Shiraz

Shiraz

Population: 1.7 million

Renowned for its Persian lyrics, roses, cypresses and nightingales Shiraz is the capital of Fars and one time capital of the empire.

Little is known of the stcity’s pre-Islamic  other than that a settlement certainly existed here during the Achaemenid era and that the Sassanian king Ardashir (212-41) held court here.

It became a provincial capital around 693 and by 1044 was said to rival Baghdad in importance as a cultural and artistic center. Its rulers saw the wisdom of tribute and the city was spared by both Mongols and Timur – and these eras become among the most successful in Shiraz’s development.

Shiraz’s modern history is closely associated with the Zand Dynasty when Karimkhan Zand chose it as his capital in 1747 – the most famous relics of this era being the Vakil Mosque and the Arg-e-Karim.

Shiraz is also the birthplace of the nation’s two greatest poets – Saadi and Hafez who are immortalized here in lovely mausoleums.

Shiraz is located in the southwest 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.

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.

Attractions in shiraz:

Shiraz is known as the poetic capital of Persia, because two of the greatest poets of the world, Hafez (1324-1391) and Sa’di (1209-1291), come from this city. Sa’di, the traveler saw a great part of the world before he finally settled in Shiraz, where he died. Hafez on the other hand, except for one very short journey, never even left his city.Shiraz is a treasure trove of Middle Eastern culture. It was the capital of Iran during the Zand dynasty (1747-79), and also the celebrated birthplace of the great poets Hafiz and Saadi.

 

karimkhan:

Attraction type:Historical bldg

Chronology:18 Th century

Historic Era: Zand

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.

 

Vakil Mosque:

Attraction Type: Mosque

Chronology: 18 Th. Century

Historic Era: Zand

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.

Most of the tiling, with its predominantly floral motifs, was added in the early Qajar era.

 

Vakil Bazzar:

Attraction Type: Bazzar

Chronology: 18 Th. Century

Historic Era: Zand

Shiraz’s finest bazaar is one of the most atmospheric in iran and has been described as the most architecturally impressive in the country. It was constructed by Karim Khan as part of a plan to make Shiraz into a great trading center.

The vaulted brick ceilings keep the Bazaar interior cool in summer and warm in winter.

Considered one of the best bazaars in Iran, this can be one of your favorite places to shop many good stores with very good prices.

The architecture and atmosphere make it worthwhile to visit and shop. It is quite large with many sections. You will find stores in groups based on what they sell, like handcrafts stores above and carpet stores below.

One can purchase Gabbeh (rugs woven by Fars nomads) in addition to other kinds of rugs and many other handcrafts.

 

Jame atiq mosque:

Attraction Type: Historical bldg

Chronology: from the 9 century

Historic Era: Since Saffarid


The ancient Jame’ Atiq Mosque of Shiraz is one of the oldest mosques in Iran and a relic of the days of the Saffarid Amr bin Leys’s reign. It is a structure referred to many times in the writings of travelers such as the Bin Battuta and Madame Dieulafoy.

The Saffarids were a people of Iranian stock who were originally from the province of Sistan.

During the course of their sovereignty, that is, from 867 to 903 AD, they did not neglect the construction of public buildings, of which the Jame’ Mosque, is a prime example despite the many conflicts they had with the Baghdad Caliphs and local rivals. The construction of the mosque started in 894 as an act of thanksgiving following the victory of Amr Leys forces over the armies of the Abbassid Caliph al-Movaffaq.

Through the years, the mosque has witnessed numerous catastrophes, as a result of which it has been rebuilt and restored many times, for example in the 12th and 13th century AD, during the reign of the Atabak rulers of Fars, and in the 16th through 18th century AD, during the Safavid epoch. The restoration of the mosque has continued during the reign of Pahlavi dynasty, with the cooperation of the Department of Archeology and the charitable people of Fars province.

The Jame’ Mosque used to have six portals in different directions and numerous magnificent Shabestans or prayer halls and chambers, some of which gradually fell into ruin and are no longer standing.
Formerly the Sahn or the courtyard of the mosque was carpeted with marble, and there were stone basins in the vestibules wherein those entering the mosque would wash their feet before proceeding barefoot onto the courtyard. The most important portal of the mosque lies on the north side, and is known as The twelve Imams.

Its piers and borders are of stone, and the rest is brickwork. Both sides of the portal are decorated with glazed mosaic tiles.
The decoration consists of beautifully written verses from the Qur’an and arabesque designs with flower-and-bird motifs.
Between this portal and the entrance of the mosque, there is a vestibule, around which a number of blind arches can be seen.
The ceiling of this section has been decorated with stalactites in a very interesting and appealing way, and is ornamented with Qur’anic verses on all four sides.

There is also an inscription from the Safavid period here, which is the work of the famous calligrapher, Ali Johari.

 

Nasirolmolk  Mosque:

Attraction Type: Mosque

Chronology: 19 Th century

Historic Era: Qajar

This mosque is one of the most elegant mosques in south of Iran. Built relatively recently, at the end of the 19th century, its colored tilings (an unusually deep shade of blue) are exquisite. There is some particularly fine stalactite moulding in the smallish outer portal and in the northern iwan, but it is the stunning stained glass and exquisitely carved pillars of the winter prayer hall that are most eye-catching.

This mosque was built around 1872-1884 by order of Nasirol-Mulk, the aristocrat of Shiraz

 

Eram Garden:

Attraction Type: Garden

Chronology: 19 Th century

Historical Era: Qajar


This is a botanic garden which an  edifice from Qajar Era (19th century).

Famous for its cypress trees it was made to compete with heaven, often called the Garden of Paradise.

The edifice is not open to visitors

The architect was Haj Mohammad Hassan Memar.

 

Narenjestan  Ghavam:

Attraction Type: Historical bulding

Chronology: 19 Th century

Historical Era: Qajar


Ghavam Orange Garden is a smaller rival to Eram Garden and has beautiful buildings inside.
Built 1879-1886, was the home of Governor’s Court of Fars during the Ghajar period.
Designed and used as the Birooni (Exterior: to receive people outside of the family circle).
Also, the complex includes Zinat al Mulk house which was designed and used as andarooni (Interior : the home for only the close family).
The complex also consists of a private bath house, a public bath house, and Hoseinieh (religious ceremony building).
Andarooni and Birooni buildings were connected together by an underground passage way.
This complex Significantly represent Iranian Architecture during Ghajar period.
Between 1969-1979, Asian Institute used Naranjestan under famous American Archeologist Arthur Upham Pope.
Since 1998, the complex is used by the faculty of Art and Architecture of Shiraz University.

 

Hafez Tomb:

Attraction Type: Tomb & Garden

Chronology: 14 Th century

The tomb of the famous poet and mystic of 8th century Iranian, whol  lived in the 14th century. (about 1320-1389)

Has a garden with pools, very pleasant, relaxing and restful.

Marble tombstone, engraved with the poet’s work, placed by Karim Khan in 1773. In 1935, an octagonal pavilion supported by eight stone columns was put over it. Has a small library, a teahouse,  and a good souvenir and bookshop

Hafez loved his birth place Shiraz so he refused many generous invitations inside and outside of Iran.

 

Saadi Tomb:

Attraction Type: Tomb & Garden

Chronology: 13 Th century


The tomb of Saadi, the poet and mystic of the 13th century (about 1207-1291).

Marble tomb dates from 1860s, an octagonal shaped building, walls inscribed with Saadi work in tile.

An underground pool where people throw coins into the water and make a wish.

 

Shah  cheragh:

Attraction Type:Shrine

Chronology: 14 Th century

Also known as the Shrine of the lord of the light.
The remains of Sayyed Mir Ahmad (a brother of Imam Reza) who died in Shiraz in AD835 are houses at this famous Mausoleum.

A mausoleum was first erected over the grave in the mid 14th century and it has been an important Shiite place of pilgrimage ever since.

The expansive courtyard is a great to sit and discreetly observe the moving climax to what is an important religious rite for Shiites.

The multicoloured reflections from the countless minute mirror tiles inside the shrine are quite dazzling and the golden topped minarets above it are superb.

Hidden away in the northwestern corner the courtyard is a small museum which houses a few old Qurans.

At the southeastern corner of the courtyard is the Mausoleum of Sayyed Mir Mohammed. It was built for the brother of Mir Ahmad, who also died in Shiraz. The shrine has intricate mirror tiling and some inscriptions in the dome, but it is less interesting than the Shah Cheragh mausoleum.

 

Quran gate:

Attraction Type: Historical Building

Chronology: 9 Th century

Known as Darvazeh Quran, located at the entrance of the city of Shiraz, the beautifully built Darvazeh Quran, was the place where two huge Qurans, known as the Hefdah-man Quran were kept. All who entered or left the city had to pass through Darvazeh Quran, thus passing underneath the two Holy Quran. Most Muslims believe that if a man walks on the Holy Quran before he sets out in a trip, he will safely return home. The two Qurans are presently kept in the Pars Museum.

 

Persepolis:

Attraction Type: Anicent city

Chronology: 6 Th century

Historic Era: Achaemenian

Registered as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) or Takht-e Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid) became summer capital of Achaemenian after Pasargadae. The construction of this impressive palace started by Darius I, one of Cyrus’s successors, in about 518 BC. Was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I. It was burned down during Alexander the Great occupation in 331 BC. Historians debate whether was accidental or intentional retaliation.

The entire complex was built atop a lofty terrace reached by a double stairway that led to the monumental Gate of Xerxes. The terrace is about 1,475 ft long by 985 ft wide, and about 25-60 ft high. To the south, across a vast open space, was the huge Apadana, or Audience Hall of Darius; east of the Audience Hall rose the massive Throne Hall—called by early archaeologists the Hall of One Hundred Columns—which was begun by Xerxes and completed by Artaxerxes. Many other structures lay to the south of these main buildings, including the palaces of Darius and Xerxes and the royal treasury.

When you enter the area, you go up the stairs. There are 106 steps about 23 ft wide. At the top of the stairs the first thing you see is Xerxes Gateway with three separate doors and a hallway. The remaining doors are covered with inscriptions and carvings in ancient languages. To the east you can see the double headed eagles.

To the south of gateway, look for the Apadana Palace (audience hall) where kings received visitors and celebrated Noruz (the Persian New Year). Persepolis was occupied only on great occasions of national importance. There are almost no signs of daily wear.

Persepolis was used as a setting for an invocation by the whole nation, led by the divinely invested King, by the grace of the Great God Ahura-Mazda, overcame all enemies and established a world empire which was planned to bring peace, order and prosperity into a chaotic world. Darius declared, “I am one who loves righteousness and hates iniquity… It is not my will that the storng should oppress the weak… God’s plan for the earth is not turmoil but peace, prosperity and good government.” And for a while this part of the world enjoyed such.

The Court of Apadana was made from material from nearby mountains. The Central Hall was supported by 36 stone columns, each 20m high. Double headed bulls that decorate stairways each represent ancient nationalities. Look for Darius Palace, behind Central Hall connected by stairway. Palace of 100 columns was the largest hall in Persepolis which Darius I used for reception and meetings with his army commanders.

To the east, carved in the mountain see Tomb of Artaxerxes II.
The Persepolis Museum displays ceramic, carvings, cloths and coins discovered there and in a city nearby. There is uncertainty whether the museum building was the harem of Xeres or the Queen’s palace.

In a seperate complex next to Persepolis was the Treasury consisting of halls covering over 10,000 sq meters. Found at the Treasury were stone and clay tablets written in Akkadian and Elamite that gave details of the economy of Persepolis. Records of wages paid, hours worked, and vacation. Women were paid the same as men for the same work and were given paid maternity leave. Unlike most large construction projects in the old world, Persepolis was not built by slaves. The workers lived off-site and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.

It is unknown as to how many people lived in and around Persepolis, but it is guessed to be in the thousands or tens of thousands. Since the entire project was over a 150 year time span there were at least six generations of workers born, worked and died during the life of the project.

 

Pasargade:

Attraction Type: Anicent city

Chronology: 6 Th century

Under the name of Cyrus the Great, 599-530 BC, a Persian who founded the Achaemenid empire and ruled it from 549 to 530 BC. He formed a lasting union of the Persians and the Medes. The entire plateau fell under the sway of the Achaemenid Empire (c.550 BC-330 BC), which eventually stretched from the Mediterranean sea to India and into Africa.

After Cyrus’s death (529 BC), his body was placed within a limestone mausoleum built in imitation of a gabled wood house and set on a plinth composed of six very high steps. The Tomb of Cyrus, the impressive stone which was originally much taller but is still the best preserved of the remains of Pasargadae.

At Pasargadae you will also see the remains of three Achaemenian Palaces, known as Throne of the Mother of Solomon, Prison of Solomon and two stone plinths within a sacred area.

This area was the first capital of Achaemenian empire and covers 1.6 sq.km. It is locared about 87km. northeast of Persepolis.

During the Islamic conquest of Iran, the Arab armies came upon the tomb and planned to destroy it, considering it to be in direct violation of the tenets of Islam. The caretakers of the grave managed to convince the Arab command that the tomb was not built to honor Cyrus, but instead housed the mother of King Solomon, thus sparing it from destruction. As a result, the inscription in the tomb was replaced by a verse of the Qur’an, and the tomb became known as “Qabr-e Madar-e Sulaiman,” or the tomb of the mother of Solomon. It is still widely known by that name  today.

 

Naghshe  rustam:

Attraction Type: Anicent city

Chronology: 6 Th century

Historic Era: Sassanian

Not far from Persepolis, there is a necropolis called naghsh-e-rostam (Rustam’s Relief : in Persian literature super-sized things are related to Rustam, an epic champion.)

Here you see 4 giant tombs in a magnificent rock. The toms belong to Darius I, Artaxerxes I, Xerxes I, and Darius II who have been all Achaemenian kings.

The tomb openings are in shape of crosses, each cross shaped above is over 75 feet high and 60 feet wide.

Eight stone carvings from Sassanian dynasty below the achaemenian tombs showing conquests of kings; believed was created to celebrate the victory of Sassanian king, over the Romanian invader, Valerian.

A 25 ft high victory carving shows Roman leaders Valerian and
Philip the Arab abase themselves before their conquerer Shapur I in 260 A.D.

There used to be a ladder which visitors could climb up to the tombs but is no longer available. The size of these are incredible!

There is also a building standing in front of these tombs, Ka’ be Zardusht (Kabba of Zoroaster), assumed to be a Zoroastrian fire temple from Achaemenian Period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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