Visiting the tomb of Hafez, also known as Hafezieh, is on top of everyone’s list when they are in Shiraz. This world-famous poet is respected by Iranians and literature enthusiasts around the world. Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the German philosopher Fredrick Engels and more famous figures have shown their respect and impression of Hafez.
After being in the magical Hafezieh with its divine and ethereal atmosphere, you will always remember it in a corner of your heart. Now, the question is who was Hafez? And what makes the architecture of Hafezieh attraction particular?
About Hafez, his divination and poems
What is Hafez’s story?
Hafez is the pen name for Khaje Shams-u Din Muhammad Hafez Shirazi. This 14th century poet was born in Shiraz, Iran around 1315. Generally, the accords of his life are mostly undiscovered. It has been said that, after the death of his father, for providing for his mother and siblings, he worked at a bakery. It was then that he met the love of his life referred by him as Shakh-e Nabaat. He would address his affection for her in some poems.
What does the name Hafez mean?
The poet had several pen names. One of the most famous one of them that he is mostly referred to by is Hafez. Accordingly, Hafez in Persian means ‘’The Memorizer’’. It has been said that, Hafez, by listening to his father’s recitation of Quran, had memorized this holy book by heart. Also, the memorization and his love for the works of several Persian poets namely Rumi, Saadi, and Nezami had a great influence on him.
The Sufi poet’s theme and notions of poems
Hafez’s poems are based on the subjects of faith and divine grace that is required by Salvation. Hafez was inspired by the holy book of Quran for the rhythms and the whole of his Poetry. This being said, his poetry was in the style of Romantic Lyrical poetry (Ghazal in Persian). He was a Sufi and the theme of his Ghazals were based on the notion of self-preservation to attain ecstasy and freedom of the soul. Also, his poetry contains an ironic figurative approach and usage of satiric verses to criticize the politics of Ilkhanid and Mongol era.
Divan of Hafez is the name of the collection of 500 pieces of Ghazal (lyrical poetry), 42 pieces of Quatrain (Robayi) and some pieces of odes (Ghaside). One Persian-speaking person, one Divan of Hafez. This Divan can be found in every Iranian house. The act of recitation of Hafez poetry from his Divan is something that is present in many Iranian ceremonies and festivals such as Nowruz, Yalda night and many more. On top of that, all through the history of Iran, Hafez’s poetry has influenced Iranian music and arts. The English translation of Hafez Divan is also available.
The fortune telling aspect of the Divan of Hafez
One of the other titles given to Hafez is Lesan al-gheib meaning that he can tell of the future. The belief is whenever you have a question or a concern on your mind, you take the Divan of Hafez and whisper:
Hafez of Shiraz, the keeper of secrets, I swear by God and your Shakh-e Nabaat to reveal me my wishes.
Then, you randomly open a page and recite from it. The extraordinary aspect of this Divan is that, every person has a different interpretation of it according to their spirit and situation.
When you are at Hafezieh (the Tomb of Hafez), there are several youngsters with a Canary on their hands. These Canaries would randomly pick a card for you. On these cards are written the pieces of Divan of Hafez in Farsi and in translation.
The Myth of Hafez & Wine
According to some myths, when Hafez reached the age of 60, sitting in the middle of a circle he had drawn, he kept vigil for forty days and nights. On the fortieth day he had a rendezvous with Attar, his master also a famous Persian poet, after forty years. Attar offered him a cup of wine and after that he said that he has reached a new consciousness. In Persian literature the notion of wine and its symbolistic interpretations are very common.
About The Tomb of Hafez (Hafezieh)
The history behind Hafezieh
In 1390, at the age of 75, Hafez passed away. He was buried in Golgasht-e Mosalla, the name of a cemetery in Shiraz that had been mentioned in Hafez’s poetry for few times. During Zand dynasty of Iran, Karim Khan-e Zand ordered the building of the current mausoleum in the honor of Hafez. Then the burial place was renovated and designed by the French architecture, Andre Godard in 1935.
Architectural details of Hafezieh
Hafezieh is more than a beautiful garden surrounding a pavilion with 8 pillars hidden away from the busy streets of Shiraz. Moreover, in every detail of the tomb of Hafez and its surroundings hidden symbols are buried.
Different parts of Hafezieh and their symbols
The southern part
When you first enter through the doors, keep in mind that the whole process of walking through the stages indicates the spiritual journey of human beings. You will enter the complex from its southern part. Initially, in this stage you are in the material world. Here, you are faced by two beautiful gardens of Orangery. The aromatic odor of the sour oranges are always with you when you are in Shiraz.
Next, you will reach a specific porch. There are 9 stairs to climb. In Persian literature 9 is the number of skies. Then, through one of the 8 gates you descend the stairs to finally reach the Tomb of Hafez. It is also interesting to know that 8 in Islam is the number of gates to heaven.
The Tomb of Hafez
You will finally find the Tomb of Hafez with its copper dome adorned with enameled tile mosaics. The dome is in the form of a Dervish’s Turkish hat. It should be noted that the interpretation of symbols might arise in a different way according to different views.
The inner architecture and colors of the dome represent as the following:
- Turquoise blue: symbol of heaven
- Tones of red: symbol of the everlasting wine
- Pale white: symbol of daytime
- Black: symbol of night
- Dark brown: symbol of soil
Bookshops and Exhibitions
On the north, east and several other parts of the area several graves and family graves can be seen.
To the west part from the Tomb of Hafez is placed an office. This office is where a group of literature and Hafez admirers hold exhibitions and meetings to express the works of Hafez that are reflected in art and daily life.
When you pass the first terrace, on your left there is a bookshop. Here, you can find maps, postcard and most importantly the English and French translation of Hafez Divan.
When and where can I visit the Tomb of Hafez?
On the national day of Hafez which is October 12th lots of Iranians visit this Attraction to pay their respect to Hafez. Also, during Nowruz people from around Iran come to ask Hafez of their future and fortune of the year. They touch the tomb with their fingertips and pray for his soul and spend the day reciting from his poems.
The tomb of Hafez is located in the northern parts of Shiraz, between Hafezieh and Adabiat intersections. You can also visit the nearby attractions such as: Jahan Nama Garden, Citadel of Karim Khan, and Vakil complex.
Hafezieh is open from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM (11:30 PM during spring and summer).