Embrace history in the City of Shiraz
Tehran may be the capital of Iran, but for any visitor to the country, the City of Shiraz is the must visit destination that they look forward to with excitement. One of the most historic regions on the planet, Shiraz is located at the heart of Persian history, where the great empire was born and thrived.
However, visiting Shiraz needs a bit of planning, simply because there is so much you can see and do in the area, that it can be easy to miss something if you do not do so. Of course, the main attraction that everyone knows about is the ruins of Persepolis, which was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire over two thousand years ago, with the oldest ruins dating back as far as 2,500 years ago in 515 BCE. It is hard not to be impressed here, in the heart of the great Persian Empire, and it gives you a real taste of the enormous effect the region has had throughout human history.
Another must-see is Aramgah-e Hafez, or Hafez Tomb. Hafez was an Iranian poet who still has influence today, his works are incredibly popular, and most households in the country will have a book of Hafez’ work. Here you will find plenty of locals and aside from the grandeur of the architecture, there is a wonderful tea-house where you can relax and enjoy the frequent live music that is found there. When you are in Shiraz, the city of poets, it is only fitting to visit Iran’s greatest.
Inside the city of Shiraz itself, there are several historic buildings of significance, but the Nasir al-Molk Mosque is the one that you won’t want to miss. Get up early and visit to see the sun’s rays paint pictures across the beautiful carved pillars and carpets through the stained-glass windows. Its mesmerizing, and can only be seen early morning.
Also impossible to miss is Vakil Bazaar, which dates back to the times of Karim Khan. Wide brick avenues, vaulted ceilings and a maze of narrower passageways have not changed in 200 years, it’s a glimpse into the past but also a wonderful shopping experience in its own right. With almost 200 stores selling everything from carpets to spices and hand made items from local artisans, it is a treasure trove for gifts and mementos of your trip, and somewhere every visit to Shiraz should include.
Of course, there are many more historical mosques, gardens and houses to visit, the tour guides all have endless lists of them, but in addition, the city itself is an adventure. The streets, houses and every day activity that you can see by waling around, or stopping at a tea house and letting the world pass around you, is itself a reason to go to Shiraz. Here you can really embrace all that Persia was and Iran is, at the same time.