Mehrabad airport is in the city area, not far from our home but the flight to Shiraz is very early in the morning. Although Tehran is not sleeping, its heartbeat is slower while our Snapp dashes in the dark and relatively desert highway. Iranian rock loud on the radio.
|Arg of Karim Khan.|
Honestly I didn't enjoy my first day in Shiraz. It was too hot. We arrived at 12 am and according to my traveler experience I would have spent the afternoon sleeping in the hotel room, but my Iranian friends decided we go straight to Arg of Karim Khan.
|Arg of Karim Khan: garden|
|Arg of Karim Khan: bath|
Pars Museum, by the other side of the square, is small but nice, moreover there is airconditioning. It's located in the old Nazar Garden, that was "one of the largest gardens of Shiraz during the Safavid rule (1501–1722). During Zand dynasty (1750–1794) Karim Khan built an octagon structure which was called Kolah Farangi. It was used to receive and entertain foreign guests and ambassadors and hold official ceremonies." In 1936 the pavilion became a museum hosting handwritten Qurans and paintings of famous Persian artists.
Vakil Mosque is not far, but closed at the moment. Instead it's possible to visit the annexed Vakil Bath, absolutely stunning. Public bath are usually part of mosques' complex because ritual bathing is required before each prayer.
|Tomb of Saadi|
|Tomb of Hafez|
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque must be visited in the morning to apreciate its amazing coloured windows. And it's really amazing. Unfortunately it's full of tourists and they are not very respectful of the holiness of the place... By the other side of the street there is Qavam House also known as Narenjestan e Ghavam: it was the house of a rich merchand, finely decorated and surrounded by a beautiful garden.
It's midday and a very hot one, so we are happy when the new director of Narenjestan invites us in his airconditioned office to explain us his projects, drinking chai and eating icy faloodeh! Reluctantly we leave... just to go sleeping in Shah Cheragh, the beautiful shrine of two sons of Mūsā al-Kādhim and brothers of ‘Alī ar-Ridhā. Taking a nap in a shrine in the hottest hours of the day is an accepted popular behaviour, especially for aged people. A shrine is a cosy, confortable place where people feel at home. Yes, we pray, we go touching the tomb of the beloved Imams, but there is much more here and I enjoy it all.
Later we cross the animated Vakil Bazaar and we go visiting the Vakil Mosque, famous for its 48 monolithic pillars carved in spirals and for its minbar cut from a solid piece of green marble with a flight of 14 steps. There is almost nobody, probably because it's Saturday (a bit like Monday in Europe) and we have the place just for us.
The last day in Shiraz is dedicated to Persepolis and Pasagorde - see the next article - but it will end in the splendid Eram Garden where we wait for the sunset in a joyful, relaxed atmosphere. Shiraz is famous in the world for its lovers and its roses, here both can be found. Exhausted I realise that this place has got a special beauty, made of mundane pleasures and instense sensual spirituality, like the scent of a rose.