The Wheel and Axle

Persia 2017: Exploring Shiraz, Part 1

by on Oct.06, 2017, under My Life, Travel & Culture

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Exploring Shiraz
Shiraz, Iran
23 September 2017

The ancient City of Shiraz is a center of poetry and literature. It was once the capital of Persia, during the Zand Dynasty, and currently it is the capital of the province of Fars. It is a wonderful city that combines the ancient and the modern, where the brick-walled homes and fortresses blend with and around majestic and beautiful mosques and gardens.

On our first day in Shiraz, we went to Shāh Chérāgh (“King of the Light”), the most important pilgrimage site within this city. We learned more about this funerary shrine and mosque from our tour guide. It houses the graves of the brothers of Ahmad and Muhammad, brothers to Ali al-Ridha, the eighth Shi’ite Imam. The brothers had taken refuge in the city to escape the persecution of Shia Muslims sometime around 900 AD. Their graves had been lost to time until Ayatullah Dastghā’ib saw, from a distance, a light coming from the area; upon investigation of the source of light, the graves were found, inscriptions indicating who were buried there.

Later that day, we went to Arg-e Karimkhan. The Citadel of Karim Khan was the arg (citadel) and home of Karim Khan Zand, founder of the Zand Dynasty. He ruled most of Iran in the mid-1700s. The fortress served as a prison after the fall of the Qajar Dynasty, and today it now houses a museum.

We also just walked around Shiraz to discover things. Near Shāh Chérāgh were bazaars and shop-lined streets. I was able to buy a couple of beautiful embroidered pillowcases from a pair of shopkeepers who also introduced us to other friendly Iranians who were interested in where we came from. Later on, near Arg-e Karimkhan, there was a “blood fountain” with red water that commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali during the month of Muharram.

Shiraz is truly a beautiful and old city that can transport you to the past.

 

Shāh Chérāgh

 

Arg-e Karimkhan

The “Blood Fountain” near Arg-e Karimkhan

 

Around Shiraz

Meeting people while shopping!

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