Sunday, June 21, 2009

Travelogue : Iran : Shiraz

30/05/09 : Shiraz, Iran

'Ctd from Persepolis post

After visiting the Naqsh Rustam tombs, we stopped by at Quran gate to take pictures. Darvaze Qur’ān is located at the northeastern entrance of Shiraz, on the way to Marvdasht and Esfahan, between Baba Kouhi and Chehel Magham Mountains near Allah-O-Akbar Gorge. It is believed that if you walk under the gate, your journey will be blessed. (You walk under the Quran)

Vakil Bazaar

Evening was spent at the Vakil Bazaar. They have beautiful carpets and kilims. However, they are expensive, small ones start at around USD100. So we just took pictures of them.

Vakil Bazaar

Chador @ bazaar

Carpets @ bazaar

Kilim @ bazaar

Hamed's house

That night Hamed came to join us for dinner at the Roodaki restaurant, just nearby our Roodaki hotel. We had nice joojeh and kubedeh kebab with berenj (rice). Nice! Then Hamed took us to Quran gate (it is more beautiful to see it at night). He also wanted to take us to Hafez tomb, but it was closed that night. He then invited us to his house, which was quite a distance from the city center. We met with his siblings (he’s the eldest), but his parents were not at home at the time. They served us with really huge water melons! (I haven’t seen one that big!) After that, back to hotel and retire for the day.

Chelomok (mok=chicken)

Nan, eaten with raw onion (appetizer)

Jujeh kebab (chicken)

Hamed joined us for dinner

Quran gate at night

Part of Quran gate

Joining in with the locals - picnicing at Quran Gate

At Hamed's home, with his siblings

31/05/09: Shiraz – Esfahan

We engaged Saba again to bring us around Shiraz today. We started with the Karim Khan fort (or citadel or ‘Arg’), which was just within walking distance from our hotel. Karim Khan Zand 1705- 1779), was the ruler and de facto Shah of Iran from 1760 until 1779. He founded the Zand dynasty. During his reign,relations with Britain were restored, and he allowed the East India Company to have a trading post in southern Iran.

Arg e-Karim Khan

It served as his living quarters. In shape it resembles a medieval fortress. Arg-e-Karim Khan was built in 1180 AH (1766-7). To read more about Karim Khan, go here. Entrance fee : 5000 Iran Riyal. I especially love the hamam (bathroom) and the glass window. Gorgeous!

Karim Khan Arg entrance

Karim Khan Arg from outside

The garden inside

Wax figures re-enacting the scene of seeking an audience with the Shah

Hercules of Shiraz ;-)


Beautiful glass window

Eram Garden

Next destination was Eram Garden. We had to go to the garden first because it would be closed for siesta from 2 to 4pm. We had to take a taxi as it was quite far. We decided to take a ‘teksi sapu’ for Riyal 3000 each. All 6 adults and 1 child squeezed into the sedan taxi! K Liza and Saba sat together at the front seat.


Eram Botanical Garden entrance fee was more expensive at Riyal 40,0000 because it is a private garden of University of Shiraz, i.e. not funded by the government. We saw a Persian cat (obviously- we are in Persia after all!) The kitties here are really fat and fluffy!

The facade of Eram Garden

Here kitty kitty...

Flowers of Eram Garden

Hafez tomb

We then headed to Hafez tomb. Hafez was a renowned poet from Shiraz. His works garnered interest from as far as Germany as he was greatly admired by a fellow poet named Goethe. Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī, known by his pen name Hafez (1315 – 1390) was the most celebrated Persian lyric poet and is often described as a poet's poet. The major theme of his ghazals are love, the celebration of wine and intoxication, and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges, and examples of moral rectitude. Read more about Hafez here.

Iranians greatly worship their poets, scientists and Imams that they dedicated shrines and decorated their tombs with intricate designs. See the ceiling art with beautifully decorated tiles. They also go the tombs and shrines to seek blessings. In our case today, a family brought their 1 day old son as an ode to Hafez as they had been trying for years to get a son.

Hafez tomb intricate decorations

The 1-day-old baby boy

Date trees at Hafez tomb compound

Sa'di tomb

Last stop today was Sa’di tomb before checking out from the hotel at 3pm. Sa’di was also another great Persian poet – his real name was Abou Mohammad Sharaffudin Muslehe bin Abdullah, born 1184. He adopted the name Sa’di after the ruler Atabak Sa’de Zangi. He founded the literary school of Shiraz by creating invaluable works such as Bustan (The Orchard) in 1257 and Gulistan (Rose Garden) in 1258 as well as odes and lyric Ghazals. He is recognized not only for the quality of his writing, but also for the depth of his social thoughts. He died in 1283/1291 (unconfirmed). Reflections. His tomb is surrounded by hills.

Bustan is entirely in verse (epic metre) and consists of stories aptly illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment) as well as of reflections on the behaviour of dervishes and their ecstatic practices. Gulistan is mainly in prose and contains stories and personal anecdotes. The text is interspersed with a variety of short poems, containing aphorisms, advice, and humorous. Read more about Sa’di here.

Pool outside Sa'di tomb

I love the fish pond-cum-café here. We had ‘noodly’ ice cream (looks like glass noodle), but it tastes good! The water for the fish pond came from the hills, so it was cooling.

The fish pond

The beautiful fish pond cafe

The 'noodly' ice cream

With the locals

We then said our goodbyes to Saba and promised to keep in touch. After checking out, we went searching for lunch (as it was already late, most restaurants had run out of rice and shops closed for siesta). Luckily we found one that was open and still had rice.
Jubah searching
After recharging, we went to search for jubah around the bazaar area. We couldn’t find one that fits (they were either too small or too big). If it fitted, the design wasn’t really what we wanted, or it was too expensive. So I went back empty handed, but K Liza managed to get one for her sister (who is slimmer).
Our next destination was to Esfahan, flight was at 8.50pm Although the journey took a little over an hour, we were still served with meals – a chicken burger, orange juice and a packet of biscuit. Enough as dinner : )

Shiraz airport
Domestic meal



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