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Shiraz: pure Persian beauty


Head 1,000 kilometres to the south of Tehran to explore Shiraz, a city of art and the site of the iconic ruins of Persepolis.

Located in the southwest, at the foot of Mount Zagros, the former capital of the Zand dynasty occupies a special place in the heart of Iranians. It is the cultural and artistic capital of the country, the stronghold of the great Persian poets like Hafez and Saadi, who are highly revered. You can get an idea of their popularity by visiting their mausoleums. The elegant Persian gardens, like Narenjestan e Ghavam, which are particularly pleasant to visit, make it a green city, and are a perfect illustration of the refinement of the rich families of the 19th century.

The Pahlavi dynasty has made great investments so that Shiraz can again find its lustre. For the 2,500-year anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire, Mohammad Reza Shah, the last emperor, even gave a monumental reception in Persepolis, to which the heads of the most powerful states of the world were invited. The iconic archaeological digs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are 70 kilometres from Shiraz. Persepolis' construction was carried out by order of Darius I, the Achaemenid king, and the site was partly destroyed by the conquest of Alexander the Great. Nevertheless, the ruins have remained beautiful and, unlike other collections of this size in the world, you can take selfies in front of the monuments without being jostled by throngs of visitors.

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