Shiraz (Listeni/ʃˈrɑːz/; Persian: شیراز‎‎, Šīrāz, Persian pronunciation: [ʃiːˈrɒːz], About this sound pronunciation ) is the sixth most populous city of Iran[2] and the capital of Fars Province (Old Persian as Pârsâ). At the 2011 census, the population of the city was 1,460,665 and its built-up area with “Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra” (Sadra New Town) was home to 1,500,644 inhabitants.[3] Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the “Roodkhaneye Khoshk” (The Dry River) seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. It is regarded as one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC.[4] In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. It was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz, whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries.

Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers.[5] It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city, for example Eram Garden. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes.[6] In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate.[7] Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries: 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz.[8] Shiraz is home to Iran’s first solar power plant.[9] Recently the city’s first wind turbine has been installed above Babakoohi mountain near the city.

Etymology

 The earliest reference to the city is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BCE, found in June 1970, while digging to make a kiln for a brick factory in the south western corner of the city. The tablets written in ancient Elamite name a city called Tiraziš.[10] Phonetically, this is interpreted as /tiračis/ or /ćiračis/. This name became Old Persian /širājiš/; through regular sound change comes the modern Persian name Shirāz. The name Shiraz also appears on clay sealings found at a 2nd-century CE Sassanid ruin, east of the city. By some of the native writers, the name Shiraz has derived from a son of Tahmuras, the third Shāh (King) of the world according to Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma.

History

Main article: History of Shiraz

Charming sunset in Shiraz

Pre-Islamic

Shiraz is most likely more than 4,000 years old. The name Shiraz is mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions from around 2000 BCE found in southwestern corner of the city.[12] According to some Iranian mythological traditions, it was originally erected by Tahmuras Diveband, and afterward fell to ruin.[11] The oldest sample of wine in the world, dating to approximately 7,000 years ago, was discovered on clay jars recovered outside of Shiraz (according to the referenced article, this discovery was made in Hajji Firuz Tepe, a Neolithic village in Iran’s northern Zagros Mountains, more than a thousand kilometers north of Shiraz).[13]

In the Achaemenian era, Shiraz was on the way from Susa to Persepolis and Pasargadae. In Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma it has been said that Artabanus V, the Parthian Emperor of Iran, expanded his control over Shiraz. Ghasre Abu-Nasr (meaning “the palace of AbuNasr”) which is originally from Parthian era is situated in this area. During the Sassanid era, Shiraz was in between the way which was connecting Bishapur and Gur to Istakhr. Shiraz was an important regional center under the Sassanians.[12]

Islamic period

The city became a provincial capital in 693, after Arab invaders conquered Istakhr, the nearby Sassanian capital. As Istakhr fell into decline, Shiraz grew in importance under the Arabs and several local dynasties.[14] The Buwayhid empire (945–1055) made it their capital, building mosques, palaces, a library and an extended city wall. It was also ruled by the Seljuks and the Khwarezmians before the Mongol conquest.

The city was spared destruction by the invading Mongols, when its local ruler offered tributes and submission to Genghis Khan. Shiraz was again spared by Tamerlane, when in 1382 the local monarch, Shah Shoja agreed to submit to the invader.[14] In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. For this reason the city was named by classical geographers Dar al-‘Elm, the House of Knowledge.[15] Among the Iranian poets, mystics and philosophers born in Shiraz were the poets Sa’di[16] and Hafiz,[17] the mystic Roozbehan, and the philosopher Mulla Sadra.[18] Thus Shiraz has been nicknamed “The Athens of Iran”.[19] As early as the 11th century, several hundred thousand people inhabited Shiraz.[20] In the 14th century Shiraz had sixty thousand inhabitants.[21] During the 16th century it had a population of 200,000 people, which by the mid-18th century had decreased to only 50,000.

In 1504, Shiraz was captured by the forces of Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid dynasty. Throughout the Safavid empire (1501–1722) Shiraz remained a provincial capital and Emam Qoli Khan, the governor of Fars under Shah Abbas I, constructed many palaces and ornate buildings in the same style as those built during the same period in Isfahan, the capital of the Empire.[14] After the fall of the Safavids, Shiraz suffered a period of decline, worsened by the raids of the Afghans and the rebellion of its governor against Nader Shah; the latter sent troops to suppress the revolt. The city was besieged for many months and eventually sacked. At the time of Nader Shah’s murder in 1747, most of the historical buildings of the city were damaged or ruined, and its population fell to 50,000, one-quarter of that during the 16th century.[14]

Shiraz soon returned to prosperity under the rule of Karim Khan Zand, who made it his capital in 1762. Employing more than 12,000 workers, he constructed a royal district with a fortress, many administrative buildings, a mosque and one of the finest covered bazaars in Iran.[14] He had a moat built around the city, constructed an irrigation and drainage system, and rebuilt the city walls.[14] However, Karim Khan’s heirs failed to secure his gains. When Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, eventually came to power, he wreaked his revenge on Shiraz by destroying the city’s fortifications and moving the national capital to Tehran.[14] Although lowered to the rank of a provincial capital, Shiraz maintained a level of prosperity as a result of the continuing importance of the trade route to the Persian Gulf. Its governorship was a royal prerogative throughout the Qajar dynasty.[14] Many of the famous gardens, buildings and residences built during this time contribute to the city’s present skyline.

The city’s role in trade greatly diminished with the opening of the trans-Iranian railway in the 1930s, as trade routes shifted to the ports in Khuzestan. Much of the architectural inheritance of Shiraz, and especially the royal district of the Zands, was either neglected or destroyed as a result of irresponsible town planning under the Pahlavi dynasty.

Lacking any great industrial, religious or strategic importance, Shiraz became an administrative center, although its population has nevertheless grown considerably since the 1979 revolution.

Modern times

The city’s municipality and other related institutions have initiated restoration and reconstruction projects.[14]

Some of the most recent projects have been the complete restoration of the Arg of Karim Khan and of the Vakil Bath, as well as a comprehensive plan for the preservation of the old city quarters. Other noteworthy initiatives include the total renovation of the Qur’an Gate and the mausoleum of the poet Khwaju Kermani, both located in the Allah-u-Akbar Gorge, as well as the restoration and expansion of the mausoleum of the famous Shiraz-born poets Hafiz and Saadi.[14]

Several different construction projects are currently underway that will modernize the city’s infrastructure. The Shiraz 1400 chain of projects is set to transform the city.[27]

After the Iranian Revolution, Shiraz was re-established as the capital of Iranian Art and Culture. Shiraz is known as the capital of Persian Art, Culture and Literature.

Geography

Shiraz is located in the south of Iran and the northwest of Fars Province. It is built in a green plain at the foot of the Zagros Mountains 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) above sea level. Shiraz is 919 kilometres (571 mi) south of Tehran.[28]

A seasonal river, Dry River, flows through the northern part of the city and on into Maharloo Lake.[citation needed] As of 1920, the area had a large forest of oak trees.[29]

Gardens and Clean Shiraz

Shiraz Garden Drives, north part of the city is full of gardens. they formed before the expansion of shiraz

In the past (about 300 year’s ago During the Zand dynasty in where Shiraz was the capital of Iran), Shiraz was a small village limited around the Arg of Karim Khan and naturally there were several villages near it. The north part of old Shiraz (that now became into Qasr al-dasht and Chamran) was completely covered with gardens and green trees that remain still to nowadays. There are lots of municipality laws that prohibit to construct in any one of those. In another view, these gardens are the city lungs and they help to clean the dust and haze or carbon dioxide that cars produced, by photosynthesis. On the other hand, we see Shiraz more likely to have the best clean weather in Iran compare with big cities such as Tehran or Isfahan, the reason behind it maybe laid in Shiraz gardens. They’d hold their texture from past as you can see the dirt road in the picture.

Climate

Shiraz’s climate has distinct seasons, and is overall classed as a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh), though it is only a little short of a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa).[28] Summers are hot, with a July average high of 38.8 °C (101.8 °F). Winters are cool, with average low temperatures below freezing in December and January. Around 300 mm (12 in) of rain falls each year, almost entirely in the winter months, though in some cases as much as this has fallen in a single month (as in January 1965 and December 2004),[30] whilst in the year from July 1965 to June 1966 as little as 82.9 millimetres (3.3 in) fell. The wettest year has been 1955/1956 with as much as 857.2 millimetres (33.75 in), though since 1959 the highest has been around 590 millimetres (23.2 in) in each of 1995/1996 and 2004/2005.[30]

Shiraz contains a considerable number of gardens. Due to population growth in the city, many of these gardens may be lost to give way to new developments. Although some measures have been taken by the Municipality to preserve these gardens, many illegal developments still endanger them.

The highest record temperature was 43.2 °C (109.8 °F) on 12 July 1998[31] and the lowest record temperature was −14 °C (7 °F) on 5 January 1973.

Economy

Shiraz is the economic center of southern Iran. The second half of the 19th century witnessed certain economic developments that greatly changed the economy of Shiraz. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 allowed the extensive import into southern Iran of inexpensive European factory-made goods, either directly from Europe or via India.[34] Farmers in unprecedented numbers began planting cash crops such as opium poppy, tobacco, and cotton. Many of these export crops passed through Shiraz on their way to the Persian Gulf. Iranian long-distance merchants from Fars developed marketing networks for these commodities, establishing trading houses in Bombay, Calcutta, Port Said, Istanbul and even Hong Kong.[34]

Shiraz’s economic base is in its provincial products, which include grapes, citrus fruits, cotton and rice.[35] Industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate.[35] Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries. 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz.[36] Agriculture has always been a major part of the economy in and around Shiraz. This is partially due to a relative abundance of water compared to the surrounding deserts. Shirāz is famous for its carpet production and flowers as well. Viticulture has a long history in the region, and Shirazi wine used to be produced here. Shiraz is also an Iranian center for IT, communication, electronic industry, and transportation.[citation needed]

The Shiraz Special Economic Zone or the SEEZ was established in 2000 with the purpose of boosting manufacturing in electronics and communications.[37][38]

Shopping

With more than 25 malls and 10 bazaars, Shiraz is known[by whom?] as the easiest place for shopping in Iran and the Middle East.[citation needed]

The Persian Gulf Complex, located at the north end of the city, is the largest mall in the world in terms of the number of shops.[39]

The Vakil Bazaar, one of the oldest bazaars in the world, is located in the old city centre of Shiraz. Featuring beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, and bath houses, its shops are deemed among the best places in Shiraz to buy all kinds of Persian rugs, spices, copper handicrafts and antiques.[citation needed]

Demography

As of 2011, Shiraz has a population of 2,353,696 the majority of whom are Persian.[40] Most of the population of Shiraz are Muslims. Shiraz also was home to a 6,000-strong Jewish community, although most emigrated to the United States and Israel in the latter half of the 20th century.[41] Along with Tehran and Esfahan, Shiraz is one of the handful of Iranian cities with a sizable Jewish population, and more than one active synagogue. Though officially Muslims, many Shirazis privately practice Zoroastrianism or at least hold it in high regard.[citation needed]

Shiraz also has a significant Baha’i population, the largest in the country after Tehran.

There are currently two functioning churches in Shiraz, one Armenian, the other, Anglican.[42][43]

Culture

Shiraz is known as the city of poets, gardens, wine, nightingales and flowers.[44][45] The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; carpet-weaving, and the making of the rugs called gilim (Shiraz Kilim) and “jajim” in the villages and among the tribes.[citation needed]

The garden is an important part of Iranian culture. There are many old gardens in Shiraz such as the Eram garden and the Afif abad garden. According to some people,[who?] Shiraz “disputes with Xeres [or Jerez] in Spain the honour of being the birthplace of sherry.”[46] Shirazi wine does originate from the city, indeed ancient Persian is considered the first wine-making civilization, alas, under the current Islamic regime, liquor cannot be enjoyed saved for religious minorities in conspicuous amounts.

Shiraz is proud of being mother land of Hafiz Shirazi, Shiraz is a center for Iranian culture and has produced a number of famous poets. Saadi, a 12th and 13th-century poet was born in Shiraz. He left his native town at a young age for Baghdad to study Arabic literature and Islamic sciences at Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad. When he reappeared in his native Shiraz he was an elderly man. Shiraz, under Atabak Abubakr Sa’d ibn Zangy (1231–1260) was enjoying an era of relative tranquility. Saadi was not only welcomed to the city but he was highly respected by the ruler and enumerated among the greats of the province. He seems to have spent the rest of his life in Shiraz. Hafiz, another famous poet and mystic was also born in Shiraz. A number of scientists also originate from Shiraz. Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, a 13th-century astronomer, mathematician, physician, physicist and scientist was from Shiraz. In his The Limit of Accomplishment concerning Knowledge of the Heavens, he also discussed the possibility of heliocentrism.

Regional Foods to try in Shiraz

Some recommended foods to try in Shiraz are: “Polo shirazi”,[49] ” Ash e sabzi”, “Ash e karde”, “Ash e mast”.

Neighborhoods of Shiraz

List of neighbourhoods in Shiraz:

  • Zargari
  • Abivardi
  • Farhang Shahr
  • Ghasrodasht
  • Kooye Zahra
  • Ma’ali Abad
  • Molla Sadra
  • Shahcheragh
  • Shahrak-e-Golestan
  • Shahrak-e-Sadra
  • Tachara
  • Zerehi
  • kolbeh saadi
  • Podonak
  • Payegah
  • Eram
  • Bagh-e Nari (Narvan)
  • Siahatgar BLVD
  • Abiari Ave
  • Artesh square (Army Square)
  • Bridgestone
  • Babakoohi
  • Kooye Jamaran(siman)

Sports

Omid Norouzi Olympic gold medalist Greco-Roman 60 kg (132 lb) category at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London

Bargh Shiraz (Established in 1946) is the oldest football club formed within Iran, just few months after the establishment of Bargh, Esteghlal Tehran F.C. was founded with the primary name of Docharkhe Savaran or The Bicyclers. Bargh Shiraz currently plays in Iran’s 3rd division. It’s biggest honour was winning the 1997 Hazfi Cup. Fajr (formerly ) (Established in 1988) also plays in Azadegan League, and have also won the Hazfi Cup in 2001. Mr. Jafari bought a team named Yekta in 1988 and then after vicissitude years of struggling, Fajr made it to the Iran’s top football league level.Shiraz has two Football stadiums; the Hafezieh stadium with 20,000 Capacity built in 1945 and Another stadium, Shiraz Stadium, is due to be finished in 2018 and will have 50,000 capacity.

Furthermore, Shiraz had a professional basketball club Louleh a.s Shiraz BC. The team used to compete in the Iranian Basketball Super League.

Shiraz also has a female rugby team.[50][51]

Balloon Festival

On the occasion of the Shiraz week, 12 hot air balloon flew at the same time across the city for the first time in Shiraz. The ceremony was held in two stages. First in sunset and other in night. After the end of the night ceremony, the floodlight was held in Hafezieh Stadium.

Shiraz’s Balloon Festival, 2010

Higher education

Shiraz University main building

Emamreza school is among the top ten schools of Iran by the area

Shiraz is home to a vibrant academic community. The Shiraz University of Medical Sciences was the first university in Shiraz and was founded in 1946. Much older is the august Madrasa-e-Khan, or Khan Theological School, with about 600 students; its tile-covered buildings date from 1627.[52]

Today Shiraz University is the largest university in the province, and one of Iran’s best academic centers. Other major universities in or nearby Shiraz are the Islamic Azad University of Shiraz,[53] Shiraz University of Technology, and Shiraz University of Applied Science and Technology.[54]

The Shiraz Regional Library of Science and Technology is the largest provincial library serving the public.[citation needed]

Virtual University of Shiraz is one of the sub colleges of Shiraz University.

Transportation

Airports

An Iran Air Airbus A320 Approaching Shiraz International Airport (2011)

Shiraz International Airport serves as the largest airport in the southern region of Iran. After undergoing renovation and redevelopment work in 2005, Shiraz Airport was identified as the second most reliable and modern airport in Iran (after Imam Khomeini International Airport of Tehran) in terms of flight safety including electronic and navigation control systems of its flight tower.

Metro

Main article: Shiraz Metro

A metro system started in Shiraz in 2001 by the Shiraz Urban Railway Organization which contains three lines. The length of the first Line are 22.4 km (13.9 mi), the length of the second line will be 8.5 km (5.3 mi) The length of the third line will be 16 km (10 mi). 21 stations were built in route one. The three lines, when completed, will have 32 stations below ground, six above, and one special station connected to the railway station. The first line was started in October 2014.

Bus

Shiraz has 71 bus lines with 50,000 buses.Iran’s third Bus Rapid Transit was opening in Shiraz in 2009 with 2 lines.2 other lines be opening in 2010.

Rail

Shiraz Train Station

Shiraz is connected with the rest of Iran’s railway network. The trains arrive and leave from Shiraz Railway Station, Iran’s largest railway station according to surface area.[55] It has passenger trains, operating six days per week to Isfahan, Tehran and Mashad.

Roads

There are 700 000 cars in the city of Shiraz.[56]

  • Road65.png Road 65
  • Road67.png Road 67
  • Road86.png Road 86

Rulers and political figures

  • Absh Khatun, 13th century ruler
  • Karim Khan, the ruler and de facto Shah of Iran from 1760 until 1779, made Shiraz his capital
  • Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to United States President Barack Obama, born in Shiraz to African-American parents.
  • Kamran Bagheri Lankarani was Iran’s Minister of Health and Medical Education
  • Jimmy Delshad 67th and 70th Mayor of Beverly Hills

Religious figures, philosophers and theologians

  • Mulla Sadra, Islamic philosopher, theologian who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century
  • Siyyid ‘Alí Muḥammad Shírází, the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá’í Faith

Academics and scientists

  • Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, 13th-century Iranian poet and scholar
  • Sibawayh, was an influential linguist and grammarian of the Arabic language
  • Firouz Naderi, Scientist and currently the Director for Solar System Exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Gholam A. Peyman inventor of LASIK
  • Ali Asghar Khodadoust, Professor of Ophthalmology, originator of the Khodadoust line method
  • M. Hashem Pesaran, Most famous Iranian Economist, Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Cambridge

Poets and writers

  • Saadi, poet of the medieval period
  • Hafez, poet
  • Nicolò Gabrielli di Quercita is the author of a melodrama entitled L’assedio di Sciraz (The siege of Shiraz, 1840), whose main character is Karim Khan
  • Shahriyar Mandanipour, writer
  • Simin Daneshvar, novelist and author
  • Mehdi Hamidi Shirazi, contemporary poet

Other artists

  • Shirazeh Houshiary, artist, born in Shiraz in 1955, lives in London
  • Arsi Nami award winning singer and songwriter
  • Ebrahim Golestan, writer and filmmaker
  • Tooji, singer, model and television host; represented Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • Bahar Pars, actress.

Twin towns – sister cities

  • Germany Weimar, Germany[57]
  • China Chongqing, China[58]
  • Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia[57]
  • Morocco Agadir, Morocco[57]
  • Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus[58][59]
  • Tajikistan Dushanbe, Tajikistan[58]
  • Hungary Pécs, Hungary[60]