City of romance, love poems, paradise-gardens, and long walks, Shiraz is the cornerstone of Iranian culture. Being one of Iran’s most liberal cities, Shiraz is a historic town in the south. This city is reputed as the city of nightingales and flowers among the Iranians. Throughout Iran, Shiraz is known as a beautiful and romantic city with easy-going and passionate residents. It had been the country’s capital throughout centuries so, it bears a long and rich history and culture with itself. Being 3000 years old, Shiraz is a remarkable place to indulge yourself in some of Iran’s richest cultural and historical stories. Going back to the famous Achaemenid empire, Persepolis and Pasargadae (located in the northeast of Shiraz) showcase the best of Iranian ancient glory and majesty.
City of Poems
Shiraz is magical. A simple walk around the city, especially during the spring, feels spectral. Why the spring, you ask? Well, it’s true; Shiraz is beautiful throughout all of the four seasons, but it’s extra-magical during the spring. In the spring, the aura of bitter-orange blossoms with various jeweled parts of the city fills the air. Ever wonder why so many Persian poets come from Shiraz? Well, this could be the reason. Hafez and Saadi, two of Iran’s most famous poets, were born and lived in Shiraz.
So, let’s take a walk together and learn about the golden experiences you can find in Shiraz.
There are a lot of unique experiences in Shiraz: whether it is walking down maze-like alleyways and green boulevards, or strolling around the city’s various gardens (like Eram and Ghavam), or visiting the most-photographed site of Iran, Nasir-ol Molk. Here you can choose for yourself.
The Vakil Bazaar experience:
The Vakil complex in Shiraz has located in the heart of the city: the historic bazaar. This complex consists of a lengthy yet never-boring bazaar, a large and architecturally-amazing mosque, and a gorgeous bathhouse. The idea is to first clean yourself from dirtiness (the bathhouse) and go say your prayers (the mosque). Now, when you’re completely ready, do some business (the bazaar). That’s a pretty lovely philosophy, eh?
Strolling in the city’s Gardens
Well, what could be more relaxing than walking in a UNESCO-registered Persian garden, built years ago? I doubt you could come up with a better answer. These gardens were designed to be small paradises on earth. Eram garden, one of the nine famous Persian gardens, is an incredibly photogenic botanical garden in Shiraz. It is definitely one of the best places to spend a relaxing afternoon. Mainly because it is surrounded by tall cypress trees and ornamented with fragrant roses and other various buds. However, there are other amazing romantic gardens in Shiraz, like Narenjestan (Ghavam), Delgosha, Jahan Nama, and Afif Abad.
Appreciate the spirituality in Shah Cheragh
Translated as “the King of Lights,” this shrine is the most beautiful in Shiraz. It is probably the most majestic one located in southern Iran. Although this holy shrine’s name has a Game-of-Thrones sense to it, the present aura of the mausoleum is way more relaxed, comforting, and spiritual than the American TV-series. The holy bodies of two brothers are buried inside the beautifully-symmetrical building. The faithful come into this mausoleum to pay their respects and say their prayers. Shah Cheragh is the best place to know the religious side of Shiraz.
Taste Faloodeh in the city streets
If you ever go out with the Shirazi locals, they will probably take you to an ice-cream shop. There you will have the chance to try the traditional Iranian Bastani (ice-cream) with Faloodeh (a cold dessert). Lo and behold, this is not an ordinary ice-cream mix. Traditionally, this ice-cream is mixed with some rose water and saffron to add to its heavenly taste.
Meditation at the Pink Mosque (Nasir-ol Molk Mosque)
Although located in the heart of the city, the Nasir –ol Molk Mosque is from another world. A place where all the brightest colors come together, and it feels like you’re living – or more precisely vising a mosque – inside of prism. Nasir –ol Molk became famous as the Pink Mosque among foreigners since it has brighter colors (like pink and purple). Initially, it was built as a personal mosque, so it didn’t have to follow the strict standards of its time. If you want to take photos with fewer people, try to visit the mosque early in the morning. The fresh sunlight will also allow you to fully experience the kaleidoscopic atmosphere of the place.
Travel back in time exploring Persepolis (or called Takht-e Jamshid)
Remember the movie 300 and how historically accurate it was? Ancient Persians were brutes and did nothing but wage war and kill others. Yeah, good times. Except that is 100 % false, and the opposite is true. And Persepolis complex (or Takhte Jamshid meaning the Throne of Jamshid) are here to attest to the glory, majesty, sophistication, and the Persian’s love for aesthetics. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. This early instance of the glorious Persian Empire is inarguably the top tourist attraction in Shiraz. During the 7th BC, the Persian Empire was the most substantial empire throughout the world. Hence, you could say that Persepolis was the center of the world. What remains of Persepolis are impressive ruins with millenniums of stories behind them.
Take poetry classes at the tomb of Hafez and the tomb of Saadi (Hafezieh and Saadieh)
Almost always filled with admirers, these great poets’ tombs are located in lush gardens and inside masterfully-architectured buildings. After all, Shiraz is the city of love, romance, and passion. When you visit this place, you will see many locals reciting love poems – mostly by heart. You might also see young couples burning in love as they are taking a walk around these gardens. These tombs are both modern buildings designed by prominent architects who infused lyrical and traditional elements into their work.