Shiraz is famous for a fair amount of things in the world. First for its long history and important role in the Persian empire with Persepolis as its capital. Second, for its wine! …Yes, wine! Shiraz used to be Iran’s wine capital and known for producing the finest wine in the Middle East. None of that anymore!
Shiraz is the land of Poets. …and No! poetry is not a thing of the past when it comes to Iranians. You will find that the average life of an Iranian is deeply connected with poetry and they show a great amount of respect toward their poets. Turns out, some of the world’s famous Iranian poets like Hafez and Sa’di were from Shiraz and by visiting their tombs you’d realize how dear they are to the Iranian heart. The people of Shiraz are known amongst Iranians for being laid back and avid picnic fans. Give a Shirazi some grass and he’ll be using it for a picnic.
Siestas are also a religion in Shiraz. People usually close their shops by lunchtime and don’t come back until around 3 or later. Depending on how long the nap might take. 😉
Shiraz has way too much to see. A good 3-4 days is a must when planning your visit, especially if you’re considering a day trip to Persepolis.
12 Awesome Places You Must in Shiraz
This place is without a doubt the main highlight of Shiraz for any visitor. Although it’s about 70km outside of the city, it’s absolutely worth every minute. There is a unique sense of glory here, one that I only got to feel again in Rome. A feeling of power, dominance, inconstancy and certainly the passage of time. Persepolis is a UNESCO world heritage, constructed and glorified during the time of Darius I and later invaded by Alexander the great. It was set on fire after the invasion which is believed by many historians to have been a revenge for the burning of Acropolis of Athens during the Persian invasion of Greece.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Persepolis
Pasargadae was the capital of Cyrus the great and his last resting place. The most famous remaining monument of this place is the Tomb of Cyrus himself and the remains of his palace.
Pasargadae is another 2-hour drive from Persepolis and if you decide to stay for the night, there’s no better place than the Aghamir Eco-lodge.
#3 Naqsh-e Rostam
Naqsh-e Rostam is another of my favorite places to visit in Shiraz. It’s glorious and somehow has a resemblance to The Treasury in Petra, Jordan. The most important monuments are the tombs of 4 Achaemenid kings including Darius the Great, carved out of the rock face. There is an entrance on each carving which opens to a small chamber where the king’s body lays in a sarcophagus. The tombs were later looted following the conquest of Alexander the Great.
#4 Tomb of Hafez
Hafez is one of the most beloved figures among Iranians. Most of his poetry is themed toward love and faith. “Hafez reading” is a thing in Iran which is regularly practised by anyone from young teenagers to older generation. His poems are also frequently used in Persian traditional music and calligraphy. If you don’t know who he is, or never read his pieces make sure you look him up before heading to this place. It definitely makes the experience remarkably different.
#5 Tomb of Sa’di
Sa’di is another major Persian poet of the medieval period. He is quoted for his deep moral thoughts throughout the world. He was a well-educated man who happened to wander around the world for decades due to the Mongol invasion. He writes exquisitely about his experiences, observance and the people he meets during his journey which happen to be mostly survivors of the war. His pieces reflect first-hand experiences of ordinary Iranians who suffered displacement and agony throughout the turbulent Mongol invasion.
#6 Shah Cheragh
The 3rd most sacred shrine in Iran is a feast for the senses. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed but come here after the evening prayers and the atmosphere is just divine! There’s a collection of mirror works, tile works and basically a huge museum of Iranian architectural decorations.
Wearing a chador is compulsory but they are provided at the entrance if you don’t have one.
#7 The Shrine of Ali Ibn-e Hamze
A smaller and cosier equivalent of Shah Cheragh, the shrine of Ali ibn-e Hamzeh is a humble shrine with eye-catching mirror and tile work. It’s a lot less popular than Shah Cheragh but it’s nothing short in terms of beauty.
#8 The Pink Mosque (Nasir al-Molk Mosque)
The most photographed piece of Iranian architecture is the Nasir al-Molk Mosque adorned with colourful tiles and stained glass windows. Visit the winter hall early in the morning and you’ll witness the theatrics of sun rays streaming through stained glass windows and dancing over elegant Persian carpets.
Here’s where you find the most remarkable tile work of Zandieh dynasty known best for their dominant pink colour.
#9 Eram Garden
Persian Garden has been frequently quoted in Persian literature and poetry as the earthly paradise. Its traditional style has influenced the design of gardens throughout the world, from gardens of Alhambra in Andalusia to their biggest interpretation in Taj Mahal of Agra. Eram Garden is a dazzling show of all the Persian garden elements and definitely a moment of delight whenever you’re in need of some peacefulness.
#10 Nerenjestan Museum/Qavam house
The wealthy Iranians had always had a specific fondness when it came to building their homes. All across Iran you can find beautiful houses with stunning architecture and lavishing ornamentation which used to belong to wealthy families that are currently public museums. Qavam house is the best example of these houses in Shiraz and well worth a visit.
#11 Arg of Karim Khan
The Arg of Karim Khan was built during the Zand dynasty as the king’s living quarters. Later it was turned into the governor’s seat during the Qajar period and after their fall, it was converted to a prison. There’s a beautiful museum inside depicting some of the special events that took place in this fortress. As you can see throughout my pictures already, water is an inseparable element of any Persian garden and there is no better place to experience the Persian paradise than here, in Shiraz – known amongst Iranians the city of gardens.
#12 Vakil Bathhouse
Public bathhouses existed in the Iranian culture prior to Islam but were later given much more important due to their significant role in Islamic principals, where ritual purity was attained through washing one’s body and was a requirement of religious life. Many of these baths are still to be found scattered throughout the country. Vakil Bathhouse is a perfected example which was praised with the most advanced architecture techniques of its time.
#13 Vakil Mosque
Another astonishing display of Iranian architecture, the Vakil mosque boasts dazzling tile-work. The huge prayers hall with its numerous columns make it such an exceptional piece of artwork compared to other mosques in Iran.
#14 Vakil Bazaar
Garand bazaars with beautiful architectures exist in almost every Iranian major city. They are normally the best places to buy souvenirs and handicrafts of all kind. Vakil bazaar has got to be one of my favourites, especially if you’re looking for carpets, antiques or spices! Wander around its backstreets and you’ll find dinky antique shops and hole-in-the-wall tea places.
There’s also a great Faloodeh shop in the bazaar and you ain’t gonna leave Shirazi without a bowl of Faloodeh.