Shiraz is one of the most historical cities in Iran which has wonderful gardens, amazing monuments, and breathtaking mosques.
Travel to Iran has not completed without a visit to Shiraz and the city is mostly one of the destinations in every traveler plan. Not only in the city center but also all around the city there are worthy places to visit. Here, we are going to briefly introduce the best places to visit in Shiraz.
Without a doubt, Pasargadae is one of the best places to visit around Shiraz. During the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great (559–530 BC), it was the capital of Persia. Today, it is about 120 kilometers to Shiraz, in which there is the ancient tomb of Cyrus the Great; the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. It has six broad steps leading to the sepulcher, the chamber of which measures 3.17 meter long by 2.11 meter wide by 2.11 meter high and has a low and narrow entrance.
It is believed that the Pasargadae has been cited as an early example of the Chahar Bagh (Chahar stands for four, and bagh for the garden) which is known as Persian Gardens currently.
The day trip to the suburb to visit the ancient monuments should definitely start at the Pasargadae; an Achaemenid political center that predates Persepolis. The monument and the area around it were listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004.
Persepolis or Takht-e Jamshid in Farsi was the magnificent ceremonial capital of the ancient Achaemenid Empire which was built over 2500 years ago. Limestone was the main building material used in Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock.
The monument has different sections; military quarters, the treasury, the reception halls and occasional houses for the King. There are also the Great Stairways, the Gate of All Nations, the Apadana, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, the Tripylon Hall, the Tachara, the Hadish Palace, the Palace of Artaxerxes III, the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Stables, and the Chariot House.
The site which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is located about 70 kilometers in the northeast of Shiraz.
3) Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqshe-e Rajab
Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqshe-e Rajab are must-see tourist spots that should not be missed from a visit to Persepolis.
Naqsh-e Rostam (meaning Throne of Rostam) is actually an ancient necropolis with a group of ancient Iranian rock reliefs cut into the cliff which was built during Achaemenid and Sassanid Dynasties. Currently, the monument is located about 12 kilometer northwest of Persepolis.
Naqsh-e Rostam embraces four tombs of Persian Achaemenid kings. It is believed that from the left side to the right the tombs belong to Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I.
Naqsh-e Rajab along with Naqsh-e Rustam is currently (in 2019) are tentative candidates for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Naqsh-e Rajab which is an archaeological site consists of four limestone rock face inscriptions and rock-cut bas-reliefs date to the early Sassanid era. It is located just west of Istakhr City and about 5 kilometer north of Persepolis.
4) Eram Garden
Shiraz has always been known for having beautiful gardens, especially in spring. As a symbol of Persian Gardens in Shiraz, Eram Garden is unique in its kind which is now used as a botanical garden of Shiraz University. There are different types of trees, commonly cypress trees, trimmed hedges, and rosebushes all over the garden with magnificent design.
According to the historical evidence the garden was built during the Seljuk Dynasty (11th-14th centuries). However, it has been restored and repaired during the Zand Dynasty (1750-1794).
In the early 18th, the garden changed hands to a Qashqai tribal chief, Mohammad Qoli Khan. He ordered the construction of a mansion and a pool in the garden. Later on, during Qajar Dynasty, Mirza Hassan Ali Khan Nasir-al Mulk bought the gardens from the Qashqai tribes and began construction on the present pavilion that now stands in the gardens.
The amazing three-story building at the Eram Garden was constructed based on the Safavid and Qajar styles of architecture. The tiles used in this monument inscribed with poems from the famed Persian poet Hafez.
5) Nasir ol-Molk Mosque
The mosque is called by many different names, mostly known as the “Pink Mosque” or “Mosque of colors,” or the “Rainbow Mosque” or the “Kaleidoscope Mosque”.
The mosque comes to life with the sunrise and colors dance throughout the day like whirling dervishes. It reflects on the ground, walls, the arches, and the towering spires. It even reflects on the visitors as if a colorful ball is hit by the first sun ray and explodes to thousands of butterflies all around.
If you are planning to travel to Shiraz and have the interest to visit Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, you need to be there early in the morning to enjoy the rainbow coloring of it.
6) Shah-e Cheragh Mausoleum
The most important pilgrimage center in the city of Shiraz is the Mausoleum of Mir Sayyed Ahmad, the son of the seventh Emam who is known as Shah-e-Cheragh (the Shrine of the lord of the light). The shrine is situated near the Masjid-e-No.
Mir Sayyed Ahmad came to Shiraz at the beginning of the third Islamic century and died there.
What is really amazing about the Shah-e Cheragh Mausoleum is the mirror work decoration on the ceiling which was ordered at the behest of Queen Tash Khatun in the 14th century.
7) Narenjestan-e Ghavam
This beautiful garden and its mansion, which is located at the end of the garden are one of the most precious monuments of the Qajar period in Shiraz. In traditional Iranian architecture, all the houses had two sections; Birouni and Andarouni.
This monument actually is the “Birouni” section, and there was a tunnel to connect the place with the Andarouni section. These two sections were connected by an underground path. This monument is one of the most significant places at the period in Shiraz because of the arts such as mirror-work, glassware, designing, wood-carving, carving, plastering, and Muqarnas that were used in it.
8) Karim Khan Citadel
The Arg of Karim Khan or Karim Khan Prison was the residence of Karim Khan and where he ruled. It was built in 1180 AH (1766-7) as part of a complex during the Zand dynasty and is named after Karim Khan, and served as his living quarters. It is the biggest and the most important building of the Zand Dynasty. The citadel is located North-East of Shiraz. Its shape resembles a medieval fortress.
9) Bazaar-e Vakil
Bazaar-E-Vakil in Shiraz is one of the most famous and beautiful traditional bazaars in the country. According to the evidence, the bazaar was established by the Buwayhids in the 11th century at its current place. However, in the 18th century, it was developed and repaired in the order of Karim Khan Zand.
Seray-e Moshir- a restored caravanserai, Shamshirgarha Bazaar - a tribal handicraft arcade, and Seray-e Mehr Teahouse – a distinctive place to make a pause may be the highlights of a stroll through the bazaar.
10) Hammam-e Vakil
Public baths have been built in Iran for centuries and public bathing in special steam baths named hammam has been accepted by a majority of people. They also became an important communication and entertainment space.
By the order of Karim Khan Zand, the hammam has been constructed along with a bazaar and a mosque at the middle of the city. The interior design of the building is amazing with exquisite plasterworks, traditional turquoise, and gold tiles. There are vaulted halls and twisted columns adorn the interior of the hammam.
Currently, the bathhouse is used as an anthropological museum where the life of the inhabitants of Shiraz is represented with the help of wax figures and expositions.
11) Masjed-e Vakil
One of the most important artistic and historical buildings in Shiraz is Vakil Mosque, also known as Soltani Mosque or Jami Vakil Mosque.
The mosque was built sometimes between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand Dynasty in the order of Karim Khan Zand. However, it was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar Dynasty. The tile works in the monument is one of the best that represents the art of Iranian tile workers and the painters in the 12th-century A.H.
Vakil Mosque covers an area of 8,660 square meters. It has only two iwans instead of the usual four, on the northern and southern sides of a large open court. The iwans and court are decorated with typical Shirazi haft rangi tiles, a characteristic feature of the art and industry of Shiraz during the latter half of the 18th century.
12) Tomb of Hafez
The Tomb of Hafez and its associated memorial hall, the Hafezieh, are two memorial structures erected in the northern edge of Shiraz, Iran, in memory of the celebrated Persian poet Hafez. The open pavilion structures are situated in the Musalla Gardens on the north bank of a seasonal river and house the marble tomb of Hafez.
The present buildings, built-in 1935 and designed by the French architect and archaeologist André Godard, are at the site of previous structures, the most well-known of which was built in 1773. The tomb, its gardens, and the surrounding memorials to other great figures are a focus of tourism in Shiraz.
13) Tomb of Sa’di
The tomb of Saadi, known as Sa’dia, is the place of residence and burial of Sa’di, illustrious Persian poet.
This tomb is located at the end of Boustan Street and beside the Delgosha Garden on a hillside of the northeast of Shiraz. Around the tomb, there are a lot of graves of the privileged religious persons who have been buried there according to their wills. One of its most important is Shurideh Shirazi, his tomb is connected to the tomb of Saadi by a porch.