It’s three-thirty in the morning when my delayed flight finally reaches Shiraz in the southwest of the I. R. Iran. Shiraz should be my starting point for a road trip through the old Persia and the modern metropolitan of an Islamic Republic.
After the border control my driver picks and brings me to my hotel for the first two nights. But when I reached it was too early to get a room so I used the lobby to charge my phone, wait for breakfast and afterwards I went to the city.
From the Azadi bridge I saw the dry river of Rudkhaneye Khoshk; during the winter season from December till March this river is fed water from the mountains around. Shiraz belongs to the southern province of Fars and was a provincial capital of the Arab invaders in the 7th century but the oldest history goes back to 2000 BC. It lies on an elevation of 1540m with moderate temperatures of about 27 degrees Celsius. It’s a Saturday morning and the city fills slowly with life.
Along the Blvd. Karim Khan Zand I walked to the city center and found there the citadel of Karim Khan from the 18th century. It was Karim Khan’s living quarters during his regency.
Opposite the citadel is the Pars museum and the Nazar garden, next to the historic old-town. After a short visit I walked through the Vakil Bazaar which has its beginning most probably in the 11th century. It’s a roof-covered bazaar with beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, and old shops which to shop all kinds of Persian rugs, spices, and copper handicrafts.
I left the bazaar at Taleqani street and found myself in front of the Vakil mosque, also from the Zand dynasty built in the 18th century. A large open courtyard gives a beautiful view to the 48 pillars with there spirals.
Then I went through narrow streets almost by accident to the Qavam house from the late 19th century. The courtyard is a beautiful garden area and the Qavam preserves the elegance of an upper chamber with paintings and archaeological finds. The mirrored veranda is a focal point of the house.
I walked Lotf Ali Khan back to the old-town direction. Small shops sold freshly baked bread, the butcher was getting his delivery and I bought myself some nuts. A small sign showed me the way to Nasir al-Mulk mosque. The mosque was built in the 19th century and has very colorful mosaic windows.
Just a few minutes away are the Holy shrine of Shāh Chérāgh, a Muslims pilgrim place. To enter the holy place I had to get an on-location guide. After a few he picks me up and we entered the courtyard and stood in front of the mosque which is a pilgrims place since the 14th century. The place was very huge and I could imagine how crowded it can be. We walked through an Iwan and entered another, much bigger square. On our right was the mosque with the holy shrine, silver mirror mosaics at the entrance gave an impression of what most probably was behind these doors. The entrance is allowed for Muslims, only. The volunteer ambassador gave helpful explanations.
It’s was a long walk and as I had another day in Shiraz, I decided to finish my walk by having a cup of tea in one of the beautiful tea houses.