There was probably a sizable settlement on the siteof Shiraz in the prehistoric period and cuneiform records from the great ceremonial capital of Persepolis show that Shiraz was a significant township in Achaemenes times. However the city became provincial capital only in 693 A.D, after the Arab armies conquered Estakhar, the nearby Sassanian capital. As Estakharfell in to decline, Shiraz grew in importance under the Arabs and several local dynasties. The Buyids (945 to 1055) made it their capital, building mosques, palaces, a famous library and a great city wall. The city was spared destruction by the invading Mongols when its local ruler offered tributes and submission to Genghis Khan. Shiraz was again spared by Tamerlane when in 1382 the local monarch, Shah Shoja agreed to submit to the invader, even offering the hand of his granddaughter to grandson of tamer lane. After the death of Shah Shoja there was turbulent succession of rulers for several years, until Tamerlane appointedhis own son as ruler of the city. In the thirteenth century Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters thanks to the encouragement of it’s enlightened ruler and the presence of many scholars and artists. For this reason the city was named by classical geographers Dar al-Elm, the House of Knowledge. Many of the mostimportant Iranian poets, mystics and philosophers were born in Shiraz and contributed to the fame of the city. Among them can be mentioned the poets Sa’di and Hafez the mystic Roozbehan and the philosopher Molla Sadra. Thourgh out the Safavid empire (XVIXVIII century) Shiraz remained a provincial capital and Emam Qoli Khan, the governor of Fars under Shah Abbas I, constructed many palaces and ornate buildings in the same style of those built in the same period in Isfahan, the capital of the Empire.
After the fall of the Safavid’s Shiraz suffered a period of decline worsened by the raids of the Afgans and the rebellion of its governor against Nadershah the latter sent troops to sedate the revolt, The city was beseiged for many months and eventually sacked. At the time of Nader shah’s murder in 1747 most of the historical buildings of the city were damaged or ruined and its population dropped to 50000, a quarter of that of the sixteenth century. Shiraz soon returned to prosperity under the enlightened rule of Karim Khan Zand who made it the capital of his reign in 1762. Even though master of virtually all of Persia, Karim Khan refused to take the title of king and contented himself with that of regent (Vakil). Karim Khan was a benevolent and wise ruler and one of the greatest patrons of the arts in Iranian history. Employing more than 12000 workers he constructed a royal district with a fortress, many administrative buildings, a mosque and one of the finest covered bazaar in Iran. He had a most built around the city, constructed a clever irrigation and drainage system and rebuilt the city walls. However Karim Khan heirs failed to secure his gains, and when Aqa Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, eventually came to power, he wreaked his revenge onShiraz by destroying the city fortification and moving 52 the national capital to Tehran. Although lowered to the rank of provincial capital, Shiraz maintained a level of prosperity as a result of the continuing importance of the trade route to the Persian Gulf and its governorship was a royal prerogative throughout theQajar era. many of the beautiful gardens, buildings and residences built during the nineteenth century, contribute to the actual outlook of the city. Shiraz had a primary role during the Islamic Revolution and its splendid victory, After the revolution, both during the Holy Defence and in the construction era, Shiraz has always been on the forefront of the preservation and development of the holy values of the Revolution. In line with the great consideration that the Islamic Republic gives to historical monuments, the municipality of Shiraz and the related cultural institutions have promoted and carried out many important restoration and reconstruction projects through the city. Among the most recent ones are the complete restoration of the Karim Khan fortress and of the Vakil Bath as well as a comprehensive plan for the preservation of theold city quarters. Other noteworthy initiatives of the municipality include the total renovation of the Qor’an Gate and the mansoleum of the poet Khoju Kermani both located in the Allahu Akbar gorge, as well as the grand project of expansion of the mausoleum of the world famous poet Hafez.
At the entrance of the Shiraz city and in the Allaho Akbar Gorge, about 1000 years ago a gate was built on top of which Karim Khan Zand consequently built a small room containing a Qoran. In 1938 due to road developments the old monument was destroyed. About ten years later the gate was restored and ever since it 53 is known as the Qoran Gate.
To the north of Persepolis, there are carvings of Ardeshir Babakan and Shapour I . This carving consists of three embossed pictures of Ardeshir Babakan, Shapour I, as well as the emblem of his dynasty besides other great personalities of the Ardeshir era.
Bostanak ( BEHESHTE GOMSHODEH)
The magnificent Bostanak Gorge is located at an altitude of 1,740 m. above sea level near the north west vicinity of the Kamfirooz plains.. This gorge is situated at the watersheds of the Doroodzan. Its proximity to the Doroodzan Dam Lake along with the cold and beautiful regions of the “Ganbil Gorge”, “Margoon Waterfall”, “Boraq Gorge” ,”Shesh Peer Spring”and “Ranj” and “Baram Firooz” Peaks, is considered to bea recreational region for citizens as well as a major tourist of attraction site.
Takht-e Jamshid Palace( PRESEPOLIS)
On top of the rocky mountain of Rahmat in the plainof Marvdasht, the ruins of Takht-e-Jamshid palace are pre-eminent. Construction of these palaces started at the time of Darius I (521 BC) and was not completed in less than a period of 150 years. Takht-e-Jamshidis registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The entrance of the complex is formed by a two-rampstairway composed of 110 rather wide and short steps. On top of the stairways is the main entranceor “The Great Gate”, marked by two statues of a bull with a human head and a pair of wings. There are two exits, one to the south and the other to the east. The south exit or gate connects to the Apadana Palace. Takht-e-Jamshid is 125 thousand sq.m. in area, and is composed of the main sections: Official reception halls and palaces Smaller and more private palaces Royal treasury Private fort and special fortification Various edifices or palaces that have been built are as follows:
- The Small Palace or the Gate of All Nations
- The Apadana Palace
- The Palace of Darius,(one of the primary palaces constructed on the Takht-e-Jamshid rock, which was also called the “Tachar” Palace.)
- Hall or palace of a Hundred Columns
- The Semifinished Gate or palace
- Treasury of Takht-e-Jamshid
- The Three Doorway or Consultation
- Palace or Hall The stone well Tombs of Ardeshir II and III
- The Palace of Khashayar Shah (called “Hadish”)
Takht-e-Jamshid was set ablaze by Alexander the Greek (330 BC) after which only ruins have remained. From these ruins, the Apadana Palace, at the main entrance, with 36 columns and three balconies (12 columns in each) in the north, south and eastern sections of the palace have been remained. The northern and eastern terraces are connected to the gardens opposite. The height of the platform in the Apadana Palace is 16 m. and the height of its columns is 18 m.
This palace is 600 meters to the northeast of the Koorush shrine. The area of this palace is 2,620 square meters and includes a large hall (with eight columns) in the middle and four terraces in four directions and two rooms in the corners. To the east of the palaceis Pasargadae, composed of a large hall with eight columns. There is a doorway on the north, east and western side of this hall. In the northern doorway,there is an impression of a winged human with two wings directed towards the sky and two wings to the bottom. Where as the hands are raised towards the sky in a gesture of prayer. This edifice with 3,427 square meters area, is located 15 km. northwest of the palace. The main hall has 30 columns made of white stone. A mass of black and white stones have been used as construction material. One of the characteristics of Pasargadae is the canals made of white stone, which were used,for irrigation. There are equally other remains distributed in the province, some registered as national heritage monuments. These include the ruins of the Achaemenian Dynasty (Saravan Village), the Dokhtar Palace (Rastaq Village) dating back to the 3rd century AD, the restored Sassanian Palace (Sarvestan) dating originally back to the time of Bahram Gour (year 420 AD), Ardeshir Babakan Palace (Marvdasht).
Hafiz is one of the most famous Gnostics and poets of Iran, who was born in Shiraz in 726 AH and passed away 65 years later. The tomb of Hafiz also known as Hafizieh is located north of Shiraz and comprises of two gardens. Many people still come to pay homage to this master of poetry. The mausoleum itself is located in a lovely garden, and has an atmosphere of peace and calm that is quite unique.
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