Geographical Location and Population
Shiraz is well-known for its cultural heritage and notable literary figures. Thus it has come to be called the “Cradle of Islamic-Iranian Civilization” and “the city of literature.” Along with its rich cultural assets, Shiraz has actively been working on the preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province, is located in the southwest of the country, 933km far from Tehran (the capital city of Iran). Shiraz is situated at the foot of the Zagros Mountains. It has distinct seasons with semi-arid climate. It is also the major industrial city in Fars, and it is one of the most thriving localities in Iran. According to a survey conducted, it has the population of 1.7 million.
Shiraz possesses a strategic position spanning the old Silk Road that linked Anatolia and the Mediterranean with China. Shiraz was a waypoint to open seas. It has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. Like Persepolis (the gem of Achaemenid) ensembles in the fields of architecture, urban planning, construction technology, Shiraz was founded in the Achaemenian Dynasty (550-330 BC). Since then, it has become one of the main cities of the province. Having flourished under Islam, it became one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty (AD 1747–79). During this period, many architectural masterpieces including Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil Bazar, etc. were built. Beside its ancient buildings, Shiraz is the city of literature.
It is known as the city of poets. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz, whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries. Their resting-places, known as the Saadieh and Hafezieh respectively, are among Shiraz best known tourist attractions and represent what, for Iranians, are the essential qualities of this ancient southern city: elegance, repose and gardening. Moreover, Shiraz is the city of gardens. Set in the parched hills of the dry region, its inhabitants have managed to nurture some beautiful fine public parks as well as their own private sanctuaries. The most famous, the Bagh-e Eram, comprises a royal villa set in meticulously landscaped grounds. Other gardens to look out for are the orange grove or Narangestan of Ghavvam or the more secluded, Bagh-e Afifabad. Though not huge, they are scenic and beautifully decorated.
Above all, Shiraz is rightly proud of its religious position in the country. Being known as Sevomin Haram-e-AhlulBayt (the third important religious city of Iran), Shiraz, in addition to natural and historical must-see places, offers religious ones such as Nasir ul-Mulk Mosque, Atiq Mosque, the mausoleum of Imam Reza’s brother etc.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
Performed in Iran during the holy month of Muharram concurrent with the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and 72 of his companions in Karbala, Ta’zieh refers to Condolence Theater which are traditional Persian theatrical genres. In Ta’zieh, the drama is performed outdoor and conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. In Persian tradition, Tazieh is inspired by historical and religious events, and symbolizes epic spirit and resistance. The common themes are heroic tales of love and sacrifice and of resistance against the evil. It has also influenced Cinema and Symphonic music.
Shiraz is a shopping paradise for national and international tourists. A great variety of beautiful handicrafts at reasonable prices are available. Shirazi artists produce handicrafts such as Khatam, Monabat, Ghalamzani and so on. Every year some art exhibitions are held in the city where artistic products of artisans are put on display.
3. Gabbeh and kilim Rugs
Gabbeh and kilim rugs are varieties of Persian rugs with a long history. They both are hand-woven pile rugs of coarse quality. Gabbeh is medium size and characterized by abstract designs relying on open field of color. The patterns of Gabbeh are very basic mainly representing animals. It is a variety of Kilim. Kilim originates from Persian word “Gilim” which means “to spread roughly.” It is a tapestry-woven rug which may be used for decorative purposes or functioning as a prayer rug. The oldest Kilim found dates back to 4th century in China. Modern Kilims are popular floor-covering in western households.
4. Shiraz School of Painting
Shiraz School of painting is a style of a group of miniature artists centered in Shiraz. It was founded in mid-fourteenth century and reached maturity in 15th century. The paintings have a dreamlike and very personal quality. Fewer figures, expressionless faces, and landscape with solid-color background are all among the common features of the paintings. Perspective was first introduced in miniature paintings by Shiraz School. An early painting dated 1341 is a leaf from the Persian poet, Ferdowsi’s epic Shah-nameh (“Book of Kings”), depicting Prince Seyavush in a polo match.