Shiraz, Iran

From Academic Kids

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Map of Iran and surrounding countries, showing location of Shiraz



Shirāz (شیراز in Persian) is a city in southwest Iran [Persia] with 1,050,000 inhabitants (1996 census). Its elevation is 1486 metres above sea level amidst the Zagros Mountains, and it is the capital of Fars Province. It was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1794, when the Qajar dynasty moved the capital to Tehran.

Shirāz has a moderate climate, with mild summers and winters. Its economic base is in its provincial products: it produces grapes, citrus fruits, cotton and rice. In Shirāz itself, industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizer, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz is also a major center for Iran's electronic industries and has a major oil refinery as well. Shirāz is famous for its carpet production and flowers as well. It is also believed that the name of the Shiraz grape originates from here as well.

Attractions of Shiraz

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Shirāz was once capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty.

Major popular attrcations in Shirāz include:

  • Tomb of Hafez
  • Tomb of Saadi
  • Tomb of Khaju e Kermani
  • 9th century Atigh Jame' Mosque
  • Tomb of Shah Shoja'
  • Haft Tanon
  • The 14th century Shah Cheragh shrine
  • The 19th century Nasir-ol-Molk mosque
  • Arg (citadel) of Karim Khan
  • Vakil Bazaar
  • Vakil Bath
  • Vakil Mosque
  • Quran Gate
  • Naranjestan e Ghavam House
  • Zinat-ol-Molook House
  • Afifabad Garden andThe Museum of weapons.
  • Eram Garden
  • Tomb of Baba Kuhi
  • Tomb of Karim Khan Zand, and Museum of Pārs.
  • Delgosha Garden

and more than 200 other sites of historical significance, according to Iran's Cultiural Heritage Organization.

History of Shiraz

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Eram Garden. This 18th century garden contains a fine example of Qajari traditional architecture. Today the building is the property of Shirāz University, and a popular tourist attraction.

The ancient Elamite name for this city was written Tiraziš, phonetically, this is interpreted as /tiračis/ or /ćiračis/. This name became Old Persian /širājiš/; through regular sound change comes the modern Persian] name Shirāz.

Fars province is home to the mighty ancient Persian empire circa 700 BCE. The ruins of Persepolis, about 2500 years old, are found about 60 km in northeast direction, as a witness to the ancient glory of the Achaemenid empire. Persepolis, Firouzabad, and Pasargad are nearby ancient cynosures of this ancient civilization.

Shirāz itself however began to grow in the 7th century when the power of the former regional capital Istakhr was broken by the Arabs. The major events after the Arab conquest are:

  • 1387: Shirāz is occupied for a short period by Timur.
  • 1393: Timur occupies Shirāz for the second time.
  • 1630: A flood destroys large parts of the town.
  • 1668: Another flood hits Shirāz.
  • 1724: Shirāz is sacked by Afghan invaders.
  • 1750: Shirāz becomes capital of the Zand dynasty. Many of the famous buildings are restored or rebuilt from this period.
  • 1794: End of the Zand dynasty, and Shirāz' status as capital.
  • 1824: An earthquake destroys parts of the town.
  • 1853: A new heavy earthquake hits Shirāz, but many important buildings are spared.
  • 1945: Shirāz University opens.

During the Pahlavi era, The Shāh spent large sums of money on Shirāz to make the city into "The Paris of Iran". After all, this was the capital of Fārs, where The Shāh celebrated his 2500th anniversary of the Persian empire. Many projects were drawn up for this purpose, and by the late 70s, Shirāz had already become the bride of Iranian cities.

After the revolution, Shirāz fell out of favor by the ruling establishment in Tehran. To the new republic, Shirāz was a sign of ("taaghoot") decadence from the former Pahlavi regime. Incompetent authorities were assigned to city and mayor positions that led to a chaotic urban sprawl, and Shirāz University, once destined to become a world class institution, was neglected and ignored almost entirely. Today, after 30 years, the never finished skeletal structure of buildings started in the Shahs era still stand, with the steel I-beams rusting away, similar to the columns of Persepolis and Pasargadae. Instead, cities like Isfahan, the symbol of a successful Islamic culture, have become the image Iranian authorities wish to present Iran as.

Universities of Shirāz

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Shirāz is known as the city of poets, as some of Persian poetry's giants are buried here.

During the Shāh's era, Shirāz had an excellent academic community. Shiraz University (former Pahlavi University) was an English-speaking University that had very close ties to the University of Pennsylvania during the 1960s and 70s.

The major universities in or nearby Shirāz today are:

Notable people

  • Sibawayh, one of the founders of Arabic grammar, died here.
  • Saadi, writer, poet, born and died here.
  • Hafez, poet, born and died here.
  • Zahra Kazemi, photographer, born here.
  • Ladan and Laleh Bijani, twins, born here.
  • Shāh Shoja', buried here.
  • Khaju e Kermani, buried here.
  • Mulla Sadra was born here.
  • Asghar Shekari was born here.

External links

de:Shiraz fa:شیراز ja:シーラーズ nl:Shiraz


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