Shiraz is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Iran and is definitely a must-see destination when planning an itinerary. Fifth city in the country for extension, former capital, Shiraz is located on the foothills of Zagros mountains and has a pleasant climate, with short winters and long hot summers.
Are you about to leave for Iran? Here is some advice on how to plan your stay in Shiraz.
- 10 must-see locations
- Vakil Bazaar
- Eram Garden
- Hafez Tomb
- Karim Khan Citadel
- Nasir ol Molk Mosque
- Vakil Baths
- Shah Cheragh
- Vakil Mosque
- Ali Holy Shrine
- A curiosity: Shiraz wine
Mosques, gardens, archaeological sites: Shiraz is full of landscape and architectural gems. Here is a top ten list.
Vakil Bazaar is the most important bazaar in Shiraz, located in the old city center. It is believed that it was erected in the 11th century. Today it comprises courtyards, baths and shops selling beautiful souvenirs, from carpets for which the country is famous to local handicrafts.
Eram Garden is called Bagh Eram in Persian, meaning "the garden of heaven" and was designed in the 20th century during the Qajar period. It hosts a palace, once used by nobles and governors in the province of Fars and then by the members of the royal court. Today it belongs to the University of Shiraz and is open to the public.
Hafez Tomb, placed beside the Hafezieh memorial, is located in the suburbs of Shiraz and commemorates the Persian poet Hafez. The two pavillions are situated in Musalla Gardens. The buildings in the gardens were designed during the 30s by French architect André Godard. Beside the tomb, in the garden you can admire pools, a tea house and tree-lined paths.
Karim Khan Citadel is located in the center of Shiraz and was part of a residential complex belonging to the Zand dynasty. Its structure recalls that of the medieval fortresses and for some periods the citadel has been used as a prison. Today it hosts a museum.
Persepolis is one of the most famous and interesting attractions in Iran: it is an archeological site hosting the ruins of one of the five capitals of the Achaemenid empire, located 50 km north of Shiraz.
Its name comes from ancient Greek and means "city of Persia". It hosts the ruins of very important tombs and monuments, built in dark grey marble, with some still intact columns standing out among the rest. Scholars believe that it is the same Persepolis that was first conquered and then destroyed by Alexander the Great.
Nearby there are also some royal tombs. According to an inscription, one preserves the remains of Darius I, who probably chose the location of Persepolis and ordered part of its constructions.
Nasir ol Molk Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques in Shiraz and certainly one of the most photographed in Iran. The reason of so much interest is to be found in the colorful glass windows in the eastern prayer hall. The mosque was erected during the Qajar era in the late nineteenth century, thanks to Nasir ol Molk Foundation's financing which also gave the mosque its name.
Vakil Baths are old public baths in Shiraz, located in the former royal quarter from king Karim Khan Zand's period. Here Vakil Bazaar and Vakil Mosque are also located.
Shah Cheragh is the tomb of Ahmad and Muhammad brothers, the sons of Musa al Kazim imam. They escaped to Shiraz during the Shiite Muslim prosecution perpetrated by the Abbasids.
Vakil Mosque is located near the famous Vakil Bazaar. It was built in the second half of the nineteenth century, under Zand dynasty's rule. Its courtyards are decorated with the typical Shiraz tiles. Its night prayer hall features a series of picturesque spiralling columns.
The tomb of emir Ali is a mosque where Ali Ibn Hamze, nephew of Shah Cheragh, is buried. The building was erected in the nineteenth century and boasts a beautiful dome in the typical Shiraz architectural style, while the decoration of the interiors was made using fragments of Venetian mirrors.
Shiraz is also the name of a world famous wine, also known as Syrah, produced by a red berry vine which probably originated in this region (even though it is more likely to have originated in Syracuse according to others).
Shiraz wine is deep red with some purple hues, has a fruity aroma and a fresh taste and is cultivated all over the world nowadays, especially in Italy and France.