Shiraz

is one of the biggest cities in Iran and most significant city at the center of Fars province at the height of 1486 m above the sea level, located in the Zagros mountainous area, a highly important protection for the strategic location of Shiraz. Shiraz consists of 3 districts, ”Arzhan“, “Zaraghan“ , ”Markazi“, six cities and 12 rural districts. Shiraz name has been explored in the Achaemenid inscriptions in Persepolis.
This city has been known as the most significant tourism center, the 6th populous city, the cultural capital of the country, 2nd literary city in the world, the 3rd religious city, the 3rd holy shrine of Iran and the city of poetry, wine and flower. The tombs of several poets such as Hafez and Sa’adi placed in Shiraz where embraces a major part of Iran’s ancient history, historical, cultural, religious and natural attractions.
Placing in the central zone of south Zagros and a partly fertile area, the social and economic structure of Shiraz has been turned into a natural setting for nomads such as Ghashghaei, the farmers and residents to exchange local commodities. This city has also been located in the way of the commercial roads to south ports such as Bushehr, but this role has been faded out by establishing the railway network to other ports of Iran. Administrators and military centers are among the other causes the city to be glorious. Shiraz is economically dependent on industry, significant factories, agriculture and magnificent handicrafts .Shiraz residents speak in Shirazi accent of Persian language and most of them are Shia.

Narenjestan Lawn or Qavam Area in Shiraz

Narenjestan Garden or Qavam House in Shiraz

Narenjestan Garden or Qavam House in Shiraz is one of the most beautiful and praised gardens one will love to visit. Qavam House was built during Qajar period in late 19th century. At that time, Qavam family was among the political figures of Shiraz and Qavam House was the residential place of Qavam family and the office for their administration. Since the garden has an abundance of sour orange trees, people call it Narenjestan or the orange garden as well. Today, Narenjestan-e Qavam house and museum is open to the public and it is one of the main attractions of Shiraz that hosts many tourists who travel to Iran.

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Narenjestan Garden embraces an eye-catching monument in the heart of the garden

Narenjestan garden is a great sample of gorgeous Persian gardens of Iran. Persian gardens generally have a rectangular form consisting of four quarters abundant in trees and flowers, streams and pathways, ponds and fountains, a central pavilion, and the walls surrounding the garden. Similar to the Persian gardens registered on UNESCO World Heritage List such as Eram Garden in Shiraz, Shazdeh Garden in Kerman, and Dowlatabad Garden in Yazd, Narenjestan Garden embraces an eye-catching monument in the heart of the garden facing a stone pool and some fountains surrounded by date palms and sour orange trees that all together bring about a pleasant atmosphere.

Narenjestan complex is divided into south and north sections. Narenjestan monument as the most picturesque part of the garden catches visitors’ eyes as soon as they take a step forward within the garden. The monument has an elaborate architecture embellished with various Persian arts such as paintings, stucco, wood carving, stone carving, tile work, and mirror work. It has a magnificent iwan or porch with 2 stone columns. The porch has fabulous decorations on its ceiling and walls. On both sided of the porch, there are symmetrical decorated rooms as well.

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The basement of the monument displays a variety of colorful glasses. It was designed and built elaborately to provide a cool atmosphere throughout the hot summer days of Shiraz; however, today  it has been turned into Narenjestan museum and currently it is one of the most prominent regional and national museums of Iran. About Forty years ago, Narenjestan Garden was handed over to Shiraz University and subsequently was turned into the center for Asian studies. The Asia institute was directed by Arthur Upham Pope and Richard Nelson Frye. With the cooperation of Persian art scholars, they established Narenjestan museum in order to display newly discovered artistic and historical pieces.

Narenjestan-e-Qavam museum and garden has maintained the elegance of the 19the century lifestyle enjoyed by the upper class families in Qajar period. It is one of the luxurious attractions of Shiraz. It embraces Persian arts especially stucco, traditional painting, mirrorwork, brickwork, Moaraq, stone carving, and wood carving. Along with all the great Persian arts visible in the complex, the sound of birds chirping in the garden, and the shadow of sour orange trees and palm trees along the fountains all together bring peace and quiet to the tourists. It is quite pleasurable to have a stroll across the garden, take pictures, and admire Narenjestan elegance. Narenjestan Garden or Qavam house in Shiraz has been registered as a national heritage site and it is one of the magnificent tourist attractions that impress many national and international visitors.

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The basement of Narenjestan Garden monument displays a variety of colorful glasses

On the west side of Narenjestan monument, pay a visit to Khane Zinat-ol-Molk (Zinat-ol-Molk house) as well. The residence was built by Qavam-ol-Molk family in late 19th century. It includes 20 decorated rooms embellished with mirrors, stucco, and paintings. The first floor of the house is a great wax museum called Fars museum of history. It is home to wax, stone, and wood statues of more than sixty dominant personalities from Fars province. The variety of statues has made Fars museum of history a popular destination for Iranians and international tourists who travel to Shiraz. Travel to Iran and visit its invaluable historical attractions.

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, the purple aggregate of artwork and structure

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque also known as the Pink Mosque is an elegant piece of art and architecture that belongs to the end of 19th century.  Located in Shiraz, it is a colorful mosque built during Qajar dynasty. Nasir al-Mulk Mosque takes its name from one of the Qajar rulers – Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al-Mulk – who ordered to construct the mosque. Mohammad Hasan-e-Memar and Mohammad Reza Kashi-Saz were the professional designers of such an exquisite mosque. The construction of the mosque lasted from 1876 to1888. Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz-the combination of art and architecture- is one of the attractions for many of the tourists who travel to Iran.

Since the pink color and stained glass windows are applied elaborately in the structure and design of the Mosque, it is known by different names. Pink Mosque, Rainbow Mosque, Mosque of colors, and Kaleidoscope Mosque all describe different interpretations of visitors from this fantastic site.

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Glory of colors shining through the stained glass windows of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

At dawn, the sun shines through the stained glass windows of the Mosque and it glides from the right-hand side to the left-hand side to fill the inside with the glory of various colors combined. The vivid colors spread over the ground, the Persian carpets, the ceiling, the walls, the tiles, and the arches to give soul to the solid structure of the mosque. They caress the amazed visitors’ and worshipers’ faces and inspire photographers with great ideas to take amazing pictures. Maybe the designers had aimed to construct such an astonishing space to hold everybody in awe and to create a sacred space for prayer.

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque has two eastern and western shabestans. The eastern shabestan has a gorgeous tiled altar and twelve columns along with stained glass windows. The arts of tiling and painting in shabestans, and beautiful decorations of Mihrab have extraordinary beauty. The harmony among columns, fantastic geometric patterns, the play of light and colors, and the splendid Muqarnas all dazzle the eyes of visitors and photographers. The mosque has great elements of traditional architecture such as a central fountain, an iwan, panj kāseh-i (five concaves), faience, and plaster-works.

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The magnificent use of pink color in Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque has been inscribed as one of the national heritage sites of Iran and it annually attracts many travelers to Iran. The best time to visit the mosque is early in the morning and about 8 to 9 am. This is the best time to see the light passing through the stained glass windows and making kaleidoscopic space that amuses travelers, photographers, and worshipers. The interesting point is that Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is still used for worship. Today this glorious mosque is under protection by Nasir al-Mulk’s Endowment Foundation.

Saadi, the Nice Persian Poet of All Time

Saadi Shirazi- the nom the plume for Abu-Mohammad Muslih al-Din Shirazi- the great Persian poet of all time, was born in Shiraz in the 13th century. He is one of the most influential Persian poets in the medieval period admired for his artistry in expressing deepest moral and social thoughts in the simplest words for all ages. He is well-known as “Master of speech” among Persian scholars and one of the best poets of the classical Persian literature. His two outstanding literary masterpieces are Golestan (or Gulistan) and Bustan.

The exact date of his birth is not known. According to his qasida poems, he left home to explore the world in 1225, contemporary to the invasion of Mongols to Fars. In Golestan, composed in 1258, he addresses himself as a person who has lived 50 years but he is still naïve and does not know much about life.

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The tomb of Saadi in Shiraz

After leaving Shiraz, he went to the Nezamiyeh University in Baghdad and studied Islamic sciences, theology, law, history, and Arabic literature. He traveled to different countries such as Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq for thirty years. He also visited Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina. He wrote about his travels and adventurous life in both Bustan and Golestan. Joining a group of Sufis who fought against the Crusaders in Halab, the Master of Speech is said to have been captured by Crusaders at Acre and held captive there for seven years. But like many of his other stories such as traveling to India and Central Asia, it cannot be confirmed and is considered highly suspected. But with no doubt, he lived much of his life as a wandering dervish.

Saadi was a man of learning and traveling. Mingling with a diverse group of people from intellectuals, merchants, preachers, farmers, ordinary people and the survivors of the Mongol invasion to Sufi dervishes and even the thieves in remote areas far from the invaded regions, he did his best to study the society and to preach and advise people to gravitate to the wisdom and morality. He finally came back to Shiraz before 1257 CE in his late forties and it was the time that he finished the composition of his masterpiece called Bustan. Apparently, he spent the rest of his life in his birthplace Shiraz and was greatly respected by the ruler and people. He passed away between 1291 and 1294 in Shiraz. He has been titled as Sheikh because of his great knowledge.

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Bustan

His best-known work Bustan was completed in 1257. Bustan is quite in verse. It includes 183 stories in ten chapters about the virtues such as justice, kindness, love, modesty, liberality, generosity, satisfaction and happiness, and the ecstatic practices of dervishes addressing all people to have a better and happier life. It was called Saadi Nameh in older versions. It contains about 4000 verses.

Golestan (or Gulistan)

His masterpiece Golestan was completed in 1258, a year after composing Bustan. It is mainly composed in prose. It includes 8 chapters mainly about the kings’ morality, the dervishes’ behavior, benefits of contentment, silence and talking in proper time, love and youthfulness, weakness in old age, and education. Interspersed among the stories are short poems. It is one of the most effective books in prose in Persian literature. Saadi attempts to advise people to live freely and to improve the quality of their lives in Golestan. It contains different anecdotes, pieces of advice, and quotations. It can show the cultural and social conditions of the society at the time of Saadi very well. Some characters and stories are real and some are fictional. It is one of the first Persian books made by print machine in 1824 in Tabriz.

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Golestan, the masterpiece of Saadi Shirazi

Saadi’s other works include Ghazals (love poems or Lyrics; sonnets), qasidas (longer mono-rhyme poems or Odes), quatrains and short pieces in prose in both Persian and Arabic. He is known as one of the greatest ghazal-writers of Persian poetry besides Hafiz. Many scholars believe the best ghazals are Saadi’s and Hafiz’s. Saadi has about 700 ghazals mostly with the essence of love, and some about mysticism sermons. He uses irony in his works to represent and criticize the deficiencies and corruptions in the society of his time.

Saadi’s ghazals are collected in four groups: Old Sonnets (written in his youth); Tayebat and Badaye (written in his middle age); and Khavateem (written in his old days). It is believed by many experts that Saadi’s Old Sonnets are about earthy love while his Khavateem is mostly about mystical love as well as ethics and piety. According to this dichotomy, they guess Saadi practically passed the earthy love to the mystical love during the different stages of his life.

Saadi elaborately distinguishes between the spiritual and the mundane aspects of life in his works. He tries to visualize the deepest meanings of life in the most tangible contexts and close to conversational language as far as possible in such a way that even common people can get the most out of his writings. Saadi’s writing style is called Saj’ in Persian and Arabic and it is a kind of prose characterized by rhythm as well as rhyme. In fact, this artistic style of writing reaches its peak in Saadi’s Golestan. His prose style is described as simple but impossible to imitate.

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The tomb of Saadi Shirazi

Saadi’s writing style undoubtedly has had a great effect on the Persian language as well as many great poets at his time and after him. There is a surprising similarity between his language and modern Persian. After about 8 centuries, his works are still easy to understand and admirable in different languages. Many of the Persian proverbs have been taken from his works. Some are literally translated as “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, “what can you expect from a hog but a grunt?”, and “Haste makes waste.”

Among the well-known western poets who translated Saadi’s works are Goethe and Andre du Ryer- the first European who presented Saadi to the west for the first time in 1634. Golestan was translated into Latin in 1651. The first complete translation of Golestan in English was done by Sir Richard Francis Burton.

In one of Saadi’s most well-known immortal poetries, he considers all humans as different parts of a whole body, regardless of social barriers and races:

Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,

Other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain,

The name of human you cannot retain.

This poem conveys such a deep humane universal concept that is printed on the ten-thousand-Rial bill to remind everyone of the love and peace in everyday life.

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Saadi’s poem printed on the ten-thousand-Rial bill

His mausoleum, also called Saadieh, in Shiraz is one of the major tourist attractions. It is located in a beautiful garden beside Delgosha Garden (dating back to Sassanid era). The tomb was built in the 13th century. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the 17th century. The present-day building was built during the years of 1950 and 1952. It was inspired by Chehel Sotoun and built by the architect Mohsen Foroughi. Many Persian elements have been used in its architecture. It is also a National Heritage Site. It is visited annually by thousands of visitors who respect him and adore the eloquence in his works. Most of the tours to Iran include Saadieh in their itineraries while visiting Shiraz during their travel to Iran. To commemorate Saadi, 21 March is celebrated as the National Day of Saadi in Iran every year.

Hafez, the good Persian poet of the 14th century

City of Shiraz known as the city of love, poetry, and civilization embraces many tourist attractions. Shiraz has many fascinating sites that attract many tourists and travelers. Eram garden, the picturesque Persian Garden with its lovely cherry blossoms and colorful flowers; Nasir-al-Molk mosque, the great pink mosque that creates a mesmerizing reflection of colors; Saadieh, the mausoleum of the great 13th-century poet Saadi; and Mausoleum of Hafez, the great Persian poet of the 14th century are great attractions located in Shiraz. Travel to Iran, visit Shiraz, and enjoy its many tourist attractions especially tomb of Hafez.
Tomb of Hafez is one of the cultural attractions of Shiraz visited and admired by many Iranians and tourists. It belongs to Hafez, the great Persian poet of 14th century. He was a Sufi Muslim respected and loved for his perfect personality and art of poetry.

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Tomb of Hafez is one of the cultural attractions of Shiraz

Khwāja Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz-e-Shirazi is the 14th-century poet of Iran born, lived and died in Shiraz during the time Iran was ruled by the Ilkhanate. He is one of the most beloved poets among Persians. Since he had memorized Quran at an early age, people addressed him as Hafez meaning memorizer and later, “Hafez” got his pen name. He is one of the literary wonders of the world whose poems have been translated into different languages and whose art of poetry has been appreciated by many knowledgeable figures. Hafez mingles his poems especially ghazals-sonnets- with the essence of love and joy, teaches how to live a better life, and disgraces religious hypocrisy. To commemorate Hafez, October 12 is annually celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.

Hafez has influenced many writers and philosophers. His work translated into English by William Jones in 1771 influenced Western writers and philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe. Emerson described Hafez as a brave and thoughtful person who feared nothing. He had wished to see Hafez or to be more like him. To appreciate Hafez, Emerson declared” Hafez is the poet for poets”. Goethe had also admired Hafez and believed that Hafez had no peer.

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Hafez’s ghazals target different concepts of human life; however, love is the concept one would find ever in his poems and maybe that is why his verses are still popular among people. Hafez lived during the Ilkhanid period and it was a tough time for people to express themselves or criticize the situation. As a result, He took advantage of an elaborate figurative language to express himself. In a situation that nobody dared to violate the ruling system, Hafez tactfully put his words in the language of poetry to criticize the religious hypocrisy and ruling system of the time through his ironic tone called “Rendy” in Persian. Hafez is known as the master of Persian ghazals. Divan-e-Hafez-the collection of his works- as a great example of Persian literature is found in homes of Persian speaking people around the world. Iranians believe that Quran and Divan-e-Hafez are two books that should be found in every Iranian home.  People still learn some of his poems by heart and use them as sayings in everyday life. Performing fal-e-Hafez (Hafez reading) is also an ancient tradition among Persian speakers. It is an entertaining part of different ceremonies such as Shab-e-Yalda or Iranian New Year. Some believe that Hafez would give them a piece of advice about their lives through fal-e-Hafez.

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One can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of tomb of Hafez

Hafez died in 1389 and was buried in the graveyard of Shiraz. He had a high position in people’s mind and maybe that is why all the governments ruling Shiraz paid attention to his tomb and tried to honor him in different ways. However, it was during Karim Khan Zand dynasty that a mausoleum was built to honor Hafez. Moreover, the marble stone was provided for his tomb and it was engraved with a long verse from Hafez. In 1935, the French architect- Andre Godard- was assigned to re-plan and expand the garden and make it more beautiful to attract many visitors. Therefore, more gardens surrounding the tomb were connected to the mausoleum to create more space. Regarding his design, Hafez’s tomb was elevated up to one meter above the ground level and it was reached by five circling steps. Moreover, an octagonal pavilion supported by eight stone columns holding a tiled copper dome in the shape of a dervish’s hat was constructed surrounding the marble tombstone.  Iranians love Hafez and they usually gather at the garden to visit his tomb, pray for his peace and tranquility, and perform fal-e-Hafez.

Tomb of Hafez with its splendid dome-like monument, the surrounding gardens with pleasant paths, streams, and fragrant orange trees, and the memorials to other famous figures all together make Hafezieh an attractive tourist attraction located in Shiraz. If you would like to travel to Iran, do not miss Shiraz and its many attractions especially Hafezieh.

Naqsh-e Rustam the Historic Necropolis of Robust Persian Kings

Naqsh-e Rustam, the Ancient Necropolis of Powerful Persian Kings

Naqsh-e Rustam is an ancient necropolis situated northwest of Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Naqsh-e Rustam (Naqsh-e Rostam) is an impressive reminder of once glorious Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550–330 BC) and it stands as a magnificent manifestation of ancient Persian art. Naqsh-e Rustam is the house for the immense rock tombs cut high into the cliff. The rock tombs belong to four Achaemenian kings. The ancient tombs attracted Sasanian kings as well. They wished to imitate the glory of the Achaemenian kings; maybe that is why they created huge reliefs besides the tombs. The immense rock reliefs mainly depict the investiture scenes and the equestrian fights of the Sasanian kings. However, the history of Naqsh-e Rustam is not limited to  the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. There is evidence that the site exists from the Elamite period.  An ancient rock relief dating back to Elamite period indicates that Naqsh-e Rustam had been a sacred place during the ancient times. That might be the reason Darius I ordered to carve his monumental tomb into the cliff at the foot of Mt. Hosain (Huseyn Kuh). His rock tomb is famous for its two inscriptions known as the king’s autobiography. The inscriptions indicate that Darius the Great had been the king who ruled according to justice. Travel to Iran and enjoy visiting so many great cultural attractions especially the great ones registered on UNESCO World Heritage List or waiting to be registered. Pasargadae, Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rajab that lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rustam, and Naqsh-e Rustam, the ancient necropolis of the powerful Persian kings are the best cultural attractions of Iran located in Shiraz, Fars province,.

Achaemenid Tombs

Naqsh-e- Rustam houses four rock tombs carved out of rock face. Since the façades of the four Achaemenian tombs look like Persian crosses- chalipa- some call it Persian Crosses as well. The entrance to each tomb is located at the center of the cross and it leads to a small chamber where the king’s body lay in a sarcophagus. It is not clear whether the bodies were directly put into the sarcophaguses or the bodies were exposed to a tower of silence, and then the bones were put there. What is certain is that the tombs were closed after the burial, but the doors were smashed and the tombs were looted after the invasion of Alexander the Great in the 4th BC.

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Darius I standing on a platform in front of an altar and the winged figure of Ahuramazda

Ka’ba-ye Zartosht 

In front of the rock tombs, there is a square tower known as the Ka’ba-ye Zartosht that means the Cube of Zoroaster (Ka’ba is the famous monument as a holy site for Muslims located in Mecca). The structure of the building is a copy of a sister building at Pasargadae known as the Prison of Solomon; however, this building is a few decades older than Ka’ba-ye Zartosht. On the wall of the tower, there is an inscription in three languages from Sasanian time and it is considered as one of the most important inscriptions of that period. It is not obvious what the purpose of the building had been. It might have been a library for the holy books, a place to keep the holy fire, or maybe a treasury.

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Ka’ba-ye Zartosht in front of the rock tombs at Naqsh-e Rustam

According to Persepolis fortification tablets, there must have been trees at Necropolis that apparently it refers to Naqsh-e Rustam. The experts believe that there must have been three lines of trees in the area between the tower and the tombs; however, it has been a long time since the trees have disappeared.

Sassanid Reliefs

Besides the tombs, there are seven over-sized stone reliefs dating from the 3rd century AD.  The huge rock reliefs mainly belong to the Sassanid period and they depict scenes of imperial conquests and royal ceremonies. What is amazing about the reliefs is that they indicate details of events carved in the heart of rough rocks. Therefore, they can give the visitors a visual insight into the spirits of the ancient times.

The most famous rock relief at Naqsh-e Rustam belongs to the Sasanian king Shapur I. The relief depicts his victory over two Roman emperors; Valerian and Philip the Arab. Shapur I is on the horseback, while Valerian is bowing to him and Philip the Arab is holding Shapur’s horse.

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Shapur I celebrates his victory over two Roman emperors; Valerian and Philip the Arab

The investiture relief of Ardashir I as the founder of the Sassanid Empire is also depicted. The relief indicates Ohrmazd giving Ardeshir the ring of kingship. The inscription also has the oldest use of the term “Iran”.

There are also the equestrian reliefs such as equestrian relief of Hormizd II at Naghsh-e Rustam. The relief depicts Hormozid and above the relief, one would see a badly damaged relief that apparently is depicting Shapur II with his courtiers.

The relief of Bahram II depicts the king with an oversized sword. On the left, five figures stand and they seem to be the members of the king’s family. On the right, three courtiers stand and one of them is apparently Kartir- a highly prominent Zoroastrian priest.

The Oldest Relief at Naqsh-e Rustam

The oldest relief at Naqsh-e Rustam dates back to approximately 1000 BC and it dates back to the Elamite period. Though the relief is severely damaged, it depicts a faint image of a man with an unusual head-gear. He is thought to be an Elamite one.

Why Is It Called Naqsh-e Rustam?

Sassanid reliefs mainly depict equestrian fights or investiture scenes. Since the equestrian fights of the Sasanian kings represent the tales of chivalry, locals believed that the man depicted on reliefs was Rustam, the hero of Shahnameh. The epic of Shahnameh is the masterpiece of Ferdowsi, the great Iranian poet of the 10th and 11th the century. Therefore, the site is called Naqsh-e Rustam (meaning the carvings of Rustam); because the locals believed that the carved man on the reliefs was their epic hero” Rustam”.

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Locals believed that the carved man on the reliefs was their epic hero” Rustam”

Vakil Bazaar

Shiraz is known as the city of poetry, passion and love; it’s like an old quilt composed of pieces with various patterns and designs. Shiraz’s is a journey to innumerable attractions visiting all of which takes days. Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rustam, gardens such as Delgosha, Afifabad, Narenjestan-e Ghavam and Eram, Hafiz and Saadi’s tombs, Citadel of Karim Khan, Nasir-ul Molk Mosque and Vakil Mosque and Bathhouse are only a few of the attractions of this beautiful city. Vakil Bazaar, however, is the beating heart of this city, its main economic center. It has been said that when Karim Khan Zand– the just king of the Zand Dynasty who was Vakil-al Ra’aya (Deputy of the People) observes the Gheysaryieh Bazaar of Lar City, he decides to build a similar bazaar in the heart of Shiraz, capital of Iran at the time, hence the name of the beautiful Vakil Bazaar. Situated at the center of the city, the bazaar still accommodates some part of the city’s business activities and its corridors and galleries are still bustling with buyers and sellers.

The scent of spices, colors of textiles, and the magical patterns of carpets and rugs in the bazaar take you back to the past. Walking around the corridors and galleries of the bazaar is a pleasing excursion. You can close your eyes and be enraptured with the music and delightful ambiance of this old bazaar.

Vakil Bazaar is one of the most charming bazaars of Iran made of an intersection with a domed arch and four bazaars perpendicular to each other. The bazaars of drapers, wholesalers, saddlers, and silk sellers make up the main sections of Vakil Bazaar. The corridors of this bazaar are made of three parts: a passageway for customers, the frontage of the shop which is generally two steps above the ground and the shop itself as the selling space. The materials used in constructing the bazaar include plaster, brick and lime and some of the arches are embellished with medallion designs. In addition, several caravanserais such as Roghani, Ahmadi and Gomork were built later and added to Vakil Bazaar complex. Don’t miss Shiraz’s springtime afternoons; walking the streets and gardens of Shiraz at sunset and when the fragrance of bitter oranges fill the air will the best moments of your trip to the city of poetry and passion. Working hours of the bazaar are between 9 AM and 5 PM, but in Spring it is usually open until midnight. You may buy some of your souvenirs and mementos from this bazaar: masghati, various distillates, lime juice and Yukhe sweets are some of Shiraz’s souvenirs. While in the bazaar, don’t forget to eat Shiraz’s fallodeh with lime juice and sour cherry juice. There is also an old restaurant by the bazaar where you may try local Shirazi cuisine including Kalam Polo (Rice and Cabbage) with Shirazi Salad, Aloolapolo (Plum-in-rice) and Dopiazeh aloo (Potatoes and onions).

The Persian Garden

Diversity of designs and exclusive architectural styles in Persian gardens symbolizes the image of Eden with four Zoroastrian elements of sky, earth, water and plants. Persian garden with three certain features and an exclusive design is globally well-known as outstanding example of Persian culture: (1) located along the water stream; (2) surrounded by high walls; and (3) contained a summer edifice and a pool of water.

Nine Persian garden registered in UNESCO include: Pasargade garden in Shiraz as the mother of Persian gardens, built in 6th century BC, and related to Cyrus the great; Eram garden of Shiraz , built in Seljuk era with a Qajar edifice; Chehel  Sotun garden of Isfahan, The royal garden, Safavid period; Fin garden of Kashan, Safavid era; Mahan garden of Kerman, late Qajar era; Akbarieh garden of Birjand , late Zandieh and early Qajar era; Dolat Abad garden of Yazd,  late Afsharid dynasty; Pahlevan pour garden of Mehriz, late Qajar dynasty; Abbas Abad garden, Safavid era.

Vakil Bath

Vakil bath is the most famous Bath in Shiraz which is one of the Karim Khan Zand monuments built by his order in the Shah Square neighborhood, next to the Vakil Mosque and its infrastructure is about 8660 meters, 120 meters long and 80 meters wide, in 1187 AH.

This large bathroom has the most advanced principles of Zand’s architecture. One of the interesting parts in this bathroom is a special place named “Shahneshin” that was special to Kings.

The other space of bathroom includes a cloakroom, a warm home and Khazine (a place for collecting the water). (Sarbine) cloakroom with colored octagon shape and eight columns, keeps the ceiling dome of this bathroom.

The lime designs which attract the viewer are the symbol of the prophet, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and Zolfaqar, Shirin and Farhad’s visit, Bijan and Manijeh’s visit painted on the roof.

Vakil Bath has been repurposed as a restaurant and later as the museum of ethnography to identify the culture and traditions of people in Shiraz.

Eram Garden

As one travels to Shiraz during the spring, where the air is permeated with the scent of orange blossoms, they can look more closely into the source of inspiration for a lot of great Iranian poets who inhabited the region, the likes of Hafez and Saadi. Although it’s quite hot and the weather condition is utterly extreme in the area, Shiraz is replete with marvellous gardens, beautifully designed through centuries, Jahan-nama, Delgosha, Afif-abad and Eram gardens are just a few to mention.

Bagh-e-Eram, literally translates to Paradise Garden, is one of the nine UNESCO inscribed cultural heritage sites as Iran’s Persian Gardens. Due to the torrid climate conditions in Iran, these Gardens are the result of an inspired intelligence which has been able to make the most of different fields of knowledge, including water management, engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture. All the more, the idea of the Persian Gardens, as an earthly paradise, colours the Iranian common and artistic expressions within various fields, such as literature, music, poetry, calligraphy and carpet design, which, in turn, have aesthetically inspired the arrangement of the Gardens.

Eram Garden is located in the north of Shiraz on the northern shore of Khoshk River. Date of its foundation is not clear, but it was certainly developed during Seljuqi period, and was further established during Zand period in the 18th century. It was, then, sold to one of the chiefs of a Qashqai tribe, who built the original mansion and ordered the plantation of different species of flora and trees. During Qajar period it was sold to Nasir-ol-molk, who founded the present pavilion, which was eventually finished by his son after his death. Currently, the garden and the building are within Shiraz botanical garden, protected by Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization, and open to public as a historical landscape.

Similar to other Persian Gardens, Eram Garden was designed in four sections with precise geometrically proportionate measurements, in order to provide the irrigation and other necessary conditions, namely shadow areas for specific plants, to be able to grow this diverse range of vegetation, consisting of variety of roses, tulips and puppies, fruit trees such as pomegranate, quince, apple and pear, evergreen trees, pines and quite remarkable among all, the tallest cypress in Shiraz, known as Sarv-e-Naz. At present the previously mentioned pavilion is in the centre of the garden, an example of early Qajar architecture, a three-storey building with a basement within which a narrow flow of water used to make the summer afternoons less unbearable. On the second floor there is a veranda supported by two tall pillars of the Achaemenid architecture style and two rooms on each side, all looking directly over the beautifully paved pathway with towering trees on both sides. The face of the building contains different sorts of tiling, among which the three crescent shaped inscriptions and paintings on the top are of great significance.

Shah Cheragh

Shah Cheragh is a famous holy shrine of Imam Mousa Kazem’s (7th Shia Imam) son, Mir Seyed Ahmad, who is the brother of Imam Reza (peace be upon him), many Shias go to Shiraz for pilgrimage this place and it is one of the most significant sights of this city.

The first building of Shah Cheragh holy shrine antiquity dated back to Azdodole Deilami who was one of the Ale Boye kings and the new buildings repaired and linked to the main courtyard was established in Fars Atabakan, Shah Ismaeil Safavi and Nader Shah Afshar periods. Two main gates are in south and north of holy shrine decorated by 2 big tiled entrances and linked to the vast courtyard of the shrine. The Shah Cheragh holy shrine is located in the west of the courtyard and his brother’s shrine is located in the northeastern of this place.

The beauty of this building is increased by use of small colored mirrors, tiling, Persian and Arabic hand-writings in the shrine. There are some rooms decorated with mosaic tiling around the yard. Iron columns of the shrine decorated with exquisite wood, a large integrated flat roof inlaid with wood and marble pulpit sculpted are the other beauties of this building.