With no doubt, every person interested in travel and tourism has heard about the fame and beauty of Shiraz, the heartland of Persian Culture. Shiraz has always been the reminder of culture, education, poetry, cedars, blossoms and beauty. This city has been the cultural center of Iran for more than 2000 years.
Shiraz is a must-see city with plenty of historical, cultural, natural architectural and religious attractions for tourists with several splendid gardens.
The oldest discovered document with the world “Shiraz” on it was a clay tablet dated back to Elamite period, about 2000 BC. The word “Tirazis” has been the oldest name for the city of Shiraz.
Because of its poets and rulers, Shiraz was a prosperous and important city of world of Islam, during 13th and 14th century comparable to Baghdad.
Karim Khan, the first wise ruler of Zand dynasty, established Shiraz as his capital in 1750. He was determined to prosper this city as a decent capital and he built a royal complex. But it didn’t last long. After death of Karim Khan, the Qajars, his old rivals, invaded Shiraz and made destructions and established Tehran as their capital.
Shiraz is the 6th most populated city of Iran and is located in the southwest of Iran. Shiraz has a moderate climate with hot weather in summer and cold in winter. The average temperature is 38.8 °C in summer and 5 °C in winter.
The official language of Shiraz, like the rest of the country, is modern Persian but with Shirazi sweet accent. Tourists are always surprised with hospitality and cordiality of people in Shiraz.
The word Persepolis is derived from Ancient Greek meaning “the Persian City” or “the city of Persians”, but the people of Persia called this city “Parseh”.
Persepolis is located in 60 kilometers northeast of Shiraz. It is registered in list of the World’s heritage by UNESCO.
Persepolis was constructed under the command of Dariush I, its construction was continued by his son, Xerexes, and his following kings. Findings show that the construction of Persepolis has never ended, and the site has been ruined and burnt into fire by Alexander the Great, before its construction completed. Persepolis construction has started in about 515 BC. The site is the symbol of architectural style of Achaemenid dynasty.
Persepolis is built on a 125000 square meters terrace. It is located on the foot of mountain Rahmat that apparently had been considered as a holly mountain. The main material used in construction of Persepolis is gray limestone.
Apadana is believed to be the oldest palace built in Persepolis under the command of Dariush I.
Some Archeologists believe that Persepolis has never been a place for living. It is said that Achaemenid rulers did have 4 capitals, for the four season of the year; Babylon, Susa, Hegmataneh and Parseh (known as Persepolis), which has apparently been the most important center of Persian Empire.
Vakil is indeed the title Karim Khan-e Zand, the founder of Zand dynast chose for himself. He established Shiraz as his Capital. He was determined to prosper Shiraz. He built a royal complex. There are many heritages of Zand dynasty in Shiraz which are called Vakil.
Vakil Bazaar is constructed in 11th century under the command of Karim Khan, after he visited Qeysariye Bazaar of Laar. The design and architecture are the same, but Vakil Bazaar is wider. The construction of Vakil Bazaar took 21 years to finish. It has two north-south and west-east passages that cross each other and has 5 separate entrances.
The main materials used in construction of Vakil Bazaar are Brick, Lime and plaster.
One interesting fact about the architecture art of this bazaar is that the ceiling is designed in a way that it keeps the bazaar cool in summer and warm in winter.
This bazaar is located near Karim Khan Mosque and it is one of the most famous traditional bazaars of Iran. One of the points about this historical site is that local people do their shopping there and you can see the real life of people in it.
This place is today popular as a trading center for hand-made souvenirs such as carpets, traditional clothes; jewelry and antiques. Vakil Bazaar is also a good place to buy Persian spices and herbals.
Vakil Bath is located in center of Shiraz, near the rest of Zand monuments. This bath has one of the most complicated architecture designs of its period. Today, this bath is visited by travelers as a museum.it is built on an 11000 square meters land.
Modern issues of architecture are considered in construction of Vakil bath, for instance it has a small entrance, and there is a slope in corridors to prevent cold air enters the bath. The floor is warmed by the passage of warm water in narrow tunnels under the ground.
Vakil Mosque is located in the west side of the Vakil bazaar and is constructed by the command of Karim khan Zand. This mosque like all other mosques of Iran is a holy place for prayers. The environment of this mosque is about 8000 square meters. The hall of this mosque is unique for its vastness. The architecture is so artistic, court and the two ivans (porches) are designed with muqarnas and seven colored tiles (seven colored tiles are one of the arts of Shiraz for the latter half of 18th century).
Arg-e Karim Khan is a citadel, and is a part of Karim Khan Complex. This citadel has a multifunctional design, a mixture of military and residential architecture. For construction of this citadel, best artists and architects even from outside Shiraz were gathered and the best materials from out of Iran were provided. The construction finished in a short term. Karim Khan used this citadel as his living quarters, but after that in Qajar dynasty, it was used as the governor’s seating. After fall of Qajar dynasty, Arg-e Karim Khan was used as a prison.
During Qajar dynasty, some paintings and ornaments were added to the citadel, but after it was changed into a prison, the paintings were plastered.
Recently Arg-e Karim Khan is changed into a museum.
Nasir al Mulk is one of other tourist attractions of Shiraz which is so popular for its breathtaking colorful environment.
Nasir al Mulk mosque is built under the command of Mirza Hassan Ali titled as Nasir al Mulk, who was one of Nobel figures of Shiraz. Construction of Nasir al Mulk dates back to 19th century. Its construction has been completed in 12 years.
The harmony of colorful wall tiles and ceilings along with the technique of applying stained glass windows are designed in a manner that the shining of the morning sun through them creates a wonderland of colors. If you walk into its hall in the morning time you may feel that you have arrived to a rainbow and a part of heaven. This mosque is also known as “the pink mosque”. The architecture is a mixture of Islamic and modern styles. There are two northern and southern loggias in this mosque; one of them has two minarets. This monument is a beautiful eye-catching site to visit for art lovers, photographers, architectures and whoever seeks a holy relaxing place.
Khaje Shamseddin Mohammad, known by his pen name, Hafiz, is one of the popular poets of the land of Persia. He was born in the 14th century. He was born, grew up and died in Shiraz.
The name Hafiz comes from this story that he had known the holy Quran or its interpretation in 14 different ways. Hafiz’s ghazals are translated and published in many different languages and impressed many belletrists such as Goethe. Goethe himself has declared that he has inspired by Hafiz.
About 65 years after Hafiz’s death, the governor of Fars ordered the construction of a dome-like structure over the Hafiz’s grave and a pool in front of it which was filled with Rokn Abad water (Hafiz has mentioned Rokn Abad water in his poets and it seems that he had special feelings for it). The structure was later reconstructed by different governors of Fars. His tombstone is built and carved under the command of Karim Khan Zand.
In 1935 the current model, which was designed by a French architect inspired by Zand era architecture, was implemented by Iranian architects.
Below is the list of historical and natural sites of Fars Province, especially Shiraz. We list them merely for your knowledge. Surfing Persia selects the most important and outstanding ones and manages to cover them in its itinerary. However, if there is a site which you insist on visiting but not included in your tour, please let us know. We will consider adding this item to your tour or replacing it with another site included in your itinerary.
Kalam polo(the mixture of rice and cabbage with special aromatic/fragrent vegetables and small meat balls)
Faloodeh Shirazi, a semi frozen dessert with lime juice that gives you a refreshing feeling
Shirazi ice cream
Nan Fasaei (cookie)
Khatam (Inlaid work)
Jajim and Glim (Rugs)