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shiraz tour guide
#1
 Early morning at Nasir al-Molk Mosque
 
Nasir al-Molk mosque, also called the Pink Mosque, certainly is one of the places to visit in Shiraz, but why early morning? If you go by 9 am, you will enjoy a wonderful interplay of lights and shades caused by the sun rays seeping through the colorful stained glass of doors and windows. The mosque dates back to the recent Qajar dynasty and even though not too big, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Shiraz. Its decorations are mesmerizing, both inside and outside, comprising of finely intricate pastel-hued patterns, the pink roses typical of the Qajar-era art and sophisticate carvings
Open from 8 am to 8 pm
Soak in history in Persepolis
A trip to Shiraz is not complete without a day tour to Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Founded by Darius The Great around 518 BC, the city was the ceremonial seat of the empire where leaders, kings and official came from all over the world to pay their respect to the head of what was one of the greatest empires of their time. Persepolis was huge and majestic, and still today we can grasp its grandeur already from its entrance, known as the Gate of All Nations, where mythological figures welcomed the visitors and protected the city from all evils .If you take a full tour (I highly recommend this), you will start from Pasargadae, about 135 km from ShirazPasargadae is the oldest capital of the Achaemenid Empire and it was founded by Cyrus The Great, whose imposing tomb is one of the main sites of the area. On your way back you will stop at Persepolis and the tour can take up to one hour because of its many different areas such as the Apadana staircase, the tomb of Artaxerses, the palace of Darius and countless carvings and decorations.Even if you are tired, before getting back to Shiraz make sure you stop also at the wonderful Naqsh-e Rostam burial complex displaying graves from different periods of the Persian Empire
 
Read love poems at Hafez Mausoleum
The resting place of beloved 14th-century Shirazi poet Hafez, this mausoleum is a pilgrimage destination for Iranians. More than just a poet, Hafez still has a role in Iranians’ daily life when they need solace, advice for the future and during Yalda night, the longest of the year, when families gather around a table and read his poem
 
Built under the Zand king Karim Khan, the tomb is a simple white-stone grave placed under a copper roof supported by eight pillars and with a ceiling beautifully decorated with blue mosaics. Do join the crowd of Iranians sitting around the grave and chattering the evening away, maybe with a book of Hafez poems on your hands. There is a small library just beside selling Hafez poems, they also have some versions in other languages. Before leaving, you can even stop at the eatery for a tea or a warm soup
Feel like a king at the Karim Khan Arg
Located in the very city center, the Arg of Karim Khan is a medieval citadel commissioned by and named after Karim Khan, king of the Zand dynasty. Built in the eighteenth century, the castle is closed to the city’s main bazaar and won’t come unnoticed as it’s a massive brick construction that served as the king’s fort and residence
 
Inside the building, visit the big courtyard, the rooms embellished with frescoes and the fascinating baths, traditional hammam with all the architectural features and decorations typical of the local culture and nature. This is obviously the private baths of the royal family, but not far there are also the public Vakil Baths where you can see a slice of the old local life
 Enjoy the nature of the Eram Garden
The most famous among the many parks Shiraz boasts, Eram Garden was built following the principles of the traditional Persian Garden, with the water element placed in the middle. For the important role the Persian Garden has always played within the Iranian society, architecture, traditions, UNESCO has included it in its heritage sites’ list
 
Even though the pavilion in the middle of the park was built pretty recently during the Qajar era, Eram Garen was started by the Seljuq rulers in the eleventh century. Today it’s part of the Botanical Garden of Shiraz University, and this is why it hosts a myriad of different plants, flowers and trees
Open daily from 8 am to 7 pm
 Walk around the intoxicating Vakil Bazaar
Absolutely not to miss is the Vakil Bazaar located right in the heart of the city, Darb’e Shahzadeh, near Vakil mosque. Considered one of masterpieces of the Zand dynasty, brick vaulted walls are among its main architectural features
 
Populated by both tourists and locals, here you can shop for the most different Iranian products, from Persian rugs to saffron, pistachio, tea, spices and local sweets. While walking around the big market, try the popular khakshir, a seed-base detoxing drink
Open daily from early morning to evening, except on Fridays and national holidays
Be amazed at the Vakil Mosque
Close to the bazaar in the same Vakil historical neighborhood, don’t miss the beautiful Vakil Mosque. Built in 1773 during the rule of the Zand king Karim Khan, the mosque is 11,000 square-meter big. A forest of 48 huge pillars surrounds the menbar (pulpit), built with fourteen marble stairs
 
Before leaving the Vakil central district, devote another hour to the fascinating traditional baths right in front of the Vakil Mosque to have a hint of how was life back in the days, what was the role of public baths and what were the different figures within the old Persian society
Vakil Mosque is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm
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