Shiraz, Iran

Share this item
Tools
 Podcast
 RSS

For more than 2000 years Shiraz has been celebrated as the heartland of Persian culture and has become synonymous with education, nightingales and poetry. It was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty (AD 1747–79), when many of its most beautiful buildings were built or restored. Shiraz is home to the mausoleums of Hafez and Sa’di, both major pilgrimage sites for Iranians and thus is dubbed as the City of Poets. It’s also home to splendid gardens, exquisite mosques and whispered echoes of ancient sophistication that reward those who linger longer than it takes to visit nearby Persepolis, the Palace of the greatest kings of the Persian Empire at its height of power. In this documentary we travel to this city to stand witness to its historical splendor.

Part 1

"I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, mighty king,. When I entered Babylon in a peaceful manner, I took up my lordly abode in the royal palace amidst rejoicing and happiness. My great army entered Babylon quietly. I did not allow any hardships to the people of the land. I made efforts for peace. I abolished slavery and put an end to its ills. I decreed that all people are free to worship their God and that no one has the right to persecute them. "

Cyrus the Great left a charter, which is known as the first human rights charter in history. The charter is now kept at the British Museum in London.

The Morghab Plain…. This is where Pasargad is located. The most important monument in Pasargad is the tomb of Cyrus, the Great, which was built upon his order for his burial and it's still there 2500 years after its construction. The tomb of Cyrus was actually built by himself before his death.

- wow, it's really amazing. don't you think so? i mean it's great Cyrus the Great's tomb.

- she says that we are honored that we have this glorious history, and it's an amazing place.

- I was wondering what you feel about Cyrus the Great. do you think he is as magnificent as he is?

- he was a great character in history and he was very respected. even at that time we didn't have slavery and workers who built the places all got their wages.

- oh, really? wow, he was a great person.

- he was a very fair person.

- so he had justice in his characteristic.

- yes, exactly. and when we remember the story about Alexander coming here to Cyrus the Great's tomb, he doesn't destroy it, and actually he pays his distribute and respect to him.

oh, that's very respectful specially for a concurer.

- yes

- I have another question actually about Cyrus the cylinder. what do you think about that? the meaning of it and what it says?

- she says that she is honored to know that the human freedom charter has started from Iran, from the Cyrus cylinder and now it's gone to the UN and all the laws are written in UN. it's a big honor for Iranians to know that they have issued freedom to the world .

- great. that's a very interesting view points. thank you very much for answering my questions.

The mausoleum of Cyrus has two distinct parts: six broad steps built on a square or rectangle base with an area of 165 square and a slandered roof; the walls are 5.1 meter thick; the base of the monument is made out of six step-like layers; the monument is eleven meters high.

The existence of Pulwar River has made Morghab Plateau a very fertile land for people. Pasargad is a vast complex of palaces and different monuments which are scattered across the plain. Pasargad palaces were built 2500 years ago at Cyrus's order. The surviving monuments of this historic complex are Cyrus's private palace, winged-man beast, audience palace, the residential palace, the audience hall, and the precinct fire.

Persepolis historic monuments are located near the town of Marvdasht in Iran's Fars province, 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Shiraz. The Greeks called it Perspolis and it old Persian it's called Parse. Parse or persepolis was one of the ancient cities of Persia and was for many years the capital city of the Achamenid Empire. At first sight, persepolis gives one a sense of a historical era's magnificence: an image which will remain in one's memory for a long time. The stairs used by kings and noble Achamenid people who ruled over a huge part of lands at the time draws one's respect and admiration.

-you know these passes were made at the time of Achamenid dynasty who ruled Persia from 559 bc to 333 bc. construction of the place started in 518 bc. so if you consider that as the beginning year of construction, the place is over 2500 years old.

- 2500 years old? wow! that is really old. i mean i can see it in there. that's really old. 2500 years.

- yes that's why it's the most significant place in Iran.

- so tell me some more things about this wonderful place. looks like it has so many secrets hidden inside.

-yes, this glorious place was unfortunately destroyed by Alexander the Macedonia. he came here and put fire to the place.

-what?

- yeah

- I've got to see more; common. let's go

- there are lots of mysteries in Persepolis. you know, even this entrance gate or the nations gate, it's also called the ..... gate because it was made by hand. there are other mysteries about Persepolis. you see these columns and the flutes on the columns.

-oh, yes. I can see that. very well designs.

-yes, of course. and they are more that 14 meters high. in some other palaces columns are more than 21 meters high.

- so they are even more higher than these.

- yes of course. considering the head of the column which is usually a lion or eagle. look at that imaginary creature.

-it's very interesting.

-it's consist of 3 different creatures. it has eagle wings. bull's body and human head.

oh yeah. that is amazing. so who is this guy?

-it's grifen which is the symbol of different things.

-oh I see. I was thinking maybe I could go around and see other places.

-yes, of course you can go on your own and I'll be waiting in tourist guide station.

-ok, so there's no problem if i go around?

no.

-see you

-bye.

Apadana, or the palace of Darius and Xerxes, is considered as the most magnificent and impressive monument of persepolis. On the entrance stairways of Apadana, pictures of people bringing gifts and souvenirs from distant lands for the king have been engraved. The famous lion-hunting picture, which refers to war and domination, is on the stairs.

The columns of Apadana were huge rocks of one piece brought from nearby mountains. After being extracted, these rocks were treated by artists who engraved pictures on them. On top of the columns, popular mythical pictures of the time were engraved. Some of the pictures have survived to date after 25 centuries since their creation.

Apadana involves a central square hall with 36 columns, three terraces and four towers on four outside corners of the hall and also a number of guard chambers to the south of the monument. Darius the Great ordered the construction of Apadana and it was completed during the rule of King Xerxes.

Techer palace is located to the southwest of Apadana and is southward facing. Techer palace, also known as Techra palace and mirror hall or private palace of Darius the Great, which was the winter palace, is among the first monuments excavated on the terrace of persepolis. The rocks of the palace are gray and reflect the image of the viewer. For this reason, it's also called House of Mirror or Mirror Hall.

Different pictures are visible on the walls of the palace's stairways. The palace also features inscriptions that have survived from the Achamenid kings Darius I, King Xerxes and Ardashir III.

Among all monuments of Persepolis, the stairways of Apadana are of great importance. There are two identical stairways which start from the northern and eastern yards of Apadana. The eastern stairway of Apadana features an exceptional and one-off event showing royal gaurds, vassals, noble people and subjects of the king. The stairway was excavated by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld in 1932 and has been decorated with 811 human faces and countless other pictures which have survived as a result of being buried under the earth. Lilies are the symbol of the Achamenid Empire. This flower, which in most pictures is seen in the hands of kings and dignitaries, symbolizes peace and friendship.

-so you've come here to Persepolis. what I'm pleased about coming here is that there are so many sights. do you think the same?

- well, i think it's been many years I wanted to come here. it never happened and for the first time in my life i was able to take a road trip with my father and come to see the sights here. I'm still in aaa. the last time i saw pieces of this in Paris in Louvre museum and i was in tears because it's a part of our history and we don't have half of it.

- it's like it's been .... from the actual place it was made. when i was looking around i felt some kind of energy going through me. like lots of history around here, lots of old thing and this is so spectacular for me, what about you. what do you feel about it?

- I feel exactly the same way. i feel like there is ghosts here. feels like the old king is still remains. it's interesting how everything throughout the ages how the kings have added pieces and little things here and there and it's still this logistic place. i wish there was more pieces of this. I wish we had more of it. what is left, I'm still thankful of what we have them. I'm still thankful from Iran that they are trying to reserve it and not letting people touch it. I've been a big lover of Cyrus and big lover of Persian empire, big lover of the history. i haven't lost my roots and i want to keep them because we're great civilization. we should still great civilization.

- I let you go around and get closer to your roots.

-thanks for everything man.

-nice to meet you. catch you later.

-yeah, take care

I had read some materials about ancient civilizations before going to Iran and had only heard about them and their ancient relics including the Persian civilization and its ancient kings. However, visiting the monuments in person and watching some structures dating back to 2500 years ago gives you a feeling that cannot be described unless you walk through the palaces and other relics of those ancient civilizations. Each dynasty takes over power from its predecessor and each has left a rock with a stairway or a column decorated with an inscription over years. These inscriptions speak of the dynasties' achievements. The historical continuity over different ages gives the viewer a sense of cultural clout and magnificence. The rich civilization was based on the abolishment of slavery and recognition of the basic rights of people, particularly women. Even when other lands were conquered, these laws applied to the people of those lands. History and chronicles tell us that these ancient monuments were finally destroyed after Alexander of Macedonia unleashed a retaliatory attack and set fire to the beautiful palaces. The monuments were buried under the earth for many years.

Naqsh-e Rustam is one of the most important and beautiful ancient monuments of Iran. It's located in Hajibaba Moutnain, 5 kilometers from Takht-e-Jamshid. Naqsh-e Rustam houses tombs of several Achamenid kings including Darius the Great, King Xerxes, Darius II and Ardashir I. It also contains rock reliefs depicting significant events of the Sassanid era: Elamite monuments from 2000 to 600 B.C.; the Achamenid monuments from 600 to 330 B.C.; and the Sassanid monuments from 224 to 651 A.D. The rock relief depicting the triumph of Shapur over Roman kings is located 10 meters east of the tomb of Darius the Great and is 11 meters long and 5 meters wide.

This rock relief depicts the victory of the Persians in the city of Raha where they crushed the Roman army. It also shows the captivity of Roman emperors Valerian and Philip the Arab. The rock relief was engraved at the command of Shapur I around 262 A.D. The monument is three times bigger than its normal size and it is one of the best pictures of the Sassanid era in terms of delicacy and significance. It evident that the rock relief was made according to the exact details as the costume of Valerian clearly looks like the clothes the Romans of the time.

Zoroastrian Ka'ba is a stone, tower-shaped monument which was built during the Achamenid reign. Archeologists attribute the construction of this mysterious monument to three purposes: guarding the sacred fire, serving as a place for keeping valuable documents and serving as a place for worshiping Anahita.

After visiting Pasragad, persepolis and Naqsh-e Rustam, we went to Haft Khan Restaurant of Shiraz to eat.

- this is one of the nice places in shiraz. it's called haft-khan.

-yes i was about to say I've seen some nice restaurants but this i one that stands out from the crowd.

-it has seven different floors, and seven different restaurants.

- oh, seven restaurants! it's like a shopping center

- and the basement is the traditional section.

- do we sit on this?

- yes, of course. you should sit in a traditional way with a traditional table cloth.

- so this is traditional cloth. is this?

- yes.

- are you ready to order?

- I've got a question actually. I'm quite interested in this pomegranate ... with rice

- that's a kind of traditional cuisine. it's called Fesenjan?

- Fesenjan?

- it's a mixture of pomegranate

- how does it taste?

it's good. but maybe for the first time you want to try something else.

- ok, sure. what do you suggest?

- i suggest this cabbage rice. this is the specialty of shiraz. it's shiraz's cuisine.

-ok.

- it's rice with meat balls and cabbage. tastes really good.

- sounds very interesting. so it's the traditional food they have here?

- yes, of course.

- ok well, thank you very much.

- so this is the dough?

-dough, yeah.

-thank you

Having Shiraz's traditional rice and cabbage in a pleasant atmosphere was one of my nicest moments during the trip. I think the taste and fragrance of the Persian cuisine pleases any palate. I also liked to try other traditional foods of Shriaz.

- so this is quite amazing architecture.

- yes, the restaurant is famous for its architecture besides the food. as you see this part is really amazing.

- yes, it's kind of really cool down here. i guess that's natural cooling. and is this one restaurant on its own?

- on the other floors are different restaurants with different architecture. like you see on the ceiling.

- yeah all the lights go different directions, and they have the strange light bulb here as well.

- yes they are big. aren't they?

Part 2

After I made plans for my visit to Shiraz, a travel agency coordinated a meeting between me and Mojtaba, a tour leader at the hotel I was staying at. He gave me a schedule for visiting sight-seeing places of Shiraz. I began with the most famous and attractive tourist resorts of Shriaz. Pasargad, which houses the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first Achamenid king, and dates back 2500 years ago.

Cyrus the Great left a charter, which is known as the first human rights charter in history. The charter is now kept at the British Museum in London.

The mausoleum of Cyrus has two distinct parts: six broad steps built on a square or rectangle base with an area of 165 square meters and a slandered roof; the walls are 5.1 meter thick; the base of the monument is made out of six step-like layers; the monument is eleven meters high.

The existence of Pulwar River has made Morghab Plateau a very fertile land for people. Pasargad is a vast complex of palaces and different monuments which are scattered across the plain. Pasargad palaces were built 2500 years ago at Cyrus's order. The surviving monuments of this historic complex are Cyrus's private palace, winged-man beast, audience palace, the residential palace, the audience hall, and the precinct fire.

After Pasargad, I visited Persepolis, which was the capital city of Darius I and his successors. This is a complex of inter-linked palaces. Each palace fills one's mind with marvel and magnificence. The Gate of Nations, the Palace of Apadana, the 100-pillar Palace. The site has a surface of 135 square meters

5 kilometers from Takht-e-Jamshid, the tombs of Achamenid kings are located in Naqsh-e Rustam. This is one of the most important ancient monuments of Iran and houses the graves of several Achamenid kings including Darius the Great, King Xerxes, Darius II and Ardashir I. There are also some rock reliefs about the important events of the Sassanid era.

In the lunar year 1187, Karim Khan Zand, a Persian ruler, built a monument over Hafez's tomb similar to his own monuments. The monument involves a hall with 4 tall solid stone columns and a big garden in front of it. An onyx tombstone was put on Hafez's grave, which has survived to date.

-it's interesting that this corridor has been extended in recent century. formally there were only four columns in the middle. if you look closely the four columns in the middle are different from the others.

- they look abit older.

- yeah, they extended this and added the other columns in the last century.

- so they made it that long from that small?

- yes, exactly. because at that time they found a French architect who designed this place.

- so let's take a look at the grave itself.

- yeah.

- look at the canopy from this side.

- looks really amazing. can you see the colors sparkling around with the lights?

-look at the tile works on the ceiling.

- where? oh yes, there are some writings there.

- and did you know that the top of the canopy is from copper?

- oh, i saw the greenly color, and I thought that it might be metal. i didn't know exactly. it's such an amazing atmosphere around here. I was wondering to go upstairs and check it out.

- so this is what?

- this is the grave of Hafiz, the most popular Iranian poet. people come here to say some verses of Quran to ask blessing for him.

- I was just wondering why you came to this famous place of Hafiz. I can see a lot of people here, and I was just wondering why you personally came?

- she says that she loves Hafiz and reading his poems gives her a peaceful feeling inside. so she loves Hafiz and she always comes here to visit. she does that often.

- oh, wow. so can you tell me what do you feel about Hafiz? do you have great emotions about it? what in particular do you like about Hafiz?

- she talks about Gutei. he is a German poet. he was so fund of Hafiz and he studied Persian for fifteen years so that he could compose some poems like hafiz. she says when Gute is so fund of Hafiz, why shouldn't i be as an Iranian and as a person from shiraz? she says she is so honored and proud to be from the same city Hafiz comes from.

well, thank you very much for explaining that to me. it's been very interesting to find out that you have so much passion for Hafiz. I've got to go now. hope you have a nice time here.

- you're welcome, bye.

- Shiraz is a very great city, I mean it's the point where you go to persepolis. that's one of the reasons i came here. hafiz and Sadi are buried here which are very big sights for them. there is a big forturous.

- so which part of Shiraz do you like the most?

- the bazaar is very nice. I like the bazaar area, the little alleys and the narrow streets. but also the north which has the lookout where you can see down to town.

- so you can see all over the sights?

- yeah. Persepolis is just amazing. if you can imagine that kind of luxury 400-300 bc. I mean that's insane. that's really awesome.

-so i know that the roof is made out of copper.

- oh yeah, i noticed.

- yeah, the green, blue area. well I'm sure you've got lots of places to see.

- yeah.

- nice to meet you.

- nice to meet you man.

- take care.

- bye.

One particular aspect of Shiraz is that apart from tourist attractions, medical tourism also plays a major role in attracting people from regional countries and even from Europe to the city thanks to research and scientific achievements in the field of medicine.

At Mojtaba's recommendation, we called on this research and medical center. He was waiting for me along with the head of public relations office of Dr. Khodadoust Ophthalmology Hospital, Mr. Mozaffar-e-Din Samipour for an interview.

- what's the importance of ophthalmology for this hospital for shiraz and for Iran?

- he says ophthalmology has been important since many years ago in the past, and has been always one of the medical majors in Iran. and this hospital is particularly important and one of the most important cornea surgeries was done in 1968 by dr. khodadoust who was a majour figure in this field.

- so how important is this hospital for eye surgery in comparison to the middle-east and the world?

- the hospital is known because of dr. khodadoust and he's a world known figure. he invented a special procedure for doing cornea surgery. he has a special way of doing stitches which is known as khodadoust line. so this hospital is very important and many people from Persian golf and middle-east countries come here to have the surgery. and it is very well-known because of three reasons.very professional doctors, advanced technology and dr. khodadoust himself.

-thank you very much for having me. it's been a pleasure meeting you as well as seeing your facilities. i hope that maybe in the future we'd meet again.

Iranian ophthalmologists have managed to implant miniature telescope into the eye for the first time to treat severe visual disorder, thus putting an end to the US and British monopoly on the technique. Iran is now known as the third country having this specialty. Optic miniature telescope is one of the most sophisticated lenses in the world. It improves people's sight by relying on the healthy parts around the retina. The telescope is put in the eyes of the patient who suffer from severe visual disorder.

Dr. Ali Tavallali, retina and eye cancer specialist, was the first to successfully carry out this complicated surgery in Iran.

cornea transplant was for the first time conducted in Iran in 1935 in Farabi hospital by professor Shams. Later, between 1967 and 1977, the surgery was carried out using more sophisticated techniques by Dr. Khodadust in Shiraz. Today, this complex and delicate operation is conducted by at several hospitals. Dr. Sasan Niknam is one of the best cornea specialists in Iran who does cornea transplant surgeries at Dr. Khodadust hospital in Shiraz.

-so, dr. what's going on here? what sort of operation are you doing here?

-that's a cornea transplantation. a redraft. in case we have any kind of cornea disease which we cannot do a cornea clarity, we have to replace the cornea.....

- so is it quite hard to do?

- no. it's not a hard procedure. not nowadays, it was hard 2-3 years ago.

- so there is new technology.

- yes we have new technique. good microscopes, good ....

- as you know, to be the best we need surgical techniques and new machines. we're always trying to be the best in the region and the world. we try. Although we are in the sanction and we have difficulty new machines and new lasers, but until now we have been able to take what we need. all the physicians working here travel to new congresses and new meetings, training courses all over the world to be always the best. this hospital is one of the bests in the middle-east, no doubt. we have patients coming here from Persian gulf, costal countries like Emirate, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, turkey. this is one of the most sophisticated hospitals in the country and in the region.

- so in the middle-east it's one of the best.

-yeah. it's one of the best.

-How do you feel about working in the best hospital in the middle-east?

- I love working here. this hospital is founded by professor Khodadoust. he is the father of cornea transplant.

- so, thank you very much for talking to me.

- thank you for coming. have a good day.

Cataract and glaucoma are routine surgeries at Dr. Khodadust Hospital. The patients are quickly discharged after the surgery to rest at home. Dr. Sa'adollah Pouyan, a cornea specialist, was doing a cataract surgery after which I talked to him.

- so, doctor Pouyan, what new procedure did you use in this operation.

-we do with my collogues in this center some ........, and some new operations. we do ........ with many kinds of cornea graph, such as......... operation. this is a ... and cornea graph.........

One of the most famous architectural monuments of the Islamic period in Shiraz is Shah-e-Cheragh. I headed for the monument after leaving Dr. Khodadust hospital.

Some sight-seeing places of Shiraz are religious sites of the city. One of them is Shah-e Cheragh, which is the shrine of the son of the seventh Shia Imam Moussa al-Kazem. History tells us that he was killed while he was trying to join his brother by his enemies in Shiraz and was buried here. This monument was built during the reign of Atabakan Fars in the sixth lunar century. The monument comprises a porch in front and a vast shrine behind the porch and a dome. The minarets are decorated with beautiful tiles embellished with names of God and Quranic verses. The Persian and Arabic calligraphy which has adorned the tiles is so beautiful and spectacular that I can't take my eyes off them.

The shrine has been repaired throughout different eras including during the reign of the Safavid king Shah Ismail, the Afshar king Nader Shah and the Qajar king Fat'h Ali Shah Qajar. This was because different kings of Iran attached much importance to the great men of religion.

The people of Shiraz come to Shah-e Cheragh for worshipping. During the prayers' time, one can see huge crowds in this scared place while kids play.

The interior of the shrine has been adorned with colorful fine mirrors and the margins of the mirrors and tiles are decorated with all kinds of beautiful Persian and Arabic calligraphy.

Part 3

After I made plans for my visit to Shiraz, a travel agency coordinated a meeting between me and Mojtaba, a tour leader at the hotel I was staying at. He gave me a schedule for visiting sight-seeing places of Shiraz. I began with the most famous and attractive tourist resorts of Shriaz. Pasargad, which houses the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first Achamenid king, and dates back 2500 years ago

Cyrus the Great left a charter, which is known as the first human rights charter in history. The charter is now kept at the British Museum in London.

The mausoleum of Cyrus has two distinct parts: six broad steps built on a square or rectangle base with an area of 165 square meters and a slandered roof; the walls are 5.1 meters thick; the base of the monument is made out of six step-like layers; the monument is eleven meters high.

The existence of Pulwar River has made Morghab Plateau a very fertile land for people. Pasargad is a vast complex of palaces and different monuments which are scattered across the plain. Pasargad palaces were built 2500 years ago at Cyrus's order. The surviving monuments of this historic complex are Cyrus's private palace, winged-man beast, audience palace, the residential palace, the audience hall, and the precinct fire.

After Pasargad, I visited Persepolis, which was the capital city of Darius I and his successors. This is a complex of inter-linked palaces. Each palace fills one's mind with marvel and magnificence. The Gate of Nations, the Palace of Apadana, the 100-pillar Palace, Tachar palace.

The site has a surface of 135 square meters. it has been made totally out of stone and no material has been used in-between the huge rocks.

5 kilometers from Persepolis, the tombs of Achamenid kings are located in Naqsh-e Rustam. This is one of the most important ancient monuments of Iran and houses the graves of several Achamenid kings including Darius the Great, King Xerxes, Darius II and Ardashir I. There are also some rock reliefs about the important events of the Sassanid era.

The rock relief depicting the triumph of Shapur over Roman kings is located 10 meters east of the tomb of Darius the Great and is 11 meters long and 5 meters wide.

This rock relief depicts the victory of the Persians in the city of Raha where they crushed the Roman army. It also shows the captivity of Roman emperors Valerian and Philip the Arab. The rock relief was engraved at the command of Shapur I around 262 A.D. The monument is three times bigger than its normal size and is one of the best pictures of the Sassanid era in terms of delicacy and significance. It evident that the rock relief was made according to the exact details as the costume of Valerian and it clearly looks like the clothes the Romans of the time.

I then went to visit the mausoleum of the most popular poet of Shiraz; Hafiz, as I had already planned to do so.

One particular aspect of Shiraz is that apart from tourist attractions, medical tourism also plays a major role in attracting people from regional countries and even from Europe to the city thanks to research and scientific achievements in the field of medicine.

At Mojtaba's recommendation, we called on this research and medical center.

Some sight-seeing places of Shiraz are religious sites of the city. One of them is Shah-e Cheragh, which is the shrine of the son of the seventh Shia Imam Moussa al-Kazem.

I then visited Eram Garden, which is also Shiraz's Botany Research Center.

-Gavin, I've made an arrangement with one of my colleagues. she is an expert in literature. she'll show you the place.

- oh, thanks.

-hi

-hi

- this is miss Arjmand and this is Gavin Hall

-nice to meet you

- nice to meet you too.

- Gavin's from the UK. would you show him the place?

- off course, it'll be a pleasure.

-that would be very nice, thank you very much.

- you're welcome.

- ok, go and look around. I'll leave. ok?

- ok, bye.

- we'll talk about the building, and the history of the building. we can also talk about other attractive places in Shiraz.

The garden was built during the reign of the Qajar king Nesser-e-Din Shah based on architectural patterns of the Zand and Saffavid eras. In front of the main building, which overlooks the garden, a big fountain has been made. The pool reflects the image of the building. The surface of the poll is 335 quarters and its periphery has been built with 18 huge pieces of solid stone. The main building is in the west of the garden. This three-story building faces the east and is a masterpiece of industry and art of the Qajar era in terms of architecture, painting, lithograph, tiling and beds.

The porch of the garden is eastward and is on the second and third floor. There are two lofty stone pillars in front of the porch and the top of the pillars have been engraved very skillfully. The top of the columns depict men in the Qajar era costumes as well as symmetrical images and figures.

- so, tell me a bit about Hafiz. is he well-known in Iran? is he quite famous?

- yes, he's quite famous. this is the book Hafiz. he is one of the most famous poets in Iran. he was from Shiraz, and he's quite popular between Iranians and specially Shirazi people.

- oh, really?

-yes, you know, based on an old tradition, when people have something in their mind, they randomly open the book, and read one of the poems of Hafiz and then they try to make a relation between what they have in mind and the concept of the poem.

-so is that important that they have a connection between what they have in their mind and what's written in the page?

-yeah. because it helps them decide what to do.

- I see you have opened the book, what does it say?

- do you have something in your mind?

- yes, I've got something.

-ok, let's try... that's a good one. I read it in Persian first and then translate it for you.

- ok, first Persian then.

- you know, the concept of this poem is about love and friendship. it means that you have to be kind and helpful to other people and you have to forget about enemies and pain that you've had before. it means that you have to appreciate your good times, because time is passing and you have to be grateful about good time and good opportunities that you have

- I think that's a really meaningful poem. it has such a powerful meaning.

-yes

-I'll definitely take it with me every step of the day

-in many poems of Hafez, the main concept is love, different kinds of love. virtual love, love for god, love for people. Hafez says this concept in different ways and this is one of the attractive aspects of poems of Hafez. i don't know if it was related to what you had in mind or not

-yes, actually I was thinking about love and passion, especially with the surrounding area, and I will definitely take every word of that poem with every step i take today

-so our old tradition works for you

-definitely, i think i will look at more poems and read more of Hafez

-very good

-thank you very much for explaining that to me

-you're welcome

at last I can understand the eruption of Hafez and Sa'adi's poetic creativity by visiting the vibrant atmosphere of Eramn garden and seeing all types of fresh flowers and plants that have gathered here.

Vakil Bazaar is one of the most famous traditional and historic bazaars of Iran. The bazaar was built at the command of Karim Khan Zand. Vakil Bazaar is in centre of Shiraz. The historic Vakil Mosque and Vakil Bath are also next to the bazaar. The width of Vakil Bazaar is more than other ones. There are 74 vaults with a height of more than 11 meters, which is higher than other roofs. The shops along the bazaar have been built one meter above the earth to protect it from humidity.

- the bazaar is actually famous for all these handicrafts. the wood works and wood carvings as you've noticed. these are called...... these are for Holly Quran.

- so this is a book set

-yes, exactly.. and you see these bags?

-oh, yeah. that's really cool design

-yes

-it has different viveing

-yeah, different vivings, and it looks like a clean kind of rug, you know?

-remember the old Iranian tradition to bargain over price. everybody enjoys that. let's get in.

- so I would like to buy that rug probably for about one million, five hundred. is that ok?

- one million seven hundred and fifty?

- i sell this one 3 million.

- he says that discount can be 5 to 10 percent. it is something specified. it can not be half price.

- two million nine hundred fifty.

- that's the last price he can give.

- two million nine hundred?

- that's the last price. it's fixed.

- common a little bit more

- two million and nine hundred.

- he agreed.

- ok, that's reasonable to me

- ok, so you have a deal.

- I think so, yeah.

- that's a deal...... ok, let's go.

- what brings you to Shiraz?

- we are with our guide, looking around

-it's very nice here, isn't it?

-yeah, very nice people

- how long have you been here?

- seventeen days in total

-oh, really?

-yeah

-so have you been only in Shiraz?

- this is our second day, and we are leaving to Yazd, then Isfahan, and then we go back to Spain.

- so you're going all around Iran?

- yeah. we went to the north, to the Caspian sea, and we went to the mountains, and to Tabriz, Qazvin

- so you've seen pretty much so far?

- yeah, seventeen days

- what is it?

- it's like a mixture.

- oh, yeah.

- but i have no idea

- what do you think about the people ?

- I think the people are incredibly nice here, incredibly nice. i think that they have this idea that Iran is such a bad, a bad....I know the word. it's like the image of abroad from Iran is not good, so when you come here they just want to welcome you and see that they are very nice people

- so you are very enjoying yourself?

- a lot

- have you made any friends here?

- a lot. they ask you to take pictures, and very nice, yeah. i didn't expect them to be like that. i expected them to be more serious.

- yeah, when i came here i thought the same as you, but i'm really surprised.

- even my doctor said don't go there, and then you come here and nothing happens.

-ok, well, nice meeting you here.

- nice to meet you

- bye

- bye.

- they've got lots of different stones here

- yeah, there are lots of , ornamental stones. in this place you can find lots of antiques. this is a place you can buy a lot of antiques, handicrafts, things like that, ornamental stones

- so, what's this guy here in the....

- these ... belong to Pahlavi. the former king

- i see. ok.

- really nice

-yeah, very nice. they're animals , right?

-yes. oh, look at this guy

-looks really nice

-hi, can i take a picture?

-yeah.

- just press that button there

- alright. don't shoot me, ok? ok, ready?

- ready

- say cheese.

- cheese. that's good?

-yeah, thank you.

- thanks very much

- oh yes, that's very good, thank you very much

- these are handmade. they are nice, ha?

-maybe later

Part 4

After I made plans for my visit to Shiraz, a travel agency coordinated a meeting between me and Mojtaba, a tour leader at the hotel I was staying at. He gave me a schedule for visiting sight-seeing places of Shiraz.

In the west of Bazaar Vakil and in the rear of the sword-makers' area, there is a big and beautiful mosque, called Soltani Vakil or Vakil Mosque. The mosque has been built according to the traditional Iranian architecture and beautifully shows the relation between the world and religion. The northern and southern iwans are decorated with typical Shirazi seven-colored tiles and mosaic Vakil Mosque covers an area of 8,660 square meters. Vakil Mosque was built in the lunar year 1187 at the same time when the Vakil Bazaar and Square was constructed during the Zand era. Vakil Mosque covers an area of 8,660 square meters. Its prayer hall (Shabestan) has an area of approximately 5000 square meters. The speakers chair in this hall is cut from a solid piece of green marble with a flight of 14 steps. The arcades of the entrance door and the margins of the iwans are decorated with Quranic verses written in white Sols and Naskh calligraphy on an azure background.

Namazi Hospital is a general and specialized as well as educational hospital. It is the first medical center where organ transplant has been conducted.

The Late Mr. Mohammad Namazi began the construction of the hospital in 1952 and it was operational in 1955.

-let's go

- so tell me a bit about the importance of this hospital for Shiraz and for the middle-east

- as i told you shiraz is not just a cultural and historical place. there are different features. the are important such as shiraz being a medical center, and this hospital called Namazi hospital is one of the most important hospitals in middle-east, particularly because of its transplanting surgeries. many people come here to do transplanting surgeries on kidney, pancreas and liver

-so it must have really experienced doctors here then.

-yes, they are experienced professional doctors as well as high tech, and they're trying to find new methods.

- ok, that's good. so , let's meet somebody else.

Namazi Hospital has been built in an area of 25 square hectares and the hospital's own area is 7500 square meters. And it had 300 beds. But this number has been doubled and the hospital now has 600 beds.

Mojtaba coordinated a meeting between me and an organ transplant specialist and also with some organ accepters. I was most pleased by meeting a 6-year-old girl named Asma who had received a successful liver transplant. She was recovering in the hospital and was going to be discharged in a few days. Asma was so lovable and sang a childish song for me.

I then met with Emad, an oil engineer. He had recently received a kidney transplant.

- we have different kind of organ transplantations in Iran and it is possible in different parts of the country for example in Shiraz about 3 to 4 hundred liver transplant is done every year, and heart transplant is performed in several centers in different parts of Iran

also lung transplant has been done in two centers in Tehran, and about transplantation like Shiraz that show that liver transplant can be done easily in Iran. different kinds of liver transplantation. they do whole liver transplantation, partial liver transplantation, living downer, and also they can do gught transplantation, intestinal transplantation, pancreatic transplantation. so it means that everything is possible in Iran.

I also had a chat with Mr. Naghdian who had also received a successful liver transplant and was in good condition.

Arg Karim Khan , theCitadel of Karim Khan. the royal palace of Karim Khan Zand ,1193

Karim Khan Zand, the founder of the Zand dynasty, was the just ruler of Iran in the 12th lunar century. Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of the time and bought the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the citadel. Arg of Karim Khan was built between the years 1766 and 1767. Arg of Karim Khan is located in central Shriaz. After Karim Khan declared Shriaz as his capital city, he chose the palace as his residence. As a result, it came to be called Arg of Karim Khan. It has a land area of 4,000 square meters and is in the centre of a 12,800 square meter compound.

-we're talking about the wooden doors and the metal things and knockers as i told you. so there where different knockers for men and women, and they made different sounds. i'll show it to you later.

- is it the rittem or is it the sound?

- the sound. it's interesting that this place was used both as the residence for the king and like a military castle, and because the residence of the king should've be protected very well, we have very high walls. for security they have high walls.15 meters.

- very high.

- so they have these high walls for security. we're actually talking about the castle. it was used as a prison in the past century for a while and that is why a lot of damage has been caused to some of the rooms.

- what year was that?

- it was more than 50 years ago.

- even now locals call this place a prison. you can see the whole image of the building in the water, and when people do a ebolution the whole image goes away.

- so if i do this

- yeah, and the philosophy behind it is that the .... thing go away very fast, and you should not worry about it.

- that's a very powerful method. i really like that.

Arg of Karim Khan has four tall walls that are interconnected by 4 adobe towers at the height of 14 meters. The tiling of the arcade of the citadel was added to the monument during the Qajar era. The foundation and walls of the Arg Karim Khan has been made of stone and baked adobe has been sued for the construction of other parts of the citadel.

- let's take a look at inside

- wow, look at all those colors.

- we have the king.

-oh, he's that guy, Karimkhan Zand.

-Yes, he's the founder of the dynasty and also the ministers and here you can see amazing paintings on the walls.

- is that gold?

-yes, that's gold painting

The interior decorations of the citadel including the frames were made of Yazd and Tabriz onyx. Gold and azure and mineral and herbal colors were used for the paintings on upper parts. The pictures inside the chambers are mainly arabesque flowers and plants.

- you can see the amazing stained glasses.

- so many spectacular colors

-yeah, much more spectacular from inside I guess.

- definitely.

- and also we can see the windows which work like vertically

- yeah, they move upward and down.

In 1920, when Arg was given to the police to be used as a big prison, they covered all the paintings and other artistic works with paste and most chambers and halls were changed into small cells using walls to partition them.

The traditional teahouses have a warm and intimate atmosphere and they usually serve the popular drink of Iranians, tea.

-hello

- hello

- welcome

-thank you very much

-would you like to order?

- yes, i would like to order a tea please.

- ok, anything else?

- no, just tea, thank you

-ok, you're welcome.

Iranians drink all kinds of tea and this is an integral part of the breakfast table. However, tea is served after dinner and any other meal. I did what Iranians do out of habit and I went to a famous teahouse of Shiraz. The teahouse is in the Moshirieh Bazaar. This also gave me an opportunity to think about the achievements of my trip.

The mausoleum of Sa'adi, the great Iranian poet of the 7th lunar century, is in the same place of solitude which was his living place.

- what's this thing called here?

- that is the mausoleum of Sa'adi's. Sa'di lived 700 years ago and

- 700 years ago?

-yes, so the building has been reconstructed a couple of times since that time. sometimes it was destroyed and rebuilt again, but the current building is from the contemporary century.

- so that's about 70 years ago.

- yes, exactly.

Sa'adi's mausoleum is located 4 kilometers northeast of Shiraz, on the foothills of a mountain, next to Delgosha Garden. Sheikh Mosleh-e-Din Sa'adi Shirazi had left so deep an impression on the Persian language and literature that many of the proverbs now used by Iranians in their daily conversations are from his works.

- and here's the stone grave.

- so, someone is sleeping in there.

- they have restored the stone with the original one. they restored in different times. this is stating one of the famous poems of Sa'adi.

The genius was born in the lunar year 606 to a well-known family. The works of Sa'adi were matchless before his time and were the epitome of Persian prose and poetry. His most important prose work was Golestan. It includes Persian and Arabic pieces and ethical stories that were taught in most Islamic countries. Sa'adi's most important poetic work is Boustan or Sa'adi Nameh., which involves topics on mysticism, ethics, education, speech and principles of life.

There is a pond in the mausoleum of Sa'adi whose clean and cold water originate from several springs and aqueducts. The spring, known as the fish pond, is a place where the beliefs of the people of Shiraz are deeply rooted. Numerous historical findings show that Sa'ad had a house beside the spring and used to feed orphans and the poor here. Sa'adi wrote his works including Boustan and Golestan beside the pond.

People believe that the fish pond which originates from the Sa'adi aqueduct is sacred. There are rare fish in the Sa'adi fish pond that are useful for treating some diseases. Carp of Sa'adi, which has come to be known by the name, is a unique species that only exists in this pond. Studies by the biology department of Shiraz University have shown that black fish of Sa'adi and Gol Cheragh fish are species which only exist in the pond and can help treat dermal diseases.

Many in Iran believe that the odes of Sa'adi is his main characteristic which makes him different from other poets.

As a professional editor who has worked for several magazines and newspapers, I cannot describe in words what I saw and felt in Shiraz. The feelings of freshness, vibrancy, genuineness and stability which I experienced in Shiraz are beyond writing any type of report. During my short time which is left from my stay in Shiraz, I will try to gain a correct and complete picture of this spectacular city. I think one can only say this about Shiraz: "A city which can only be experienced from naked eye." In fact, it's impossible to give the audience an exact feeling about the city using photographs and films or a written report.

The Quran Gate today serves as a recreation site at the edge of the city of Shiraz. People gather here to spend their leisure time. However, this site dates back before the Zand period, that is , when Azododolleh Deylami put a copy of the Quran on top of a huge monument like the gate to the city so that passengers would pass beneath the holy book for their safety. During the Zand period, Karim Khan Zand rebuilt the Quran Gate and added a chamber to the monument. He also put two copies of the Quran written in calligraphy script by Sultan Ebrahim on the chamber on top of the gate. The Quran copies have now been moved to the Pars Museum. Several earthquakes took place during the Qajar era that badly damaged the Quran Gate. An architect from the city of Shiraz repaired the damage. In 1931, the monument was totally destroyed by Reza Shah Pahlavi. 13 years later, however, it was rebuilt by a Shirazi merchant. They have now written some Quranic verses in Sols and Naskh calligraphy around the Quran Gate. I also followed this religious tradition of Iranians and passed beneath the blessed gate so that I would have the blessing of the Quran and good prayers while leaving the city.

Now this quote from the Achamenid king, Darius, who prayed for his people 2500 years ago, still resonates in my ears.

"Lord, protect this country from foe, famine and falsehood."

   

Coming Up Online