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Shiraz was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty (1747-79), when many of its most beautiful buildings were built or restored. Through its many artists and scholars, Shiraz has been synonymous with learning, nightingales, poetry, roses and also wine!
Today Shiraz is a relaxed, cultivated city, with wide tree-lined avenues and abundant monuments, gardens and mosques to keep most visitors happy for several days. The university here is one of Iran’s finest, and you’ll come across lots of students eager to speak English.
Highlights include the restful mausoleum and garden of Hafez , a celebrated poet; the Aliebnehamze mausoleum, an important Shiite place of pilgrimage which attracts hordes of supplicants; the Pars Museum , which contains Zand dynasty relics; and the delightful Eram garden, where the 19th century Ghajar palace lies alongside a pretty pool.
There are plenty of hotels to suit all budgets and tastes in Shiraz, most of them clustered near Zand, the main boulevard. This is also the area to nose out a good feed, from inexpensive kebabs and burgers to more swanky sit-down affairs. Shiraz is nearly 900km (560mi) south of Tehran. It’s a great place to start or finish your trip to Iran and is well serviced by international and domestic flights. The airport lies 8km (5mi) south-east of the city centre. Buses run from Shiraz to Tehran and other major towns; shared taxis run occasionally to Isfahan.
center of Persian culture
city of poets – home to tombs of Hafez and Sadi
situated in southern Iran near the Zagros Mountains
famous for its gardens and the Vakil bazaar
the Shiraz grape originates from the region
population over 1,200,000
The natural base camp for any trip to Persepolis and the ancient sites of Nagsh-e Rostam and Pasagadae, the bustling city of Shiraz has a lot to offer in its own right.
City of Poets:
Shiraz is cherished throughout Iran as a city of poets. Two of the very greatest, in a nation for whom poetry is perhaps the most celebrated art, were born and passed their lives there; the great sage Saadi and Hafez, the Persian Shakespeare.
Their resting-places, known as the Saadieh and Hafezieh respectively, are among Shiraz best known tourist attractions and represent what, for Iranians, are the essential qualities of this ancient southern city: elegance, repose and gardening.
Gardening - an essential pastime:
The garden might well be the ultimate symbol for Shiraz. Set in the parched hills of the dry Fars region, its inhabitants have managed to nurture some pretty fine public parks as well as their own private sanctuaries. If youre not from this part of the world and you think of countryside as pretty much an uninterrupted swath of green, you might not be particularly impressed.
Mosque interior, Shiraz, Iran:
A friend of mine described Shiraz, known affectionately in Iran as shahr-e gol o bulbul (city of the flower and the nightingale) as just another dusty middle eastern town. But that’s missing the point. To raise a cyprus tree or a rose bush in a place where the average rainfall between June and September is precisely zero is a feat indeed, and each one is valued and marvelled over.
Shirazis, renowned for their laid-back attitude and unfailing hospitality, will probably suggest a tour of at least two or three gardens, or baghs. The most famous, the Bagh-e Eram, comprises a royal villa set in meticulously landscaped grounds. This place was a favourite haven of the Shah, and its only since the revolution that its glories have been fully accessible
The house is not huge but its beautifully decorated and obviously fulfilled its role as a royal bolt-hole very well. In front is a reflecting pool graced by palm trees and leading off in every direction are cool gravel paths, shaded from the sun by orange trees heavy with fruit. Other Baghs to look out for are the orange grove or Narangestan of Ghavvam or the more secluded, smaller Bagh-e Afifabad. The latter was the Queen’s personal retreat when she was in Shiraz. The royal quarters on the upper floor have been preserved whilst the basement is now given over to a museum of arms and armour.
The Old Town:
Many of Shiraz best historic sites are within easy reach of one another. The beautiful Vakil Bazaar, named for Karim Khan-e Zand who presided over Shiraz spell as capital city of Iran and was known as the Regent (Vakil), is great for carpets.
Its also possible to buy a variety of wares made by local tribes, chief among them the Ghasghaii, a traditionally nomadic people whose encampments can still be seen dotted around Fars. It also contains the enchanting Saray-e Mushir, an old two-story hostelry now occupied by artisans and bazaaris and centred around an ornamental pool.
Next door is the 18th century Vakil mosque and nearby the stunning Hammam-e Vakil, a bath house decorated with stucco reliefs and now converted into a fine restaurant. A little further south is Shiraz’s main religious site, the Shah-e Cheragh mosque complex, worth seeing for the spectacular mirror-covered shrine of Hazrat Ahmad Ibn Mousa-Kazem, the brother of Imam Reza.
Shiraz is the sixth most populous city of iran
Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. 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. 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.In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries: 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz.
This building, the biggest and the most important building of Zand Dynasty, has been the residence of Karim Khan and where he ruled from.With four circular towers, one of which on the southeastern side has a distinctive slope. Restoration is continuing. Decoration of this complex has been destroyed.
The area of whole place is 12800 square meter (42,240 sq. ft), the height of each tower is 14 meter (46′).
Above the entrance is a large tile image of the killing of the white devil by Rustam. Made during Ghajar dynasty which was added later to the Arg.
Inside the Arg, there are different buildings, the north building was used in the winter, the south building for summer use, and west building was four all seasons.
Outside of the building has simple presentation but on the contrary inside the rooms have beautiful decorations which is the characteristic of buildings during Karim Khan. There are fountains still in operation, flower and vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Work is in progress trying to save and restore the Arg.
The beautiful Vakil Mosque was built in 1773 by Karim Khan at one of the entrances to his bazaar. The mosque has two vast iwans to the north and south, a magnificent inner courtyard surrounded by beautifully tiles alcoves and porches and a wonderful vaulted mihrab with 48 impressive columns.
The enormous 14 steps marble minbar was cut out of a block and was carried from Azerbaijan.