Shiraz (شیراز) is the capital city of Fars province and a treasure trove of Persian culture. It is also the former capital of Iran, during the Zand dynasty's era (1747-79), and also the celebrated birthplace of the great Persian poets Hafiz and Saadi. It is also been said to be the origin of one of the best wines in the world called Syrah. The city has a population of about 1,300,000.
Shiraz Train station has recently been finished and there are Trains to Tehran but not to Esfahan (Oct 2015). However, the bus journey is shorter (2hrs less), so that might be recommended. There is a connecting bus from the train station to Ghasr Dasht bus and metro station. Price in Aug. 2015 was 10000 real for single ticket.
There is a tourist information on the main boulevard a bit west of the palace. They speak English and can give helpful tips and have English maps.
For non-Iranian visitors, taxis are probably the most convenient mean of transport. However be sure to haggle for a good price prior to getting into the car.
If an unmarked car stops while you are hailing a taxi, don't be alarmed. Many taxis in Shiraz are unmarked and also as a means to supplement their income, is not uncommon to find private car owners touting themselves as taxis.
However it always best to find a taxi through a reputable "telephone taxi" agency. For a set fee, drivers of these agencies will take passengers to their destination, drive them around town and also wait for them while they shop or run errands. All hotels and local residents will have a phone number of one these agencies. There are also taxis driven by women that specifically cater to women passengers.
Dont hesitate to talk to people, especially youths. Almost all of them speak English well enough to talk to you, answer your questions and chat with you. They're all very welcoming and like getting into conversation with you. Some of them might even invite you to be their guest.
Hafez Tomb - Mausoleum of Hafez- Hafez (1324-1391), the greatest master of Persian lyric poetry and the literary giant of the 14th century in the west and central Asia, was born in Shiraz, lived all his life here, sang its praises in unsurpassed verse and was buried in a garden known after him as the Hafezieh, in the northeast part of the city. The extraordinary popularity and the wide appeal of this great poet among all Persian-speaking people make his tomb a cherished placed, visited by all. This mausoleum too was rebuilt in the early 50’s. A flight of stone steps reaches to the tomb under a tiled cupola resembling a dervish’s hat. The tombstone is beautifully inscribed with two of Hafez’s poems or Ghazals. Visitors to the tomb can still, as they have done for centuries, take the omens, or faals, by picking a page at random from a volume of Hafez, kept for this purpose. Entry 150,000 rials for foreigners.
Saadi Tomb - Recommended. Mausoleum of Saadi: Here lie the earthly remains of one of Iran’s greatest poets-Sa’di. Even from the very early days after the poet’s death, the mausoleum of Sa’di became a place of pilgrimage to lovers of poetry and literature. In 1808 AD Karim Khan Zand renovated the mausoleum. The tomb was rebuilt in the early 50’s. The porch with its tall columns of pinkish marble is a traditional feature of Iranian architecture.
Arg of Karim Khan - formerly a prison, but now an architectural wonder on exhibit. The design of the citadel combines military and residential architecture, for it was the home of Karim Khan and the military centre of the dynasty. Tile works depicting legendary tales were added at the entrance gate of the citadel during the Qajar period.
Afif Abad Gardens
Afif abad Garden (Bagh-e-afifabad) - a garden and houses owned by the Ghavami family. Highly recommended. It contains a former royal mansion, a historical weapons museum, and a Persian garden that is one of the oldest gardens in Shiraz, all open to the public.
Eram Garden (Bagh-e-eram) - Highly recommended. This stunningly beautiful complex contains a vast network of gardens, as well as a colorful palace and a system of small artificial rivers flowing throughout the entire area. Tourists can admire the wonderful flora or follow the little canals' intricate system. Make sure the weather is sunny before coming here!
Narangestan Qavam (Bagh-e-naranjestan)is both traditional and historical house, It was built in the mid-to-late 19th century by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. The Qavam "Naranjestan" preserves the elegance and refinement enjoyed by the upper class families during the 19th century. The mirrored porch was a focal point of the house, overlooking onto gardens lined with date palms and flowers.The house today is a museum open to the public. Highly recommended.
Delgosha Garden (Bagh-e-delgosha)
Interior of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque it was built during the Qājār era, the mosque has extensively colored glass in its facade, and other traditional elements such as panj kāseh-i (five concaves) in its design.
Jame’e Atigh Mosque
Vakil Mosque was built between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand period; however, it was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period where its exuberant floral decorative tiles date from.
Vakil Bath - An old public bath, highly recommended.
Vakil Bazaar - has beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, bath houses, and old shops where hundreds of vendor are housed, which makes it deemed among the best places in Shiraz to buy all kinds of Persian rugs, spices, copper handicrafts and antiques. Highly recommended.
Saray-e-Moshir - a caravansary at the south entrance of Bazaar Vakil, which now functions as exhibition space for Iranian handicrafts. highly recommended.
Shah Cheragh - Highly recommended. Seyed Amir Ahmad, known as Shah-e Cheragh, the brother of Imam Reza, came to Shiraz in the latter half of the 8th century. He passed away in the city and his tomb is now a respected place of pilgrimage. The structure, tile work and the dome of the mausoleum have been rebuilt several times over the centuries. The tomb, the beautiful silver doors and the exquisite mirror work are the handicrafts of masters and contemporary artists of Shiraz.
Abesh Khatoon Tomb
Seyed Taj-e-din Gharib Tomb
Sheykh Roozbahan Tomb
Ghal'eye Karim Khan
Qor'an Gate (Dar vazeh Quran) - the city's main entrance. The original gate was built as an ornamental decoration by the Buwwayhids (Buwayhid dynasty) about 1000 years ago, but this was replaced 60 years ago by new gate, which is considered one of the finest architectural designs in Iran and has won numerous awards. From the the gate walk up the stone stairways to enjoy picturesque and panoramic views of Shiraz. The tomb of Khajooyeh Kermanee, a famous poet is also located here. Hidden in the alleys on the hill-side are numerous restaurants that serve the finest chelo kabob. It is an excellent place for picnics and taking photographs. It's easily reachable when coming back from Persepolis as it is on the main highway going north. You can ask your driver to drop you off there.
Retail stores usually open between 09:00 and 13:00, reopening again from 17:00 to 21:00. It is customary to haggle for a discount, which is referred to as a takhfeef.
Bazaar Vakeel - a huge ancient bazaar specializing in fine carpets, textiles, antiques and handicrafts and spices . There is also a wonderful courtyard with a pool located in the bazaar perfect for photographs. It is called 'Saraye Moorshirr'. Visit Sharzeh and Hamam Vakeel for a great dining experience located just outside the bazaar.
Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk (The house of Zinat ol-molk), Next to Naranjestan Qavam. Historical house and adjoining gardens that house the Fars Dignatories museum. edit
Kebab with rice - like elsewhere in Iran, the mighty old kebab with rice is a common fare, though Shiraz does offer a local variation on the national dish.
Shirazi Salad - A delicious and famous salad available throughout Iran, made with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing.
Kalam polo - A traditional food found only in Shiraz. Some delivery food restaurants serve this food but it can be hard to find in normal restaurants. It is a dish made of Rice, meat balls, chopped cabbage and some other vegetables and spices.
Ash shirazi - It is a kind of soup made of vegetables and meat. It is served all over the city early in the morning. People eat this for breakfast. But please note that it's only served really early in the morning (from roughly 5 to 7 a.m).
Masghati Halva - a great dessert and snack.
Nokhod(Chickpea) Cookie - delicious cookie made of chickpeas, known as one of Shiraz's souvenirs.
Shirazi Paloodeh - Paloodeh is an ice cream made of rice starch, which takes the form of noodles. It is flavored with "sharbat" (sugar water), which can be of different flavors. Shirazian paloodeh is the best paloodeh in Iran especially when mixed with Bahar-e-Naranj liquor.
You can find coffee shops at shopping centres and on the main streets. Some are big and some are small.
Ferdozi Café is an awesome hangout spot with a nice selection, decent prices, cute interiors and nice music. Very friendly, English speaking staff, English menu, decent prices, free Wi-Fi and hip Iranians. Open from 9:30am to 11:30pm. They serve breakfast until around 11:30 and some food after 6pm. It's located in the western section of Ferdouzi street, between the 12th and the 14th alley, across the Arian hotel. Try their herbal drinks with seeds inside, very tasty and refreshing.
Golshan Hostel, No. 15 Alley 38. Lotfali Khan-e-Zand (Look for sign on the north side boardwalk of the street, follow the alley), ☎ +98-711-2220715 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Awesome traditional court to hang around, drink tea and have a shisha. The owner, Parviz, is an honest and good host, who speaks English fluelently. He knows all transport possibilities and can book you a hotel, he likes, at another city at a fair price. Tours guide are good guys. There is a ten-bed dorm room. The hostel runs tours to Persepolis-Necropolis US$30 (half-day, admission fee not included (150,000 IRR + 100,000 IRR)) and Pasargad-Necropolis-Persepolis US$45 (full-day, admission fee not included (150,000 IRR + 100,000 IRR + 150,000 IRR)).Dorm bed: IRR320,000 IRR; Single: IRR:750,000; Double: IRR900,000; Triple: IRR1,650,000. Breakfast included.. edit
Niayesh Boutique Hotel, No. 10, Shahzadeh Jamali Lane, Bibi Dokhtaran Mausoleum Lane, Namazi junction, Lotfali Khan-e Zand St. (Difficult to find, but it's not far from Shah-e Cheragh Shrine. From the police station 300 metres or so up the road it's clearly signposted.), ☎ +98-711-2233623 (email@example.com), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 13.00. A new hotel with a nice inner courtyard and an OK restaurant serving standard fare. There is a six bed dormitory. Great value for money. Optional extras like tea and laundry are quite expensive, so make sure you settle on a price before agreeing to use additional services. Moreover, don't try to book a pricate car through this hotel. There are reports that the drivers usually claim that you have spent more time on sightseeing than you actually did and overcharge you. Even if you complain to the hotel, they will not be able to help either. The hotel offers tours to Persepolis via Fars Tourist Agency for US$20-25 (half-day) and US$30-45 (full-day).Dorm bed: US$10, Single: US$25;, Double: US$40; Triple: US$50, includes breakfast. edit
Pasargad was a Persian capital built by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. Around 500 BC, Darius I built a new capital at Persepolis 50 km away. Both are now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and both are near Shiraz.
Takht-e-Jamshid (Persepolis) - The centre of the great Persian Empire, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenians and the showpiece of Achaemenian art, Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) is a historic site in Fars Province, 60 km to the northeast of Shiraz. Iranians call it Takht-e Jamshid (The throne of Jamshid), Jamshid being the first, probably mythical, ruler of Iran. This magnificent court was the summer residence of the Achaemenian emperors and their official reception quarters. It must be by some strange accident of history that Persepolis was never mentioned in foreign records, for it was here that representatives of all the varied peoples of the empire gathered to pay homage, and bring tribute, to the King of Kings, probably each spring, at the time of the ancient Now Ruz festival. Although set on fire and destroyed by Alexander in a gesture symbolizing the destruction of Persian imperial power, its still impressive ruins permit a fairly complete reconstruction of its original appearance.
Palace of Ardashir – The Palace ruins of Sassanid king Ardashir I. As of September 2014, entrance is 150000 Rial per person for foreign tourists. To get there, there are several options. You can either hire a taxi from anywhere in Shiraz, take a shared taxi from the front of the Kar Andish Bus Terminal in the east of the city or go by bus. Local minibuses leave from the so called Ali Ibn Hamze Terminal, which is a smaller terminal south of the bigger Kar Andish domestic bus terminal, right next to the river. Ask for minibuses to Mavdasht or Persepolis. One ride is 15000 or 20000 Rial per person. From Mavdasht, taxis take you to Persepolis in 10 minutes. Don't pay more than a maximum of 60000 Rials. To get back to Shiraz, take a taxi from Persepolis to Mavdasht Terminal, which is a hardly visible spot next to the street near the southern exit of Mavdasht. If you ask locals for 'bus Shiraz', they'll point you. From there, minibuses leave again when they are full for 15000 Rial per person. On the way to Persepolis, you pass the Qur'an gate(city gate). You can ask the driver to drop you off at 'Darvazeh ye Qur'an' to visit that after coming back from Persepolis.