Best Places in Shiraz
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Words cannot express the beauty and elegance of the city of Shiraz, one of the cultural centers of Iran with its spectacular architecture. It is known as the city of nightingales and roses, the city of gardens and flowers, and the city of poetry. Shiraz with its peaceful and pleasant atmosphere, is the original land of Persia and the cradle of the greatest Persian Empires.
Let’s have a brief look at the tourist spots in the city of Shiraz that are definitely worth visiting at least once on your trip to Iran.
Shiraz Heritage, Shah Cheragh Shrine
There are many splendid Islamic monuments in Shiraz, especially those from the safavid era, but the most notable religious site is the Shrine named Shah Cheragh, which means “King of the Light” and is the tomb of Imam Reza’s brother who died in the 8th century.
The interior walls are splendidly decorated with dazzling mirror-work and the walls outside are covered with delicate blue tiles. It has a rosebud shaped dome, typically from Shiraz, surrounded by two short golden minarets.
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Shiraz Heritage, Nasir-ol Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque)
Known as the jewel of Shiraz, this unique delicate mosque was built in Qajar era by Nasir al-Mulk. It is one of the most elegant and most photographed piece of architecture with colored windows which create extraordinary reflections on the walls and carpets of the prayer hall when sun rises early in the morning. Its fine colored tiles and its pink, floral patterns are typical from Shiraz.
Nasir-ol Molk Mosque was built under the orders of Qajar dynasty at the end of the 19th century, which has preserved its true spiritual atmosphere and is a highly-visited tourist spot.
Shiraz Heritage, Eram Garden
Persian Gardens are perfect examples of paradise on earth, with their rectangular form consisting of four quarters with trees, streams, a pavilion, and surrounding walls. One of the most magnificent gardens in Shiraz is Eram Garden that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built in the Qajar era, Eram Garden is famous for its tall cypress trees and roses, and the incomparable scent of its orange trees during spring. Visitors to this garden really enjoy the amazing experience of walking around its pool, visiting a stunning palace with beautiful tilework, and listening to the beautiful sound of the nightingales.
Shiraz Heritage, Tomb of Hafez
You should visit the mausoleum of one of the greatest and most beloved Persian Poets in all the times, Hafez, when you go to Shiraz on your trip to Iran. Hafez was born and died on the 14th century in Shiraz. His poetry is still known-by-heart and cherished by Iranians.
His tomb, known as ‘Hafezieh’, is located in the center of a beautiful and delicate garden. There are many tourists from across the world who come here to visit Hafezieh and read his poetries, meditate and relax. People ask for their dearest wishes and dreams by whispering them and touching the marble tomb decorated with Persian calligraphies.
Shiraz Heritage, Tomb of Saadi
As with Hafez, Saadi is a world famous Persian Poet born and died in the city of Shiraz, at the end of the 13th century. His tomb (Saadieh) with a peaceful and unique atmosphere, is a popular tourist site, especially at nights. It is located in a garden full of flowers and orange trees, with small pools and an underground fish pond. Nowadays, tourists come to throw a coin in the pond and believe that their wishes and aspirations will come true.
Shiraz Heritage, Vakil Bazaar
Vakil Bazaar, one of the most famous historical and traditional bazaars in Iran, is located in the historical center of Shiraz. This ancient bazaar was built in the 11th century, under the orders of Karim Khan Zand, the founder of the Zand Dynasty, and now it is a beautiful attraction, attracting many tourists from around the world to travel to Iran.
This bazaar was commissioned by Karim Khan Zand as part of his plan to make Shiraz a major trading center, and now this city is one of the best examples of Zand architectures. Vakil Bazaar, over 3000 square meters, is a maze of vaulted brick lanes, with its courtyards and beautiful caravanserais.
The bathhouses in this bazaar have been transformed into cafes and restaurants with their ancestral architecture. Beautiful Iranian traditional artworks of craftspeople and sellers, are offered in some of the 200 year old picturesque shops, which make this bazaar a perfect place for tourists who travel to Iran and love spending time wandering and strolling in the vaulted lanes.
Shiraz Heritage, Vakil Mosque
Vakil Mosque is next to Vakil Bazaar, which was built under the orders of Karim Khan Zand too, but it was restored in the Qajar era. This mosque is known for its beautiful tilework, with typical rose-pink tiles and floral patterns, decorating the entrance of the mosque and the inner courtyard.
The carved 48 pillars of its night prayer hall, with beautifully carved domes, as well as the impressive two iwans facing each other are the architectural masterpieces of this gorgeous mosque.
Shiraz Heritage, Vakil Bath
A part of the Vakil Complex located in Shiraz city center, is the elegant Vakil Bath which represents the delicate architecture of the Zand era. This bathhouse, currently used as a museum depicts how people of that time used the public baths. It shows that it was not only a simple bath used for washing and cleaning oneself, but it was also the main social center of the city, where people came to celebrate weddings for instance.
What is more impressive about the architecture of this bathhouse is the beautifully carved ceilings and vaults of the central chamber and the heat room. It has a unique decoration of plasterwork which can’t be found in other historic bathhouses in Iran.
Shiraz Heritage, Arg-e Karim Khan
Karim Khan Citadel is one of the iconic monuments of Shiraz, located in the city center. It is a beautiful brick building which is surrounded by four 14-meter-high round towers. This monument was built under the orders of Karim Khan Zand and was used for official ceremonies and receptions of the Zand dynasty.
The gracious courtyard of this citadel is divided by a canal with a pool at one end and there are rows of orange trees. Before being a museum, it had been also used as a prison, for a short time.
Shiraz Heritage, Narenjestan Garden
Naranjestan Garden is smaller than the Eram Garden, and is another true piece of paradise as well. It is full of bitter orange trees with their unique scent in spring. Narenjestan Garden or Qavam House was built in the Qajar era for Qavam family, a wealthy family in Shiraz. The Qavams were merchants originally from Qazvin.
What makes it so impressive is its main building, the Qavam Pavilion, which is decorated with mirrors, tilework, plasterwork, inlay, and painted ceilings. Zinat ol Molk House is the private part of the large mansion that the wealthy Qavam family built in Shiraz, the public reception area being the Naranjestan-e Qavam.
Nowadays, it is a museum displaying a valuable architectural collection gathered by the American archeologist Arthur Upham Pope. It is strongly recommended to the tourists who travel to Iran and specially the city of Shiraz, to visit this gorgeous monument.
Shiraz Heritage, The Quran Gate and Khaju Garden
This historical gate is located in the entrance of Shiraz in the north of Shiraz. It was formerly the main entrance gate of the city and one of the most famous attractions in Shiraz. Some precious hand-written Qurans were kept in a small room on the top of it.
Nowadays, People from Shiraz come here to appreciate the delicate atmosphere of the Khaju Garden and its view over the city, and the beautiful architecture of the monument.
Four Best places to Visit around the city of Shiraz
Shiraz Heritage, Qashqai Nomads
The nomadic population of Iran is classified into culturally and ethnically diverse groups and tribes with their own identity and traditions. One of the most famous and largest tribes in Iran is the Qashqai Tribe, consisting of mostly Turkic people but also Lurs, and live in the southwest of Iran, in Fars Province in particular.
This nomadic tribe live free from the modern world, in nature. In summer, Qashqai nomads move to cooler places with their families, animals and other belongings, and in winter they move to warmer places.
They are still living in their traditional lifestyle and on breeding their livestock. Living with them for a few days to feel their culture, foods, clothes, language, or music closely is a unique enjoyment most of the tourists to Iran love to experience.
Shiraz Heritage, Persepolis
Persepolis, the ancient ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, is one of main attractions for visitors to Iran. It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz.
Persepolis, named as Takht-e Jamshid in Iran, was founded by Darius I in 518 B.C. These historic ruins, as the legacy of 1500 years of history, are now one of the most glorious historical sites in the world that attracts many visitors from around the world to travel to Iran. Ruins of the great staircase leading to the Gate of All Nations and the columns of the Apadana and the ruins of the Hall of the Hundred Columns of Persepolis commemorate the glory and greatness of Achaemenid Empire.
Shiraz Heritage, Naqshe Rustam
The impressive monuments of the Necropolis of some Persian kings is located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, named as ‘Naqshe Rostam’. There are four large rock tombs belonging to the Sassanian and Achaemenian kings, the most famous ones are Darius the Great and Shapur 1st. A massive relief depicts the victory of Shapur 1st over the Roman Emperor Valerian in the Battle of Edessa.
Shiraz Heritage, Pasargadae
One of most famous landmarks of Iran is Pasargadae, the first dynastic capital of the Persian Achaemenian dynasty, where the most glorious Persian king, Cyrus the Great, is resting. This monument is located on a plain northeast of Persepolis in southwest of Iran.
Cyrus the Great started to build a city in 546 BC, the ruins of which can be seen now. Also, visitors can see Darius’s garden, an early example of Persian Garden with its sophisticated irrigation system.
If you’d like to know more about Fars province, read Iranviva articles “Top 8 beautiful gardens in Shiraz”, “Top 5 tourist attractions you will love in Shiraz” ans “Best 10 unique heritages you should visit in your Shiraz tour”
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