Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, is for sure one of the most historical cities in the world. It is rightly named the cultural capital of Iran because of its assortment of cultural and historical sites from different periods of Iran history. Historically, the 2500-year old ruins of Achaemenians, Sassanids palaces and Qajar houses can be found in and around the city. Culturally, it is home to many great poets such as world-famous Hafiz and Saadi.
In the twentieth century, the city has been known for its beautiful gardens, nice weather and fine wine. Among many other features fun-loving people, pretty girls and beautiful dance enjoy a considerable reputation.
Currently, the city has the population of around 1,300,000.
Traveling to and around the city is quite easy.
Shiraz international airport has national flight to all major cities and international flights to Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Istanbul operated both by domestic and international airliners.
Shiraz has a lot to offer but don’t miss the major tourist sites if you are staying a few days. Here are our recommendations.
Hafez (1324-1391), the great Persian lyric poet who was born in Shiraz and lived here all his lifetime was buried in this mausoleum. His global reputation for “ghazal” (lyric poem) has for centuries been praised by many poets worldwide as well as by all Persian speaking nations. The present structure resembling a Dervish’s hat built about 60 years ago by a French architect is accessed after passing a flight of columned stairs. All Persian speakers enjoy the ambiguity of his love poems with two-folded worldly and divine interpretations. A common custom popular among all visitors is called “faal”; that is randomly picking a poem from Hafez Divan which is believed to be a prediction of future. Many youth and elders still have a strong belief that the prediction will come true.
Eram garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in country is located in the northwest of the city and is famous for its of collection of trees and variety flower especially all types of roses. The garden is most beautiful in Late Farvardin (April) and attracts lots of visitors and tourists in the spring. Beside the garden itself, you shouldn’t forget the magnificent building in the middle of the garden with unmemorable and beautiful tile paintings. Each painting depicts a picture stories from Persian literature.
Commonly known as Saadi Mausoleum, this Orchard embraces Saadi (1209-1291), the other great Persian poet from Shiraz. Saadi’s extensive travels gave him a sophistication that is echoed in his admirable poetry and rhythmic prose. The books are read and enjoyed by many Persian language speakers and Persian literatures lovers across the world. This columned porch was built in the 50s on the remains of the former tombs. The combination of pink columns in contrast with the inside blue tiles is so picturesque. A number of his famous poems are written all over the blue tiles.
Vakil mosque is located downtown Shiraz on the northern side of Vakil bazaar. Masjed-e Vakil is a non-working mosque from the time of Zand Dynasty when Karim Khan Zand chose Shiraz as Iran’s capital city. The architecture of this prosperous era is best reflected in Vakil complex. The mosque with its impressive floral designs is the first building in this complex. The ceiling in Mihrab (altar) is covered with small cupolas resting on twisted columns. The northern verandah is decorated with shrubs and flowers mainly rose bushes.
Vakil bazaar was also built by Karim Khan Zand, the founder of Zand Dynasty.
The Bazaar is within a stone throw of downtown Shiraz. You have to walk through the historical area where the cars are not allowed now. The bazaar with its bricked walls and arches is a good place for buying Persian handicrafts and decorative works such as silver works, inlaid works, fine cloth, all kinds of ornaments, most important of all Persian carpet which is probably the best souvenir from Iran.
Vakil bath is the other building located next to the mosque and represents the old public bathrooms from 200 years ago. Inside, you can see the beautiful decorations on pastured walls.
Saray e Moshir
At the one of the Bazaar, you can find a cozy quiet corner with a row of shops around the yard which are full of tantalizing handicrafts, inlaid and enamel works. The place, a former caravansary is now one of best places for tourists to go window shopping, bargaining and probably buy a piece of antique.
Arg e Karim Khan
This brick castle remains from Zand dynasty and was formerly used as a prison but it has been on exhibit in recent years and it is open to tourists.
The garden itself is nice to walk through and central building now has turned to a museum which holds a collection of antique guns and weapons. The garden (also known as golshan) and the building were owned by the famous noble family of Ghavam. North to the main building, there is a bath with beautiful plaster work and wall painting showing Qajari men and women.
Shah e Cheragh
This holy shrine is the burial place of Seyyed Mir Ahmad, the brother of Imam Reza (the eight Shiite Imam). It is very much respected among the locals and other Iranian pilgrims and it is the third important shrine in the country. It attracts many visitors because of the tile work, great silver doors and mirror works inside the maseluem.
Atigh mosque is the oldest mosque in Shiraz.
The former northeast entrance to the city was a gate called Quran Gate; where big Quran (Ghoran) were kept. The road to Isfahan actually went through the gate till some years ago. According to an old Iranian-Islamic custom, passengers should pass under a Quran for a safe travel. The current highway passes beside the gate but the gate has been preserved as a touristy spot and people like to visit the place which gives access to Khajoo Kermani tomb.
Khajoo Kermani Tomb
A contemporary poet and fan of hafez is Kamal-edin Abu Ata known as Khajoo e Kermani who came to Shiraz looking for Hafez and stayed here till the end of his life. The tomb and memorial, completely renovated in recent years, is located a little up in the mountainous area next to the Quran gate. The area was known as Allah Akbar valley (gorge). People of Shiraz used to visit the place in the summer because of its cool nice weather.
Seikh Roozbehan Tomb
A tomb of one of the known Iranian mystics is located in the south-east of Shiraz. At present only a small part of this tomb has remained and the tombs of the Sheikh along with those of his sons and grand children are located within the Darb Sikh area. He is also famous for his mystic and inspiring poems.
The tomb of Sibveyh, one of the most famous scientists of his time and the author of "Alketab" is located in Sang-e-Siyah area to the north of Kazeroon Gate of Shiraz.
Nasir almolk Mosque
One of the most beautiful mosques in Shiraz mixing the European symbols with Qajari architecture
The oldest bazaar of Shiraz located next to Vakil mosque.
Bagh e Nazar (Pars Museum)
It is a beautiful garden with tall and ancient trees including a charming pavilion built by Karim Khan Zand, known as Kolah Farangi. The ceramic work on the exterior of this building is quite unique. There are paintings by well known artists of the Zand period on the walls. It was converted to a museum in 1852.
This magnificent building, built in 1881, dates back to the Qajar period. Restored in 1967 it is currently known as one of the most beautiful houses in Iran. Some very ancient objects, more than 2500 years old can be seen in this museum. The carvings and the picturesque tile work depict the ancient history of Iran.
Khane e Zinat almolook
Located next to Narenjestan and currently used as Fars history Museum
Bagh e Ilkhani
The garden (about 6,000 Sq meters) dates back to the Qajar period and belongs to Mohammad Qoli khan, a leader of Qashqaee tribe.
Masjed e Jame’ Atigh (Atiq Mosque)
The oldest mosque in Shiraz was built in the year 276 AH when Shiraz was conquered by the Safavids. It is located behind Chah Cheragh Shrine and it is quite charming because of its unique central cubic structure and beautiful tile work on the ceilings.
Qasr e Abunasr (palace)
The ruins of an edifice made of brick and stone is situated 6 kilometers east of Shiraz, on top of a hill. It has been estimated that the remains date back to the Parthian period. Takhat-e-Soleiman or the palace of Abunasr, believed to be the former location of the city, was also used by the Sasanids.
Near the Qasab Khaneh Gate there is a ruined structure known as "Abesh Khatoon", belonging to the queen of the last king of the Atabakan of Fars (the 11th son of Holakoo Khan Mongol).
Tekhye Haft Tanan
It is a beautiful edifice with seven tombs in a garden at the foot of the Chehel Maqam Mountain built by karim Khan zand.
Chehel Tanan mausoleum
Chehel Tanan Mourning Place is located to the south of Haft Tanan Blvd. and to the east of Jahan Nama Garden. The forty tombs belong to 40 mystics of Zand period.
Shah Shoja Tomb
The tomb of the most reputed monarch of the Mozafarie Dynasty, Shah Soja’ is located to the west of Tekiyeh-ye-Haft Tanan. The king was respectfully mentioned by Hafez in some poems. In 1971 a memorial was constructed on his grave.
Saint Mary Christian Church
The church is built in 1662 and situated in the Armenian sector of Shiraz. The main hall and paintings with plaster work and ornaments date back to the Safavids period.
Madrese Khan (school)
Shah Mir Ali Hamze
Khane Forogh al molk
Bagh e Takht (Qajari throne)
Bagh e Neshat
Agha baba khan school
Barm e Delak recreation site
Haft Barm recreation site