings, Shahnameh of Ferdowsi.
The rock shelters the burials of four Achaemenid kings, all of them are cruciform. In front of the reliefs, there is a building in the shape of a cube, called the Kaabeh-Zartosht. Its function remains unknown until now. Perhaps it was a temporary tomb or a fire temple.
Below the entrance to the four tombs carved into the rock are several bas-reliefs. The most importants are the one that Shapour is appearing on horseback, holding the hand of a Roman emperor Valerian and the other who is kneeling is the Emperor Philippe the Arab, the first one is captured and the other is paying the ransom demanded to regain his freedom.
Two equestrian scenes showing the victories of the Sassanid kings against their Roman rivals. And further on, we can see the representation of the investiture of Ardeshir, the father of Shapour, receiving the ribboned diadem directly from Ahuramazda, the supreme god of the cult of Zoroaster, symbolizing and affirming the legitimacy of the rule of the Sassanids.
The Zoroastrian religion became politicized from this point on, and priests played a predominant role on the political scene.
Pasargadae, the city that hosts the tomb of Cyrus II, the great founder of the Achaemenid dynasty.
The site was not destroyed like Persepolis after the conquest of Alexander the Great. But its gradual abandonment meant that the stones of the palaces served as building materials for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages.
Only the tomb of Cyrus II was spared from destruction.
Alexandre paid homage to his remains during his visit to the city. The Muslim attackers respected the burial place of Solomon’s mother, the Prophet, which is there according to the local legends.
Archaeological excavations have brought to light the water canals over most of the site, which shows the existence of a large garden, a Royal Garden. These are the oldest Persian gardens, which served as a model for the famous Iranian gardens, “Pairi-Faeza” origin of the word paradise.
From the entrance to the site, you can see the famous tomb, enthroned in the middle of an esplanade, a double-roofed building on a stepped plinth. Some shuttles take you to the end of the site to visit the palaces, which are in deplorable condition today. There is a cubic tower of which only one side remains, built according to the same architecture as the Kaabeh-Zartosht in Naghshe Rostam.
At the “Entrance Palace” , on the sides of a door, a half-man, half-god figure with various symbols is represented. Some historians take it for a representation of Cyrus, without any certainty.