Apart from being one of the main touristy cities of Iran due to the large number of its cultural, historical, natural and pilgrimage highlights, Shiraz is a totally different city based on what Iranian and non-Iranian travelers have seen. Those who travel to Shiraz experience a completely different atmosphere upon their arrival; hospitable people that are ready to invite guests to their home with open arms, happy and always “ready for picnic” (Avid picnickers). Also, it is a must-see city for the following:
- Shiraz is the Motherland of the most famous Iranian poets such as Hafez and Saadi and so is considered as the cultural capital of Iran, The City of Poets and Literature, Roses and Nightingales and beautiful gardens.
- It has a long history dating back to Achaemenian Dynasty and is the home to the most important historical attractions of the world i.e. Persepolis and Pasargadae.
Pasargadae: The writer of the world’s first human rights is resting here in Pasargadae.
Cyrus the great was the first king of ancient Persia that conquered several lands. He believed in justice and freed the slaves after his battles and never forced people to have a specific religion. He established racial equality and recorded his decrees on a baked-clay cylinder that till now has been translated to 6 languages and is considered as the first human rights charter. Pasargadae is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2004 .
Persepolis: Takht-e-jamshid or Parseh is the name of an ancient city in Iran that had been the summer ceremonial capital of Achaemenids especially “Nowruz”. Building of Persepolis was begun by Darius the great (Darius I) in 518BC and completed around 120 years later. It is one of the most important and splendid Achaemenian complexes in Iran and also in the world. Parsa or Parseh means the city of Persians and Persepolis is a Greek name that comes from Perses Polis. It was invaded by Alexander in 330 BC and he destroyed several palaces and buildings. But what has remained is still glorious and worth visiting. Persepolis was inscribed in 1979 as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Zandieh Complex: Karim Khan Zand is the founder of Zandieh Dynasty and the ruler of Iran during 1751 to 1779. He selected shiraz as the capital of Iran and because of this several buildings were constructed in shiraz during his time. Zandieh complex is one of these structures that is very important in both Architecture and art aspects. It is composed of Karim Khan Castle, Mosque, Bath and Bazaar.
Hafez: Many know Hafez as one of the most popular Iranian poets who had an important role in Persian literature. But Hafez isn’t just a poet. He has a special status in Iranian culture and Iranians have a lot of respect for him and his poetry, to the extent that it comes right after Quran. His book (Divan-e- Hafez) is one of the most respected books. They read his poems all the time especially during specific occasions such as” Nowruz or “Yalda nigh” since they believe he knows their fortune. They open his Divan to a random page and read the poem on that page and consider it the answer of their questions about the future. It is called “Tafaol ” or “Fal-e-hafez”. Because of this, his tomb is a special place with a spiritual atmosphere that surely will provide all its visitors unforgettable moments.
Saadi: Another Tomb full of Life and literature belongs to Saadi, the great Persian poet. He is famous for his high quality writings and also deep social thoughts. He had an important role in development of the Persian language. He is also famous as the poet of love and Lyricism. Gulistan and Bostan(Bustan) are the name of his books that have a worldwide reputation.
Eram Garden : There are several gardens in shiraz such as Jahan Nama, Delgosha, Afif Abad that each has its own beautiful sites. Eram garden is one of the Persian gardens listed in UNESCO world heritage site since 2011. It is both a historical and botanical garden with a beautiful building in the middle of it, towering cypress trees, aromatic plants and flowers and refreshing air especially during the spring.
Shah-e-cheragh Shrine: Although many people think these shrines belong only to Muslims, the supersensible and calm area of this holy shrine is open to all and without doubt it is worth spending some time there to leave our daily lives and think about “who are we?” and “where are we going?” People who have visited this holy site have often referred to it as “The King of Light.” This is the mausoleum of Imam Reza’a oldest brother and the son of seventh Shia Imam.
Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque: When it is seen from outside it seems like an ordinary mosque, the same as any other mosque that you may see in Iran. But as soon as you step into it, you will notice that it is totally different. A mosque full of astonishing whirling colors especially after the sun rises. In fact, the doors of mosque are decorated with traditional stained glass windows that when the sun light passes through them and reflect on the ground, walls and arches, they make a beautiful spectrum of colors exactly like rainbow. Because of this, people call this mosque “The Pink Mosque”, “The Mosque of Colors”, “The Rainbow Mosque” and etc., but its real name is Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque .