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Write: Hasan Mert Kaya Photos: Ömer Doğan
An Eastern Fairy Tale: Shiraz
An Eastern Fairy Tale: Shiraz
You Will Live A Fairy Tale Yourself In Shiraz With Its Legendary Poets, Spectacular Architecture And Extraordinary Cultural Riches.
Shiraz is where the heart of Iranian culture beats. Saadi of the Bostan and Gulistan and Hafez of the famous Divan live on in the hearts of millions of Iranians today. As thousands of people visit their tombs - a colorful symphony of cypress trees and flowers - to pay homage to these two magnificent poets, the bulbuls of Hafez’s poems continue to spread joy through the streets of the city with their mellifluous calls.
PERSEPOLIS, GATEWAY TO THE WORLD
Among the absolute must-see’s of Shiraz is Persepolis, capital of the Old Persian Empire. Spread over a vast site, this ancient city preserves its splendor today despite the passage of thousands of years. You will find the roots of Iran’s ancient civilization here in its soaring columns, its reliefs, each one a work of art in its own right, and its monuments and rock tombs.
TREASURES IN YELLOW BRICK
Shiraz is also home to some of the finest examples of Islamic architecture. Vakil Mosque, built in 1773 by Karim Khan, a ruler of the Zand dynasty, is a must-see. This is a building that seems to expand as you enter. Even its magnificent crown portal is a perfect monument with its intricate tile designs and fine architectural details. Immediately adjacent to the mosque, Vakil Hamam is remarkable for its ceiling and dome decorations. Another monumental work is the Mosque of Nisar al-Mulk, adorned with some of the most rare examples of Iranian tile work and stained glass. The light seeping in through the mosque’s stained glass windows adds another dimension to the space through the rainbow of color it creates, and the quiet of the vast courtyard, conjuring up an atmosphere in contrast with this vibrant world of color, takes visitors on an inward journey. The Shah-e Cheragh (meaning Shah of Lights) and Ali bin Khamza Mosques too are among the sights not to be missed in Shiraz.
THE LARGEST COVERED BAZAAR
One of Shiraz’s oldest centers is the Bazar-e Vakil. The largest covered bazaar in Iran, it deals in thousands of products from traditional handicrafts and the famous Shiraz carpets to gaily colored fabrics and spices by the hundreds. One of the bazaar’s most delightful spots is Saray-e Moshir, a former caravanserai where you can take a tea break in one of the traditional teahouses and sample the homemake cakes and cookies.
Shiraz owes its fairytale atmosphere to its magnificent gardens, the most famous of which is the Garden of Eram. Surrounded by flowers in the middle of this spacious garden stands a palace, built by architect Ustad Muhammed Hassan for the Qajar ruler, Muhammad Ghori. With its walking paths, pergolas and Servinaz cypresses, it is an outstanding example of traditional Iranian landscape architecture.
Among your other must-see’s in Shiraz, the Afif Abad Pavilions are home to museums and refined collections. Also recommended is the Narenjestan, a traditional house set amidst bergamot trees.
THE CASTLE OF KARIM KHAN
This castle stands out indeed with its large garden, hamam and special prayer area. And the stained glass, miniatures and decorative woodwork on the interior whisper of past glory.
Shiraz also offers an impressive food culture. While barg, shashlik and chicken (jujeh) kebab are very popular, rich stews, filling salads and a variety of starters turn every meal into a visual feast. If you prefer, dozens of restaurants serving the typical world food menus are also readily available.
In addition to its cultural heritage, Shiraz will also win your heart with its warm, friendly people. You’ll make friends instantly with the wise residents of this ancient city and promise yourself to come back again soon.
You can see remnants of Iranian civilization in the ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis. The Iranian art carved in stone at this sprawling site brings the glory of the past right up to our day.
The two giants of Iranian literature; the shrines of Saadi and Hafez, both of Shiraz, are among the city’s most visited sites. The cadences of Saadi’s Bostan and Gulistan rise from beneath the turquoise dome, while Hafez’s baldachin dazzles with its decoration
The Garden of Eram, Narenjastan Palace, Karim Khan Castle, the Nisar al-Mulk, Vakil and Shah-e Cheragh Mosques, Moshir Palace, and the Afif Abad and Dilkusha Gardens are among the city’s must-see’s. And barg and jujeh kebab are some the traditional dishes you can try together with the incomparable Shiraz salads
IRAN IS EVEN CLOSER ON TURKISH AIRLINES
Turkish Airlines flies to Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran Mashhad, Tabriz and Kermanshah in Iran.