10 Fascinating Things to Do in Shiraz
From walking in the tomb of a master of Persian poetry and literature to discovering history in the great Achaemenid fallen empire, all of these are some of the things you can do in Shiraz. For over 2000 years, Shiraz is known as the center of the Persian or Achaemenid empire. The most important city in the medieval Islamic world and the capital of the Zand dynasty (AD 1747-79) and arguably one of the important cities in the history of Iran. For these reasons, this city is one of the most important tourist destinations in Iran.
You won’t have trouble finding things to do in Shiraz. Wander its streets, get lost in its gardens, barter at the bazaar, admire stunning mosques, or try the rich tastes of Iranian drinks. Whatever interest you have, Shiraz has something for you. Whether you’re a history buff, into poetry, art, or nature, Shiraz has something to offer for everyone. To experience Persian history more fully before Islam you’ll need to visit Persepolis where you can immerse in the brilliant civilization of the Achaemenian empire.
A glorious city-palace complex designed to showcase the wealth and power of the Persian Empire. Its existence has been documented over 2,500 years BC!
The beauties of Shiraz are not limited to the outside of the city. The city of Shiraz, as the capital of the Zand dynasty and the most important tourist destination in Iran, amazes you so much with its beauties that you will not feel the passage of time. You can visit during any season due to its mild climate, but if you want to experience all that Shiraz is famous for, travel in spring. You’ll get the pleasure of enjoying the strong smell of jasmine in the air, nightingales, and orange blossom tea.
1- Pink Mosque - Enchanting your soul and psyche
One of the smallest mosques in Shiraz that has captured the hearts of many tourists. This small mosque was built in 1888, and even though it is not a big mosque, but is changed to the most popular place to visit in Shiraz. Morning sunlight through the colored windows into the prayer room creates such a beautiful scene that fascinates you. Arrive early to see the sunrise seeping through the beautiful stained glass windows, and you will see why dozens of photographers and visitors flock to this mosque every day – It is amazing. Don't miss the yard, where the long pool and pink tiles that adorn the walls have created a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
The Pink Mosque is one of the best things to do in Shiraz, but take our advice and make sure you get there before it opens to beat the crowds!
2- Persepolis a city beyond imagination
The largest collection of Achaemenid Royal palaces, which included several palaces - the harem - and ceremonial rooms. King Darius the Great ordered to built the city in 518 BCE and used it primarily as a reception center and for ceremonious festivities. It is recorded as a UNESCO world heritage site. Hundreds of years after its fall, you can see the glory and greatness of the Persian Empire in its construction.
Although the building was set on fire and destroyed by Alexander's wrath, some parts of it, still, bear witness to the grandeur of the complex. To make the most of your visit, book a tour. You won't have time to read an entire book while on-site, and the stories behind the reliefs are worth knowing. Having a guide will show you some quirks that you might otherwise miss out on. Plan your visit for the morning, as the sun is scorching as noon approaches. It is mandatory to bring something to cover your head to protect yourself from the heat.
3- Shah e Cheragh: The holiest Islamic monument in Fars province
The most important religious Islamic building in the south of Iran and Fars province, which belongs to the 14th century. Shah-e-Cheragh Shrine is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in Iran – after the shrines of Imam Reza in Mashhad and Fatima in Qum. The interior decoration and architecture of this building, including mirror works, plasterwork, Moqarnas, and the dome of the building are so beautiful and stunning which will leave you in amazement. The exterior is equally stunning – the tomb is famous for its onion-shaped dome also two minarets made from thousands of pieces of crafted tiles. The beauty of the temple is the most evident in the evening when the lights of the temple attract the attention of passers-by.
4- Wander around the streets of Shiraz
Once you've visited all of the city's major sights, take the time to stroll through its streets and soak up the atmosphere. Shiraz is really beautiful and its streets are full of activities. There are lots of interesting shops and places to eat, and everything is within walking distance!
You will be enveloped by the strong culture of this city. The gardens, mansions, tombs are all interwoven with intricate details of remarkable history. Do not hesitate to speak to locals, especially young people. Almost everyone speaks English well enough to carry on a conversation. Everyone is more than welcoming and they are usually interested in getting to know you. They are very welcoming, so don't be surprised if some of them even invite you to be their guest. So don't be afraid of getting lost in the chaos of the streets, smelling fresh herbs and spices in the markets, and don't forget to try their pistachios!
5- Stroll through the Vakil Bazaar like a king and do some shopping
An 11th century AD Bazaar (yes, you’ve read that right!), and repaired and completed around the 18th century by the Atabaks of Fars. It is ordered by Karim Khan, who wanted Shiraz to become a well-known trading center. It was built with traditional materials like brick, limestone, and chalk, and as such it’s one of the most beautiful Bazaars in Iran.
The bazaar includes different Carevanseraies, beautiful courtyards, schools, mosques, water reservoirs, and shops. As for the merchandise, here you’ll find anything from Persian rugs, spices, sweets to antiquities. If you want to test your bargaining skills, this is the best, enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and talk with sellers
If you get tired of exploring and shopping, you’ll also find a number of cafes and restaurants located within the bazaar. You can rest with a cup of tea or taste some traditional delicacies of Shiraz.
6-Vakil Mosque: A memento of the Zandi period
The Vakil Mosque is located right next to the Vakil Bazaar and was built between 1751 and 1773 during the Zand Dynasty period. Vakil means regent, a title for Karim Khan used during this rule. The mosque was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period. This mosque like a bright jewel is located next to Vakil Bazaar and fascinates every viewer.
There is a large courtyard with a swimming pool in front of the main Iwan, which further emphasizes the Islamic Iranian architectural elements. The main entrance door and the walls are decorated with glazed colorful floral patterns tiles which are characteristic of the Qajar period. The prayer hall with 48 twisted monolithic pillars will amaze all visitors. Before entering the mosque, women will be invited to wear a chador(Islamic ladies' cover), which will be provided at the entrance.
7- Eram Garden: Will intoxicate you with the smell of flowers
Shiraz is known to the city of "Flower and nightingale". You can see some beautiful and old gardens in this city. One of the most stunning ones in Shiraz is arguably the historic Persian garden called Eram. Some sources and evidence show that the gardens were built between the 11th-14th century during the rule of the Seljuk Dynasty, and finally restored by the Zand Dynasty.
Today, the Eram garden is part of the Shiraz Botanical Garden which was established in 1983. The botanical garden is run by Shiraz University and it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eram means heaven in Islam’s holy book Quran. Iranian gardens are one of the most beautiful and attractive places, where you can spend hours and enjoy talking to people. Spend a whole day in Eram garden and enjoy the blossoming flowers and the shade of the towering cypress trees. It’s one of the most relaxing places to visit in Shiraz.
8- Hafez Dome: The tomb of love and mysticism
Hafez's tomb is the most popular meeting point in the city for locals. He is considered the greatest poet in Persian culture. He wrote about love, faith, and was an excellent satirist – critiquing politicians and rulers of his time. It’s a truly important place for the locals, they feel immense pride in Hafez who was a Shirazi like themselves. If you want to understand the meaning of the poems, ask anyone around you.
For Iranians, visiting the tomb of Hafez is like going to a relative's grave. Feelings, of course, are more with respect than with grievance. Some bring rose water to wash the tombstone and put flowers on the grave. Then, they touch the tombstone with a finger while praying while reciting a chapter from the Koran to ask for the blessing of his soul. Some proceed to ask Hafez to speak to them through his poems and to tell them about the state of their lives or to give them wise advice through the words of his poems. Then they open their eyes and open the book on any page they open at random and continue to read it with enthusiasm.
9-Shapouri House: European-style Iranian mansion
Do not miss the beautiful houses of Shiraz. If you want to realize the spirit of Iranian architecture, Shiraz houses will be your best choice. one of the most beautiful ones is Shapouri House and Garden. It is a precious example of Persian - European architecture, representing innovation in design, facade, and structure. It is one of the most extraordinary historical houses and at the same time a museum, restaurant, and café in Shiraz. Visiting the Shapouri House should be an integral part of any Shiraz tours and Iran tours for those who travel to Shiraz.
10- Karim Khan citadel: The residence of Zand's King
After a colorful and fragrant visit to Pink mosque, move to the historical area of Shiraz and feel yourself like a king at the Karim Khan Arg. Karim Khan's citadel is the residence of Karim Khan the most famous and powerful king of the Zand dynasty, who chose the title of Vakil Ol Roaya or the People's Advocate. Walk like a king at an eighteenth-century citadel and visit the facility of it. Inside the building, visit the large courtyard, the frescoed rooms, and the fascinating baths, traditional hammam with all the architectural features and decorations typical of local culture and nature. These are obviously the royal family's private baths, but nearby there are also the Vakil public baths where you can see a slice of ancient local life.