Hafiz (1325-1390) the poet of love, who has inspired the works of Islamic and Western writers, hailed from Shiraz. His resting place, the Hafezieh, pleases the eyes of visitors with its cypresses, poplars, flowering shrubs and rose bushes. The teahouse of Hafezieh serves a delightful orange blossom tea and is a great place to relax and reflect on the words of the poet: How beautiful is Shiraz’s unparalleled state God save it from harm and the hands of fate. May God keep its flowing Roknabad River Its waters with freshness, always equate.
Shah Cheragh mosque
Visiting the Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran can be a somber and, for lack of a better word, religious experience, yet the interior of the central temple looks as though a disco ball exploded, covering nearly every surface with glittering shards of glass and mirror.
The site began as a funereal monument with a mythic past. As the story goes, around 900 CE a wanderer caught site of a mysterious light shining off in the distance and went to investigate. He found a luminous grave that, when excavated, was found to hold the armored corpse of an important Muslim figure. Thus the site became a popular pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims, and a domed tomb structure was created to house the grave. The site was improved and expanded over the centuries with religious schools and other facilities being added to the complex. In the 14th century the site’s signature mirrorball decoration was ordered at the behest of Queen Tash Khātūn who wanted the mosque intensify any light a thousand times over, the name “Shah Cheragh” roughly translating to “King of the Light” in Persian.
Despite being damaged by human hands and natural disasters over the centuries, the mosque has been maintained and repaired and shines brightly even today. The increasingly sprawling site is still an extremely important pilgrimage location for Shia Muslims, however visitors of any faith are likely to marvel at the sheer beauty of this glassy wonder.
One of the most elegant and most photographed pieces of architecture in southern Iran, the Pink Mosque was built at the end of the 19th century and its coloured tiling (an unusually deep shade of blue) is exquisite. There are some particularly fine muqarnas in the small outer portal and in the northern iwan, but it is the stained glass, carved pillars and polychrome faience of the winter prayer hall that dazzle the eye when the sun streams in
The mosque attracts most visitors early in the morning (9am to 11am is best) when the hall and its Persian carpets are illuminated with a kaleidoscope of patterned flecks of light. It makes for a magical experience – and an irresistible photograph.
A museum in the opposite prayer hall opens into the Gav Cha (Cow Well), where cows were used to raise water from the underground qanat. The structure has survived numerous earthquakes, due in part to its construction using flexible wood as struts within the walls – look for the wooden bricks in the iwan columns. The rose-pink floral tiles are a signature feature of Shiraz.
Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram), located along the northern shore of the Khoshk River in Shiraz, is one of the most famous and beautiful Persian gardens in all of Iran. It should be noted that the word ‘Eram’ is the Persian version of the Arabic word ‘Iram’ which means heaven in Islam’s most holiest of books, the Qur’an. With its beautiful grounds, lush plant life and aesthetic attractions, it’s easy to see why Eram evokes such a description.
With their beautiful flowers, refreshing air, aromatic myrtles and towering cypress trees, including one tree which is said to date back to 3000 years ago (Sarv-e naz), the Eram Gardens are a major tourist destination, especially during the spring.
Although no one is quite sure when construction of the gardens began, historical evidence suggests that the gardens were built during the Seljuk Dynasty (11th-14th centuries) under the rule of one of its most celebrated monarchs, Ahmad Sanjar. Like many other attractions in Shiraz, the Eram Gardens have been restored and repaired by the Zand kings of the Zand Dynasty (1750-1794), but during the later period of the Zand Dynasty, the garden changed hands to a Qashgai tribal chief, Mohammad Qoli Khan.
Mohammad Qoli Khan ordered the construction of the original mansion that stood on the grounds in the early 18th century, and planted various trees and plants in the garden including pine, orange, cypress and persimmon trees. Later on, during the rule of King Nasser ed-din of the Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925) Mirza Hassan Ali Khan Nasir-al Mulk bought the gardens from the Qashgai tribes and began construction on the present pavilion that now stands in the gardens.
As noteworthy as the gardens themselves, the pavilion was constructed by a local Shirazi architect, one Mohammad Hassan. The beautiful three-story structure was constructed based on the Safavid and Qajar styles of architecture, and includes tiles inscribed with poems from the famed Persian poet Hafez.
The World Heritage Site of Pasargadae is a collection of ancient structures remained from the Achaemenid era located in the city of Pasargadae in Fars province.
The site includes buildings such as the Tomb of Cyrus the Great , the Pasargadae Royal Garden, the Gate Palace, the Bridge, the Bar-e Am (Public) Palace, the private Palace , the two Royal Palaces, the Imperial Garden (Bagh-e Shahi) Fountains, the Tomb of Cambyses , the fortress of Toll-e Takht, the Mozaffarid Inn, the Holy Land and the Tangeh Bolaghi (Bolaghi Gorge). This is the fifth site of Iran registered in the World Heritage List, due to the possession of many factors, with one hundred percent of the votes in the session of UNESCO held in China in 2004.
Address: The Ancient Site of Pasargadae, 135 kilometers from Shiraz, Fars province, Iran