The capital of Fars province, used to be Iran’s capital during the Zand dynasty (1747- 1779). This metropolitan city is the 6th most populous city in Iran (1.500.000 inhabitants). Based on the archeological findings, the earliest reference to Shiraz goes back to around 2000 B.C. Through its many artists and scholars, Shiraz has been synonymous with learning, nightingales, poetry, and roses. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city, for example Eram Garden. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes.
Shiraz is home of two world’s famous poets Haafez and Saadi that you can find their tombs in the middle of the city.
Shiraz’s history dates back to the Elimate era and after that Achaemenians as Cyrus the Great set Parseh (60 Km away from Shiraz) as their capital. In the Achaemenian era, Shiraz was on the way from Susa to Persepolis and Pasargadae.
Shiraz’s Top 10 Attractions:
1. Eram Garden: The idyllic Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram) in Shiraz is a striking location for visitors with a variety of plants as well as a historic mansion.
Although the exact date of the construction of the garden is not clear, historical evidence suggests it was constructed during the Seljuk Dynasty on the orders of the celebrated Seljuk monarch Sanjar as many other gardens were planted during his reign. Like many other historic monuments in the southern city of Shiraz, it was restored and repaired by the Zand kings (1750-1794). The garden with its beautiful flowers, refreshing air, tall cypresses (a stately, beautiful cypress tree there known as sarv-e naz which is said to go back to 3000 years ago) and fragrant myrtles is a major tourist destination especially in the spring.
2. Haafez Tomb (Hafezieh): One of the most popular attractions of Shiraz, is situated in a garden on the banks of Rukn-Abad River. The original structure, built in 1773 A.D during the reign of Karim Khan Zand, consisted of four stone columns at the center, the north and south sides of which were open .On each of the other two sides a room had been built.
Very little is known about the life of Shams al-din Mohammad famous as Hafiz. Considered as one of the greatest Iranian poets, Hafiz was probably born between 1317 and 1326 A.D. in Shiraz. Though living a poor life due to the loss of his father, he managed to become quite well educated, being fluent in both Arabic and Persian, and memorizing the Qur’an at an early age (the nick name ‘Hafiz’ is a title given those who have the holy book by heart.).
3. Saadi Tomb: The mausoleum of Saadi, known also as the tomb of Sa’dy or Sadiyeh, is one of the major tourist attractions of Shiraz. Huge number of Iranians and non-Iranians pay a visit to this burial place and show their respect to Saadi and interest in his works, prose and poems. This Iranian poet is a globally known scholar whose words have touched many hearts across the world and wakened up many minds to take new steps in their lives to reach higher levels of humanity. The ambiance of this location is much more attractive than its architecture although it has got interesting character by itself.
4. Vakil Mosque: Vakil Mosque is situated west of the famous Vakil Bazaar. It was built in 1187 (AH) during Zand Dynasty. It covers an area of 8,660 square meters. On the two sides of the entrance gate there are magnificent tile-works and arches.
The left and right corridors of the entrance gate are connected to the main room. Alongside the altar there is a 14-step tall platform made of green marbles where the speaker has to climb a number of stairs to reach the top to address the audience. On the inscription of the entrance gate there are Quranic verses engraved in Sols and Nosakh scripts.
5. Afif- Abad Garden: Afif Abad Garden with an area of approximately 127,000 square meters is one of the most beautiful historical gardens in Shiraz, which was built in 1863. The garden was an important garden and promenade of kings in Safavid period.
Afif Abad Garden is an actual symbol of the Iranian art of planting flowers. It is located in a wealthy area of Shiraz. It contains a royal palace, a museum of old weapons and an Iranian gardens, all providing public visit. It is registered as number 913 on the list of Iranian National Heritage.
6. Qavam House: also widely called “Narenjestan e Ghavam”, is a traditional and historical house in Shiraz, Iran. It is set within the Persian gardens of Eram Garden. Qavam House is a smaller rival to Eram Garden but it has beautiful buildings inside. It is also at walking distance from the Khan Madrassa. Qavam House (Narenjestan) was built between 1879 to1886 by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. He was from the wealthy Qavam family who soon became active in the government during the Zand dynasty.
7. Shah – e – Cheragh Shrine: The wide mosque is flanked by two minarets and dominated by a dome is located in the west wing. The high eaves are supported by thick octagonal columns connected by a wall of green marble, carved entirely of wood. The entrance is guarded by a heavy door, plated with gold and enamel with a glass panel at its center. The pilgrims kiss and fondle the door as you enter.
8. Karim Khan Citadel: This Arg (citadel) was built as part of a complex during Zand dynasty (1766) and named after Karim Khan and served as his living quarter. Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of the time and bought the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the citadel of Karim Khan, which was quickly constructed. Tile works depicting legendary tales were added at the entrance gate of the citadel during the Qajar dynasty.
9. Takht – e – Jameshid (Persepolis): Takht-e-Jamshid (Persepolis) was founded in 512 B.C. by Darius I, and added-to over the next 150 years until it was captured from Darius III and burned to the ground by Alexander in 331 BC. It was one of the wonders of the world. Persepolis is simply Greek for “Persian City”. It was started decades before the Parthenon (490 B.C.), and all the workers were paid (no slave labor). Workers were employed from all over the empire to build it. It is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. Naghsh – e – Rostam (Necropolis): Naqsh-e Rustam is one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring ancient sites of the Achaemenid Empire, consisting of the colossal tombs of Persian kings dating back to the first millennium BC. It stands as a lasting memory of a once powerful empire that ruled over a significant portion of the ancient world.