He has so many creations and yet He never forgets me. But I only have One Creator, and I’ve forgotten Him countless of times (Saadi)
I wish I could show you when when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being (Hafez)
The next journey was to Shiraz, in Fars Province. It would take around 8 hours to arrive at Shiraz. On the left and the right side of the road were mostly desert. It was beautiful tho..
One thing to be noted, it was very difficult to find a toilet on the highway. In the middle of the trip, I felt like I wanted to go to the rest room. I told the driver to stop whenever he found a toilet. Gosh, it took forever! I could not wait anymore and ‘force’ him to stop. I did ‘my business’ around the bush, haha. By the way, I am not suggesting this because it was not a decent thing to do in Iran.
Prior to arrival at Shiraz, there were two stops. The first, the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae. Cyrus the Great is believed to unify the area which became the seed of modern-day Iran. Since 2015, the tomb was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. We only saw the tomb from the entrance gate.
The second stop was at Davazeh Quran (Gate of Quran). It is situated in the north of Shiraz, just right before we entered the city. It was built during Zand Dinasty period (1750 AD). Inside the small room on the top of the gate, two hand-written Quran by Sultan Ibrahim bin Shahrukh Gurekani were kept to give blessing to anyone who passes underneath.
And we were finally in the town! Shiraz is known as the city of the poets of which two of them were Hafez and Saadi. Shiraz was also known as one of the cities which already existed since the ancient Persia. And it was obvious that Shiraz was a prosperous city in the past.
We stayed at the downtown, very close to Karim Khan Citadel. We did have quite long check-list to fulfil…
First thing the morning we headed to Shah Cheragh, a mausoleum of Ahmad and Muhammad, the sons of the 7th Shi’a Imam, Musa al Kadzim. Shah Cheragh is an honourable place of pilgrimage for Shia, along with Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom and Imam Reza (the 8th Imam) Holy Shrine in Mashhad. Fatimah Masumeh, Imam Reza, Ahmad and Muhammad were siblings.
The shrine welcomes any visitors. So, it won’t matter if you are Shiite or not. I myself don’t embrace Shia, but they welcome me and the rest of our group. They even invited us to have tea afterwards. It seemed that Indonesia has positive image to them. Ah yes, there was no entrance fee.
For ladies, you have to wear a chador, which is provided by the shrine administration. If you are a non-Farsi speaker, a tour guide will be assigned to your group with respect to gender. A female tour guide accompanies the ladies and the male tour guide goes with the guys.
I would say that they were very professional. I was impressed with the lady tour guide. She was knowledgeable and spoke English very well! I bet her IELTS was at least 8.0!
And the interior was stunning and distinctive! It was decorated with colourful tiny mirrors, which bounces light around the room to give ethereal glow. The philosophy behind the design was, to check if there is something wrong with you, you would find a mirror. Yes, a good person shall introspect him/ herself many times.
The next trip was to Eram Garden. This beautiful garden belonged to a Shiraz noble family. It then became national property and has been declared as UNECSO World Heritage Sites. We did not spend much time there, so it was basically for taking pictures 🙂
The next target was Mausoleum of Saadi, who was one of the greatest poets from Iran, not only famous in the Middle East, but also in Europe. We also stopped by the tomb of Hafez, another famous poet from Shiraz.
After lunch, we proceed to Masjid Nasir al Mulk. The masjid was built during Qajar Dinasty. From the outside, it was just like another masjid. However, what you would see inside is absolutely gorgeous. The masjid is famous for its stained-glass windows. In the morning, the sun light passes through the windows and falling over the carpet inside the masjid. What you see on the carpet is bewitching. Unfortunately, I visited it on the afternoon so I could not see that. Even without it, the masjid is still beautiful.
That is Shiraz. A home to gardens, a gathering venue for scholars, an inspiration for poets, a resting place for well-respected humans. Shiraz is truly divine, sophisticated and enchanting. It has lots to offer. Yet I believe there are more undiscovered gems hidden in Shiraz.