A Guide to Shiraz

The city, located in Fars province, is one of the most popular travel destinations in Iran. Shiraz is surrounded by several mountains as a part of Zagros mountainous region.  This city is known as the city of Sour Orange trees and great Persian poets such as Sa’adi and Hafez. Aside from this, Shiraz holds several historical witnesses to the ancient eras of Iran to the present time.  The world famous ancient ruins of Achaemenid Empire and the masterpieces of 18th century (Zand Dynasty and Qajar dynasty) are reflected in the historical structures of mosques, Traditional Bazaars, gardens and palaces. Now, what is so special about these attractions that has made Shiraz an exceptional destination?

old persepolis

The Story of Shiraz

Shiraz has been a witness to the pre-Islamic era, Islamic era, and the modern times. From the pre Islamic era, Parthian and Sassanid era the reliefs of Barm-e Delak and the ruins of Qasr-e Abu Nasr have remained. The magnificent ruins of Persepolis, Pasargadae, and Necropolis are the remains of the Achaemenid era. After an era of war and famine, the city returned to the land of prosperity during the rule of Zand dynasty. It was during the rule of Karim Khan of Zand that Shiraz was made the capital of Iran. Most of the magnificent fortresses, mosques and Bazaars were built during this era. Then, throughout the Qajar dynasty, the famous gardens of Shiraz were built and founded around the city. The story of Shiraz continues until today. This city is thus known as one of the main centers of culture, history, literature and religion.

What Makes Shiraz Exceptional?

By traveling to Shiraz, you can enjoy a piece of beauty of Iran’s nature by visiting the Pink Lake of Maharlu and the fine Persian Gardens of Shiraz and many more. The scent of sour orange trees and roses will accompany you throughout your trip in this city. Moreover, Shiraz can be considered as one of the main cultural points of Iran. You can see the influence of the extraordinary nature of Shiraz on its culture in the architecture and pattern of its mosques namely the famous Pink Mosque, Vakil Mosque and many more architectural wonders of this city. Below, we are going to give you a special travel guide to Shiraz by telling its story, points of interest, local food, how to get around and more.

Need to Know

People & the cultural customs of Shiraz

Since Shiraz is the heart and center of Iranian culture, the reflection of this, is evident in the life style and manners of its locals. The locals speak Farsi and most of them with Shirazi dialect and slangs. Like any other city in Iran, Shiraz too has been modernize in some ways. Yet, there are some customs and cultural behaviors that still exists among the people of Shiraz. Of these customs we can name the traditions related to celebration of Nowruz. Also, visiting the holy Shah Cheragh and the tombs of the Poets is another custom that is repeated during special occasions. The wedding ceremony of the orange Sour tree is one of the interesting traditional ceremonies that takes place symbolically to celebrate the notion of fertility.

What is the best time to travel to Shiraz?

The spring time is during April and May which is considered as the peak season for visiting Shiraz. Many Iranians and tourists travel to Shiraz during these months when the city’s sour orange trees and flowers have bloomed. During March, September, and October the weather is moderate. During November and February the weather gets much cooler especially at nights. On December and January, the cold wintery weather prevails. If you want to avoid extremely hot summer days, it is better not to travel to Shiraz during June, July, and August.

What is the best way to get to Shiraz?

The most preferable way for tourists to get to Shiraz is by booking a flight. You can book international flights to Shiraz from Dubai, Istanbul, and some other countries. Especially if you want to start your Iran trip from Shiraz instead of Tehran. Also, there are daily and weekly domestic flights to Shiraz from major cities of Iran. On top of this, you can travel to Shiraz by a 4-hour car ride from Isfahan or Yazd. These are of the two popular cities that tourists tend to travel to before or after Shiraz. There are also train and intercity bus services which can offer you a comfortable and safe transportation to Shiraz. If you need a private guide, driver or simply if you need to book domestic flights, trains or intercity buses, you can get the best deals through Travelopersia.

How to get around Shiraz

Most of the attractions of Shiraz are located within close walking distance to each other. You can also use bus or metro services to get to the touristic attractions of Shiraz. Here is Shiraz’s Bus Map and Metro Map. Taxi stations and online Taxi apps are also available in Shiraz.

Shah cheraq shrine

The City Map

Trip Ideas

Before introducing the highlights of Shiraz, it should be mentioned that some of the most famous attractions of Shiraz are located in Fars province, a few kilometers to Shiraz which are mentioned as below: (You can find more information on these attractions by checking out our Blog’s posts)

  • The UNESCO recognized Takht-e Jamshid Complex or Persepolis ( within 60 km of Shiraz)
  • The UNESCO site of Pasargadae, the resting place of Cyrus the Great ( within 133 km of Shiraz)
  • Naqsh-e Rostam or Necropolis along with Cube of Zoroaster( within 67 km of Shiraz)
  • Naqsh-e Rajab ( within 66 km of shiraz)
  • Several historical complexes on UNESCO tentative list in Kazerun, Bishapur, and Firoz Abad

Aside from this historical highlights, there are several natural wonders located in Fars Province. The most notable of these are listed below:

  • Dasht-e Arzhan Village( within 73 km of Shiraz)
  • The famous Pink Lake of Maharlu ( within 30 km of Shiraz)
  • The Lost paradise of Tang-e Bostanak Canyon ( within 140 km of Shiraz)
  • Margoon Waterfall ( within 150 km of Shiraz)

The Masterpieces of Zand Dynasty

Now as to see the main attractions of Shiraz, you can enter this city through the famous Quran Gate. You can visit the Zand Complex which is consisted of the citadel or Arg-e Karim Khan and the Vakil Complex. The Vakil complex itself is consisted of Vakil Mosque, Vakil Bazaar, and Vakil Bath House.

The Famous Mosque of Colors

Another one of masterpieces located in Shiraz is the Nasirolmolk Mosque which is famous as the Pink Mosque for its special tile works. Make sure you visit this Mosque during the day and before sunset. In this way, you can take stunning photos under the play of colorful lights that comes through the Stained glass windows.

A Glimpse of Religion

If you are interested in the religious and unique architecture of holy shrines, Ali ebne Hamzeh Shrine and Shah Cheragh are two of the most famous examples of these structures in Iran. You can also visit the khan Theological School which is one of the finest examples of Islamic Architecture.

Shiraz & Poetry

The tombs of the two famous Persian poets are also located in Shiraz. The tomb of Hazef and the Tomb of Sa’adi are each designed and patterned in symbolic and beautiful Persian architecture. You can also visit the Khajoo Kermani Tomb which is known as the pilgrimage site for Persian poetry lovers.

The Finest Examples of Persian Gardens

Shiraz is known as the city of the most exceptional Persian Gardens. Aside from having the elements of a Persian garden, there are several unique structures and pavilions in the heart of these gardens. The Eram Garden for example, was inscribed on the UNESCO world Heritage list. Narenjestan Garden, Afif Abad Garden, Delgosha Garden, and Jahan Nama garden are of the most notable Gardens located in Shiraz.

Other Attractions to See

If you have extra time visiting the beautiful city of Shiraz, there are several museums like the Pars Museum, Parks, and historical houses namely Shapouri House and Zinat-ol-Molk House to visit.

Local Food & Signature Dishes

A wide variety of famous and traditional dishes are served in Shiraz. While visiting Shiraz except for the famous Iranian dishes, you can try some of the signature Shirazi meals. Kalam Polo is a famous flavored rice dish that is served with cabbage and special spices. Another flavored rice dish is Shekar Polo which is a sweet dish made with Saffron and sugar. There is also a Special Stew called Yakhni shirazi. Ash Mast (yogurt pottage) and Ash Sabzi (Vegetable pottage) are of the famous Pottages of Shiraz. For Desert, you can try the famous Faloodeh Shirazi which is consisted of threaded noodles in semi-frozen sugar and rose water. Faalodeh and special traditional ice cream are served in several street corners of Shiraz. One of the best places to try this ice cream out is in Arg of Karim Khan Area.  Here is a list of hand-picked Restaurants and Cafes in Shiraz where you can try some of the most exceptional dishes.

Handicraft & Souvenirs

For souvenirs you can buy some packed boxes of sweets namely Masghati, Yokhe bread, and Ranginak. On top of this, since the fertile land of Shiraz is home to many gardens, different herbal drinks can also be found in this city. The most well-known Herbal drinks are Shatreh, Nastaran, Bidmshak, Etraj, Taroneh, Sour Orange, Chicory, Lemon and Orange Syrup, Borage and Kialk.

The city of Shiraz has been inscribes on UNESCO list as the World City of Handicrafts in 2020. This was due to the wide range of famous and highlighted handicrafts of Shiraz which are listed as below:

  • Wooden handicrafts specially Marquetry as the most famous Handicraft of Shiraz
  • Pottery and ceramic handicrafts along with mosaic faience
  • Metal works as silver works and chasing
  • Handwoven crafts like Kilim and Gabbeh, and mat weaving
  • Traditional glass blowing
  • Stucco
  • miniature paintings

While exploring this city, you can find many stores selling traditional handicrafts of the city. You can also find some modern artwork, clothing, and jewelry shops around the city. Except the Vakil Bazar of Shiraz, you can find these shops near the major attractions of Shiraz.

Explore the City