History is a poem written by time on the memories often fade and new generations always replace the old, Shiraz is faithful custodian of the past that has shaped the Iranian nation.
The ”Gate of All Nations” at Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenids, is where dignitaries from every comer of the Persian Empire passed through before entering the Throne Hall to pay homage to the reigning Achaemenid king. A pair of Lamassi (winged lions with human heads) guard the eastern entrance of this structure.
Shiraz is a museum of time, where one can witness the rise and fall of empires, the triumph and defeat of dynasties and the artistic ingenuity of Persian craftsmen, magnificent mosques, lively markets, massive cliff tombs and embellished shrine. Every year on 5th of May (15 Ordibehesht) everyone travel to Shiraz to celebrate the “National Day of Shiraz” because of its reach history, outstanding culture and of course its mild weather in May.
Every corner of the city boasts a memorial built by a past ruler – a contribution that ensures their benefactors will not be consigned to oblivion and will live on in memories for as long as these monuments stand.
The ancient Persians were the creators of parks known as Paradise Gardens which inspired garden design throughout Asia and Europe. The lavish use of flowers in these gardens inspired the weaving of floral designs into what is known as the garden carpet. Eram, which means Eden, is one such garden in Shiraz where palm trees, flower beds and fountains have created a pleasant atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Shiraz is where once dignitaries from every corner of the empire converged to pay homage to their king. Shiraz is still the city of ancient customs, timeless traditions, and colorful costumes. Where nomadic tribes still offer their handmade creations in the city’s market.
One of the dynasties to rule Shiraz and construct a royal district were the Zands (1750-1794) Vakil mosque is a remainder of that era. The mosque is famed for its Minbar (pulpit) which has been cut from a solid piece of green marble and its Shabistan (inner sanctum) which has 48 monolithic marble pillars carved in spirals.
Shiraz is where the most eloquent of Persian bards like Hafez, Saadi and Khwaju Kermani lived and died, poets who captured the hearts and inspired the minds of not only their nation but also some of the greatest writers and scholars of the word. It is the city of mystics, Sufis and saints, the city of hypnotic melodies and poignant song, the city of artist’s expression and innovation, the city of acceptance, of warmhearted and fun-loving people.
Saadi, wrote a poem eight century ago that later became a motto on the entrance of the United Nations building:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In 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!
Famed for its unique colored glass facade, Nasir ai-Mulk Mosque or the Pink Mosque was built in 1888. Because of its elaborate decorations the mosque is a popular tourist destination at all hours of the day, however, many opt to visit the Pink Mosque between 7 am and 10 am in order to witness the pink glow the mosque is famous for.
Shiraz is the city of poetry, the city of wine garden and roses. The city of flowers and nightingales. The city of Cypress trees and orange blossoms. The city of love. Shiraz is the cultural capital of Iran. Shiraz is an enchantress that beckons one and all to come revel in its beauty, discover is treasures and witness its glory.