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Shiraz

 

Shiraz, is the fifth most populous city of Iran[5] and the capital of Fars Province. In 2009 the population of the city was 1,455,073. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the Roodkhaneye Khoshk (Dry river) seasonal river.

It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. It is regarded as one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC.[6] In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. It was the capital of the Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1781, as well as briefly during the Saffarid period. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz.Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran's electronic industries: 53% of Iran's electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran's first solar power plant. Recently the city's first wind turbine has been installed above Babakoohi Mountain near the city.

 

History
Pre-Islamic
Shiraz is most likely more than 4,000 years old. The name Shiraz is mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions from around 2000 BCE found in south western corner of the Shiraz city. According to some Iranian mythological traditions, it was originally erected by Tahmuras Diveband, and afterward fell to ruin. The oldest sample of wine in the world, dating to approximately 7,000 years ago, was discovered on clay jars recovered outside of Shiraz (according to the referenced article, this discovery was made in Hajji Firuz Tepe, a Neolithic village in Iran's northern Zagros Mountains, more than a thousand kilometers north of Shiraz). In Achaemenian era, Shiraz was on the way from Susa to Persepolis and Pasargadae. In Ferdowsi's Shāhnāma it has been said that Artabanus V, the Parthian Emperor of Iran, expanded his control over Shiraz. Ghasre Abu-Nasr (meaning "the palace of AbuNasr") which is originally from Parthian era is situated in this area. During the Sassanid era, Shiraz was in between the way which was connecting Bishapur and Gur to Istakhr. Shiraz was an important regional center under the Sassanians.

 

Islamic period
Section of a Ceiling from the Narinjistan Mansion, ca. 1870. These sections of a painted wood ceiling come from the public audience hall of the Narinjistan (Orange Garden) mansion in Shiraz, in southwestern Iran. Construction of this residence, noted for its opulent surface decorations and mirror work, was begun in 1870 by Mirza Ibrahim Khan and completed in 1885 by Muhammad Riza Khan, who belonged to the prominent Qavam family of Shiraz. The Qur'an Gate was a part of the great city wall built under the Buwayhid EmpireThe city became a provincial capital in 693, after the Arab invaders conquered Istakhr, the nearby Sassanian capital. As Istakhr fell into decline, Shiraz grew in importance under the Arabs and several local dynasties. The Buwayhid empire (945–1055) made it their capital, building mosques, palaces, a library and an extended city wall. It was also ruled by the Seljuks and the Khwarezmians before the Mongol conquest.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. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. For this reason the city was named by classical geographers Dar al-‘Elm, the House of Knowledge. Among the Iranian poets, mystics and philosophers born in Shiraz were the poets Sa'di and Hafiz, the mystic Roozbehan, and the philosopher Mulla Sadra. Thus Shiraz has been nicknamed "The Athens of Iran".Vakil Bazaar as seen by Jane Dieulafoy in 1881As early as the 11th century, several hundred thousand people inhabited Shiraz. In the 14thcentury Shiraz had sixty thousand inhabitants. During the 16th century it had a population of 200,000 people, which by the mid-18th century had decreased to only 50,000.In 1504, Shiraz was captured by the forces of Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid dynasty. Throughout the Safavid empire (1501–1722) 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 as those built during the same period in Isfahan, the capital of the Empire. After the fall of the Safavids, Shiraz suffered a period of decline, worsened by the raids of the Afghans and the rebellion of its governor against Nader Shah; the latter sent troops to suppress the revolt. The city was besieged 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 fell to 50,000, one-quarter of that during the 16th century.

 

Tomb of Hafez
Shiraz soon returned to prosperity under the rule of Karim Khan Zand, who made it his capital in 1762. Employing more than 12,000 workers, he constructed a royal district with a fortress, many administrative buildings, a mosque and one of the finest covered bazaars in Iran. He had a moat built around the city, constructed an irrigation and drainage system, and rebuilt the city walls.[16] However, Karim Khan's heirs failed to secure his gains. When Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, eventually came to power, he wreaked his revenge on Shiraz by destroying the city's fortifications and moving the national capital to Tehran. Although lowered to the rank of a provincial capital, Shiraz maintained a level of prosperity as a result of the continuing importance of the trade route to the Persian Gulf. Its governorship was a royal prerogative throughout the Qajar dynasty.[16] Many of the famous gardens, buildings and residences built during this time contribute to the city's present skyline.Shiraz is the birthplace of the co-founder of the Bahá'í Faith, the Báb (Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad, 1819–1850). In this city, on the evening of 22 May 1844, he first declared his mission as the bearer of a new divine revelation. For this reason Shiraz is a holy city for Bahá’ís, and the city, particularly the house of the Báb, was identified as a place of pilgrimage. Due to the hostile climate towards Baha'is in Iran, the house has been the target of repeated attacks; the house was destroyed in 1979, to be paved over two years later and made into a public square. In 1910 a pogrom of the Jewish quarter started after false rumours that the Jews had ritually killed a Muslim girl. In the course of the pogrom, 12 Jews were killed and about 50 were injured, and 6,000 Jews of Shiraz were robbed of all their possessions. The city's role in trade greatly diminished with the opening of the trans-Iranian railway in the 1930s, as trade routes shifted to the ports in Khuzestan. Much of the architectural inheritance of Shiraz, and especially the royal district of the Zands, was either neglected or destroyed as a result of irresponsible town planning under the Pahlavi dynasty. Lacking any great industrial, religious or strategic importance, Shiraz became an administrative center, although its population has nevertheless grown considerably since the 1979 revolution.

 

Modern Times
The City's municipality and other related institutions have initiated restoration and reconstruction projects. Some of the most recent projects have been the complete restoration of the Arg of Karim Khan and of the Vakil Bath, as well as a comprehensive plan for the preservation of the old city quarters. Other noteworthy initiatives include the total renovation of the Qur'an Gate and the mausoleum of the poet Khwaju Kermani, both located in the Allah-u-Akbar Gorge, as well as the restoration and expansion of the mausoleum of the famous Shiraz-born poets Hafiz and Saadi. A lot of different construction projects is currently underway, which is going to modernize the City's infrastructure. The Shiraz 1400 chain of projects is set to transform the city and greatly modernize the infrastructure. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Shiraz was re-established as the capital of Iranian Art and Culture. Shiraz is known as the capital of Persian Art, Culture and Literature.
•    The tombs of Hafiz, Saadi, and Khaju e Kermani (whose tomb is inside a mountain above the city's old Qur'an Gate). Other lesser known tombs are that of Shah Shoja' (the Mozafarid emir of Persia, and patron of Hafiz), and the Haft Tanan mausoleum, where 7 Sufi mystics are buried. The Tomb of Baba Kuhi sits atop a mountain overlooking the city, and the tomb of Karim Khan Zand is at the Pars Museum of Shiraz.
•    The oldest mosque is Atigh Jame' Mosque, which is one of the older mosques of Iran, followed by Vakil Mosque and Nasir al-Mulk mosque. The Vakil Mosque is situated west of the famous Vakil Bazaar. It covers an area of 8,660 square meters and was built in 1187 (AH) during Zand Dynasty. On the two sides of the entrance gate there are magnificent tile-works and arches. The left and right corridors of the entrance gate are connected to the main room.
•    The citadel of Arg of Karim Khan sits adjacent to the Vakil Bazaar and Vakil Bath at the city's central district. The most famous of houses are Zinat-ol-Molook House and Gahavam's House, both in the old quarters of the city.
•    The Qur'an Gate is the entrance to Shiraz. It is located near the gorge of Allah-o-Akbar and is flanked by the Baba Kuhi and Chehel Maqam mountains. The gateway is where two copies of the Qurans known
•    The Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram) in Shiraz is a striking location for visitors with a variety of plants as well as a historic mansion. Although the exact date of the construction of the garden is not clear, historical evidence suggests it was constructed during the Seljuk Dynasty on the orders of the celebrated Seljuk monarch Sanjar. Other historical Persian gardens are Afifabad Garden and The Museum of Weapons, Delgosha Garden and Jahan nama Garden.
Within a relatively short driving distance from Shiraz are the ruins of Persepolis, Bishapur, Pasargadae, and Firouzabad. At Naqsh-e Rustam can be found the tombs of the Achaemenid kings as well as the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht, which has been thought to be either a Zoroastrian fire temple or possibly even the true tomb of Cyrus the Great. Maharloo Lake is a popular breeding ground for various bird species.Naqsh-e Rostam site contains funerary related works belonging to the Elamite (second millennium BCE), Achaemenid (550–330 BCE) and Sassanid (226–651 CE) eras. Naqsh-e Rostam is a site believed by archaeologists to have been a cemetery for Persepolis, where Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid royalty were laid to rest.

 

Culture
Shiraz is known as the city of poets, gardens, wine, nightingales and flowers.[47][48] The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; carpet-weaving, and the making of the rugs called gilim (Shiraz Kilim) and "jajim" in the villages and among the tribes.The garden is an important part of Iranian culture. There are many old gardens in Shiraz such as the Eram garden and the Afif abad garden. According to some peopleShiraz "disputes with Xeres [or Jerez] in Spain the honour of being the birthplace of sherry." Shiraz is proud of being mother land of Hafiz Shirazi, Shiraz is a center for Iranian culture and has produced a number of famous poets. Saadi, a 12th and 13th-century poet was born in Shiraz. He left his native town at a young age for Baghdad to study Arabic literature and Islamic sciences at Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad. When he reappeared in his native Shiraz he was an elderly man. Shiraz, under Atabak Abubakr Sa'd ibn Zangy (1231–1260) was enjoying an era of relative tranquility. Saadi was not only welcomed to the city but he was highly respected by the ruler and enumerated among the greats of the province. He seems to have spent the rest of his life in Shiraz. Hafiz, another famous poet and mystic was also born in Shiraz. A number of scientists also originate from Shiraz. Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, a 13th-century astronomer, mathematician, physician, physicist and scientist was from Shiraz. In his The Limit of Accomplishment concerning Knowledge of the Heavens, he also discussed the possibility of heliocentrism.

 

 

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CONTACT INFORMATION

AMIR H. HESHMATI
MANAGING DIRECTOR
PARDIS GASHT PARVAZ TOUR & TRAVEL AGENCY
NO. 88, UNIT 2,  MOTAHARI AVENUE
TEHRAN, IRI 1566774945
TEL.: +98 21 88417129
FAX: +98 21 88435057
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