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Month: April 2018

How to Spend 48 Hours in Shiraz

Shiraz is the birthplace of the ancient Persian civilization. Blessed with a moderate climate and easy-going people, it’s also the city of poets, literature, and Persian gardens. Travel back to the Persian Empire and get a dose of some serious poetry as we explore how to spend 48 hours in Shiraz.

Iran map – Shiraz

Day 1

With so many historical and cultural sites in Shiraz, there’s a lot to pack into 48 hours. Spend the first day outside the city, steeped in history, as you explore the remains of the ancient Persian Empire. Because today will be spent in the sun in a dry landscape, make sure to pack sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and of course plenty of water and snacks.

The capital of Persia during the Achaemenid era (circa 550–330 BCE), Pasargadae is where you’ll find the Tomb of Cyrus, King of Persia, as well as the remains of the citadel of Tall-e Takht, palaces, and prison of Solomon. Despite its isolation and rather inhospitable surroundings, Pasargadae is a rewarding and imperative stop on the journey to ancient Persia.

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About 50 kilometers south of Pasargadae is the monumental Persepolis, capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Upon entering the majestic Gate of All Nations, tap into your imagination to be transported back in time, when delegations from foreign countries brought gifts to the king. The magnificent reliefs on the staircases and in the palaces depict everything from half-man/half-bull figures and griffins to Persian soldiers and lotus flowers.

Persepolis, Fars Province

Continue your journey into the past at Naqsh-e Rostam, a necropolis of four massive tombs for the Achaemenid kings, including Darius the Great, carved into the cliffside. The Cube of Zoroaster, thought to have been a fire temple, sits in front of this tomb. Other reliefs in this area include triumphs of the Sassanid era monarchs, including the most famous one portraying the victory of Shapur I over Roman emperors. Naqsh-e Rajab, located only a few minutes away, has other similar reliefs.

Naqsh-e Rostam, Fars Province, 

 

Naqsh-e Rajab, Fars Province,  

 

Day 2

Morning

Now that you’ve had your Persian history lesson, it’s time to soak up some Persian culture. Everyone enjoys the beauty of the sunrise, but there are few better places to take your breath away so early than Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, nicknamed the Pink Mosque. Sunlight shines through the stained-glass windows and reflects off the Persian rugs, transforming the mosque into a walk-in kaleidoscope. Each nook is more photogenic than the last. You’ll love not only capturing this masterpiece but also becoming part of it.

Nasir ol-Molk Mosque,

Once you’ve managed to pull yourself out of this exquisite mosque, walk northwest along Lotf Ali Khan Zand Street to the Vakil Bazaar, where you can meander through the maze of alleyways. You’ll be dazzled by the rug and jewelry shops, and the scent of spices will lure you closer to the stalls. Explore the understated yet delightfully symmetrical Vakil Mosque with its colorful mosaics against neutral backdrops. Finally, visit Hammam-e Vakil, an 18th-century bathhouse with vaulted chambers, twisted columns, and painted scenes from Persian mythology.

At this point, a lunch break at the bazaar’s Saray-e Mehr is in order. Try the chicken kabobs or famous dizi, a traditional stew of lamb, potatoes, and legumes cooked in a clay pot. Wash it all down with a hot glass of tea as you relax and take inventory of your bazaar purchases in this charming, traditional restaurant.

Vakil Bazaar, Saraye Moshir, Shiraz

Vakil Mosque, Shiraz, 

Vakil Bath, Shiraz, 

 

Afternoon

Get your motor running again at Arg-e Karim Khan, an 18th-century citadel built by and named after the founder of the Zand Dynasty. With a lovely courtyard filled with citrus trees and a central pool, it’s hard to imagine that the four surrounding towers of this fortress once served as prisons. Don’t miss the tilework showing scenes from Ferdowsi’s epic poem, Shahnameh.

From here, head to one of the sites comprising UNESCO’s collective listing of ‘Persian Gardens,’ the aptly named Eram Garden (Persian for paradise). Surrounding a spectacular three-story pavilion with colorful mosaics, this botanical garden is replete with towering cypress and palm trees as well as red roses and streaming water.

Karim Khan Citadel, Shiraz, 

 

Eram Garden, Eram Blvd, Shiraz, 

Evening

End your stay in Shiraz with an evening of two of Iran’s most beloved poets, Hafez and Sa’adi. Great lovers of poetry, Iranians from all walks of life can recite verses from these poets from memory. The Tomb of Hafez sits in a beautiful garden and is full of tourists and locals who come to pay their respects. Grab a fal-e Hafez and contemplate the play of words to see what fortunes the great poet has in store for you.

 

The Tomb of Sa’adi, featured on the 100,000 Iranian rial note, is less crowded in the evening, allowing for a more personal experience. His simple yet profound lyrics offer proof of his legacy, and his most famous works, Golestan and Bustan, emphasize unity in mankind. It makes sense that his poem Bani Adam, Children of Adam, is inscribed at the entrance of the United Nations in New York.

Tomb of Hafez, Hafezieh St, Shiraz

Social Media-Life-Shiraz-Amir Sina Rezaei

Tomb of Sa’adi, Boostan Blvd, Shiraz

 

Author: Pontia Fallahi

https://www.instagram.com/mypersiancorner/

 

“Shiraz is one of the most beautiful cities of Iran and this was only a portion of all it has to offer. If you are planning to explore more of Shiraz just let our team of experts know and they will give you the best itinerary according to your request. After all, Shiraz is toiran.com’s favorite city in Iran… ”

 

Visit Mausoleum of Saadi, The Persian Poet, in Shiraz

The mausoleum of Saadi, known also as the tomb of Sa’dy or Sadiyeh, is one of the major tourist attractions of Shiraz. A huge number of Iranians and non-Iranians pay a visit to this burial place and show their respect to Saadi and interest in his works, prose, and poems. This Iranian poet is a globally known scholar whose words have touched many hearts across the world and wakened up many minds to take new steps in their lives to reach higher levels of humanity. The ambiance of this location is much more attractive than its architecture although it has got interesting character by itself.

Saadi Tomb | Photo credit: toiran.com

A Few Words about Saadi

Saadi lived in the 13th century, but he’s a man for all centuries. The rich depth of his writings and ideas with social and moral values have gone beyond time. His words have been quoted by Persian speaking people inside Iran and outside alike. Even Western sources have quoted him and continue to do so. He ’s widely recognized as one of the great masters of classical Persian literature. Some even title him second only after Ferdowsi whose position for saving the Persian Language is unparalleled and no one could even do what he did.

The reputation of Saa’i in Persian literature is because of his eloquence in using the language. After 8 centuries, his works are still easy to understand and his ideas are still admirable for the speakers of the language. His style of Farsicizing borrowed words from Arabic in Persian made it a lot easier to use those words in everyday use and understand them although Arabic was not a language of the same origin as Persian.

Saadi was a man of learning. Spending infancy and childhood without a father and going through youth in poverty and hardship never stopped him from pursuing learning. Therefore, he left his birthplace in Baghdad where Nezamieh university was the center of knowledge and many studied there in the Islamic world. Among various subjects that he studied there, he proved to be excellent in Arabic literature, Islamic sciences, history, governance, law and Islamic theology.

Saaadi was a man of traveling. Mongols invasion and unstable situation in Iran led him a lifetime of living abroad in various countries like Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Sindh (Today’s Pakistan), India, Central Asia, Hijaz (Today’s Saudi Arabia), etc. Eventually, after 30 years, he returned to his birthplace as an elderly man and was welcomed and highly respected.

He was titled “Sheikh” because of his knowledge and found followers who pursued his values and words.

Saadi’s Literary Works

Within two years after his return to Shiraz, Saadi wrote his two most famous books: Bustan, also known as Bostan (The Orchard) in 1257 and Golestan, known as Gulistan (The Rose Garden) in 1258. Bostan is entirely in verse introduces moral virtues and Gulistan is mainly in prose containing stories and personal anecdotes.

His works in forms of Lyrics and Odes are also well-known by the enthusiasts of Persia literature. He has created some works in Arabic as well.

I’d like to quote one of his most famous works. There are several translations of his works, but I’d rather use the one by M. Aryanpoor as below:

Human beings are members of a whole,
In the creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you’ve no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain!

 

The Construction & Architecture of the Mausoleum of Saadi

Saadi was buried in a village outside Shiraz which is now part of the city although it’s at the outskirt in a relatively poor neighborhood. Under Karimkhan-e Zand, the 18th-century ruler of Shiraz, the present Saadi’s mausoleum was built to further honor him. It’s in form of a multi-sided building with a cupola on top. From outside it may look like a square structure due to its flat facade decorated with Shirazi tiles depicting tree of life in various colors. Inside, you can see the 8 corners of the building and large lamp hanging from the ceiling. His grave is beautifully carved in Persian.

Later this building was connected to another tomb of a Shirazi poet, Shurideh Shirazi by a colonnaded portico. Under Reza Shah, the father of the last Shah of Iran and founder of Pahlavi dynasty,  the mausoleum was restored and annexed by some newer parts. Andre Godard, the French architect had been assigned the task of restoring several historical monuments in Iran and so forth.

The Mausoleum of Saadi is located inside a garden where beautiful flowers and several cypress trees are planted to make the setting even more beautiful. A fish pond in an underground reached by some steps leads visitors to some water channels that have been in use since the time of Saadi at this place. Today there are some fish crossing channels and coming to the center where people can see them.

Recently, as more and more people come to this place to visit Saadi’s Mausoleum and show their respect to the poet, the garden has been enlarged and can accommodate three times more visitors in it.

 

Author: 

The Creator of “The Conference of the Birds”

God is beyond all human knowledge
Only He can open the way
not human wisdom

 

The great 13th-century Sufi poet Farid al-Din Attar is renowned as an author of superb short lyrics written in the Persian language. He was born in Nishapur, in what is today north-east Iran.

He had a complex personality, a brilliant storyteller and poet in both lyric and epic forms, and a creative and original Sufi thinker. His ideas range over the whole spectrum of Persian mysticism and religious philosophy, and his writing paved the way for the triumphs of Rumi and Hafez.

As a younger man, Attar went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and traveled extensively, seeking wisdom in Egypt, Damascus, India, and other areas, before finally returning to his home city of Nishapur.

The name Attar means herbalist or druggist, which was his profession. (The profession can also carry implications of being an alchemist.) It is said that he saw as many as 500 patients a day in his shop, prescribing herbal remedies which he prepared himself, and he wrote his poetry while attending to his patients.

About thirty works by Attar survive, but his masterpiece is the Mantic al-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds). In this collection, he describes a group of birds (individual human souls) under the leadership of a hoopoe (spiritual master) who determine to search for the legendary Simurgh bird (God). The birds must confront their own individual limitations and fears while journeying through seven valleys before they ultimately find the Simurgh and complete their quest. The 30 birds who ultimately complete the quest discover that they themselves are the Simurgh they sought, playing on a pun in Persian (si and murgh can translate as 30 birds) while giving us an esoteric teaching on the presence of the Divine within us.

Attar’s poetry inspired Rumi and many other Sufi poets. It is said that Rumi actually met Attar when Attar was an old man and Rumi was a boy, though some scholars dispute this possibility.

Some of his works:

* Deevaan

* Asraar-Naameh

* Maqaamaat-e Toyour

* Moseebat-Naameh

* Elaahi-Naameh

* Jawaaher-Naameh

* Sharh ol-Qalb

* Tazkerat ol-Owliyaa

Farid ud-Din Attar was apparently tried at one point for heresy and exiled from Nishapur, but he eventually returned to his home city and that is where he died.

A traditional story is told about Attar’s death. He was taken prisoner by a Mongol during the invasion of Nishapur. Someone soon came and tried to ransom Attar with a thousand pieces of silver. Attar advised the Mongol not to sell him for that price. The Mongol, thinking to gain an even greater sum of money, refused the silver. Later, another person came, this time offering only a sack of straw to free Attar. Attar then told the Mongol to sell him for that was all he was worth. Outraged at being made a fool, the Mongol cut off Attar’s head.

Whether or not this is literally true isn’t the point. This story is used to teach the mystical insight that the personal self isn’t of much real worth. What is valuable is the Beloved’s presence within us — and that presence isn’t threatened by the death of the body.

 

 

 

 

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