weekend away - Shiraz
Written by Mojtaba Rahmanian
Shiraz, often called the cultural capital of Iran, certainly deserves its global reputation. The fame comes from various sources including distinguished poets and artists, impressive monuments, pleasant weather, and delicious cuisine.
Among many great poets from Shiraz, the highly celebrated Hafez and Saadi have inspired people around the world for centuries. Their mausoleums, reconstructed in the 20th century and surrounded by beautiful gardens, are among Iranian highlights that attract many foreign and local visitors every year. Yet, poets are not the only source of Shiraz’s fame. Some legendary architects, calligraphers, and scholars hail from here too. It is no surprise to Iranians to learn that the head calligrapher and architect at the world famous Taj Mahal were both masters from Shiraz.
Although its rich history dates from the time of the Achaemenians, Shiraz has enjoyed prosperity during various periods, and reached its heyday as capital of Iran in the 18th century under the Zand dynasty.
The glorious Achaemenian monuments, Persepolis and Necropolis, Sassanid palaces, and bas-reliefs in Bishaboor and Firouzabad are some of the highlights within its proximity. Shiraz encompasses a combination of lovely gardens and magnificent buildings such as Eram garden, Hafez and Saadi Mausoleum, Shah Cheragh Shrine, Karim Khan castle, Vakil bazaar, mosque and bath, Ghavam Orangery, and Nasir al Molk mosque. (Try irantravelservice.com for package tours).
Shiraz’s mild weather is another feature that has transformed it into a popular vacation resort. Spring is the best time to visit, with perfect weather. However, temperature changes remain relatively low during the year so you can visit any time. Actually, the climate is considered the source of inspiration for its great artists.
While Shiraz wine has had a long reputation as one of the finest brands in the world, the food is also irresistibly delicious and popular across the country. Kalam Polo Shirazi (rice with cabbage, small meatballs and vegetables), Koofteh Sabzi (Persian meatballs), and Halim Bademjan (eggplant-based appetiser) are just a few examples. Don’t miss the cuisine!
THINGS TO DO
One of the specialties from Shiraz that you must definitely try is Faloodeh Shirazi. Faloodeh is a thirst-quenching dessert made of rice noodles, which is so delicious in summer and can be tried with different flavours by adding lemon or black cherry juice. Try faloodeh, and enjoy the underground pool and tea house in Saadi Mausoleum.
Within a 2-hour drive northwest of Shiraz you will find Pooladkaf Ski Resort, the biggest in the south of Iran with recreational facilities. Although skiing is possible mostly in winter, the resort is open for horse-riding and boating in summer. Besides, you can enjoy camping near the amazing Margoon waterfall. The weather is chilly even during summer.