After a 14 hour journey from Tehran, we arrive in Shiraz shattered, but curious. As the home of Persian poets Hafiz and Saa'di, we notice that the city is beautifully adorned with their couplets on walls, buildings and shutters.
At first glance, Shiraz’s streets are dusty, and in comparison to the bright & bustly vibe of Tehran, Shiraz seems tired. We visit the tombs of Hafez and Saa'di during the day and head to the mountains in the evening, like the majority of Shiraz’s residents, for an evening of good food and beautiful views. Once isha comes in (the night prayer) we decide to check out Shah -e-Cheragh (Farsi for King of Lights) - the masjid and tomb of the 7th Shia Imam’s sons.
The beautiful masjid grounds are lit up in bright colours, with crowds of people sitting, relaxing and praying - the vibe is akin to the lively atmosphere of Medina and Makkah in the late hours. Inside the mosque, the walls glitter with mosaics. The mosques in Shiraz are equally as magnificent. From the Masjid - e - Vakil which is grand in it’s minarets and prayer hall to the famous Nasr - e - Molk where light and glass dance together to create a serene & surreal experience for the worshipper.
Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, we visited the tomb of a poet who wrote often of love.
The 14th century Persian poet Hafez is buried in Shiraz, the city where he lived almost 700 years ago. He remains venerated in Iran, even though he wrote of romance and other topics that are not obviously embraced in the modern-day Islamic Republic.
One of his lines: “Oh Cup-bearer, set my glass afire with the light of wine!”
We reached the tomb of Hafez — the pen name for the man born Khwaja Shamsuddīn Muhammad Hafez e-Shirazi — at the end of the day. The setting sun still shone on the mountainsides just beyond a courtyard. The poet’s tomb is at the center, beneath a roof held up by pillars.
People placed their hands on the carved stone. One was a woman wearing loose black clothes, a purple knitted cap and a Wilson-brand backpack. She kept her hands there, both of them, for what seemed like several minutes.
Afterward, we asked her what she was doing.
“It’s really a thing of my heart,” she said. “I think you have to connect with him to understand what happened with us, between us.”
Firoozeh Mohammad-Zamani said that when her hands were on the tomb, she was having a conversation with Hafez. They talk a lot.
Oh, bacheh Shirazi, you are perfect whether you are “lazy” or not! Shiraz is a lovely city, the city of Hafez’s tomb, Persepolis, the splendor of Shah Cheragh…be proud!
((I don’t really plan to do utilize city personifications, bc its not really my sort of thing but, Shiraz seems to be a popular request in my inbox, so here she is!
Shiraz is very laid back and sweet in disposition, and certainly the butt of “lazy shirazi” jokes. Though she’s never offended too badly, she’ll sometimes exaggerate her “laziness” just to tease and frustrate some of the other cities [the North/South Tehran are her favorite to tease, who first appeared on this blog here! North Tehran dyed her hair red this time :p]. Her hair is super curly and wild, but she never fusses too much about it.
btw, that Isfahan wasn’t drawn by me! it was submitted to me by a follower :) I have yet to design an Isfahan unfortunately!))