Mausoleum of Saadi
The great Persian Traveler poet
The first mausoleum on the site of Saadi's burial place was built by his contemporary admirers and was already standing in 1292. Ibn Batutta gives a detailed account of the memorial during his visit in 1347, fifty-five years after Saadi's death. The original mausoleum was shattered in an earthquake and was rebuilt during the rule of Karim Khan Zand, who gave the order to create a large, stately burial chamber for the great poet. Completed in 1773, the new mausoleum was made of bricks and had two floors. The first floor had two chambers separated by a vestibule, which terminated in a staircase leading to the upper floor. The gravestone of Saadi, protected by a casket of fretted wood, was placed inside the east chamber. The west room later held the grave of Shurideh, another poet of Shiraz origin.
The upper floor also had several rooms, but out of respect for Saadi, no room was constructed above his burial chamber. The Zand structure was rebuilt several times before a new building was created in 1952. It was built in the middle of a beautiful garden which provides an appropriate resting place for the poet | of roses and nightingales. The current site occupies an area of about 8,000 sq.m. The main building covers 260 sq. m, and 140 sq. m are allocated for the auxiliary structures; the rest of the property is taken up by the garden. On the south side, the mausoleum is dominated by a lofty portico, supported by eight four-sided columns sheathed in layers of pinkish marble. The outer wall of the tomb-chamber is decorated with designs in colorful faience.
There are two pools, one to the north and another to the south of the entrance area, and still another pool is located opposite the arched passageway. The tomb chamber is crowned by a turquoise dome. Its walls are faced with tile panels, on which are inscribed selections from Saadi's works. A tall marble panel with a carved Nastalig inscription at the foot of the tombstone gives a brief history of the poet and his mausoleum.
Saadi's tombstone occupies the center of the octagonal room. The stone is a replica, which is placed here in lieu of the original tombstone, broken, which dated from the Atabakan period. In honor of their beloved poet, many Iranians who come to pay tribute to him place two fingers on his grave and recite the first chapter of the Koran in his name. A passageway with seven tall arches on either side is annexed to Saadi's burial chamber. At the end of it is a chamber that contains the grave of Shurideh. Saadi's garden is irrigated by a qanat, which also brings water to an underground fishpond to the west of the poet's mausoleum. The pond is full of coins, tossed in by people hoping to return to the site. Saadi's grave remains a place of pilgrimage for all lovers of Persian poetry.