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Glory of Ancient Persia from My Point of View (Page 4)

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All photographs of this album by Sohail Forouzan-sepehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.  Using any photograph is only permitted by referring full-name of the photographer & the website as: "
Photograph taken by Sohail Forouzan-sepehr"

4-8 June 2007, Homa Hotel (5*), Shiraz, Iran

(Also Persepolis, Pasargadae, Firuzabad, Kazerun)


Shiraz Local Time

Shiraz, an ancient city in south-western Iran and capital of Fars Province, located in the Zagros Mountains, is a commercial centre of the surrounding region, which produces grapes, citrus fruit, cotton, and rice. It is known as the city of poetry, wine, roses, and also considered by many Iranians to be the City of Love due to the many gardens and fruit-trees that can be seen in the city. Shiraz is most likely more than 4000 years old. The earliest reference to the city is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC, found in June of 1970, while digging to make a kiln for a brick making factory in SW corner of the city. The tablets written in ancient Elamite, name a city called "Tiraziš" [Ref: George G Cameron (1948); "Persepolis Treasury Tablets", University of Chicago Press, pp 115]. The name Shiraz also appears on clay sealings found at Qasr e Abu-Nasr, a Sassanid ruin, east of the city (2nd century AD). As early as the 11th century several hundred thousand people inhabited Shiraz. It had an estimated population of 1,255,955 in 2005. Incidentally the oldest sample of wine in the world dating to approximately 7000 years ago was also discovered on clay jars recovered outside of Shiraz. The city is also famous for its people hospitality.

210. The way to Qavam's Complex

211 & 212. Residence of Zinat-ol-Molk Qavami, sister of Mirza Ebrahim Khan e Qavam (governor of Fars province during Qajar era), is now a museum of wax figures of historical characters, some of them are shown below.

213. A Qajarid gurad of the Persian version of Madame Tussaud's museum of wax figures!

216. Another Qajarid guard

214 & 215. Zinat-ol-Molk Qavami, the charitable sister of Mirza Ebrahim Khan e Qavam (governor of Fars province during Qajar era)

217. Audience of Darius the Great.

218. An imaginary figure of Queen Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great.

219. A wax figure of Sapor I (Shapur I in Persian), Sassanid king of Persia who reigned from 241 to 272 AD and consolidated and expanded the empire founded by his father, Ardashir I. Shapur defeated Valerian (Publius Licinius Valerianus, Roman emperor from 253 to 260 AD) and captured him. The surrender of Valerian was carved in Naqsh e Rostam and Tang e Chogan. I believe this figure has not been made the true likeness of Shapur, since he seems quite handsome in the bas-reliefs.

220. An imaginary figure of Barbad, the most famous and skilled musician in Khosrow II Parviz court. He created the first ever musical system in the Middle East, known as the "Royal Khosravani", dedicated to the king. This musical system conceived by Barbad consisted of seven royal modes, thirty derivative modes, and three-hundred sixty melodies, one melody for each day of the year; since in the Iranian ancient calendar, a year was divided into 12 months of 30 days and the last 5 days were just celebrated and not counted as part of the year.

221. Another shot of Barbad scene

222. Ab-ol-Moghith Hussein ebn Mansur e Hallaj (858-922 AD), Iranian controversial writer and teacher of Islamic Sufi mysticism. Because he represented in his person and works the experiences, causes, and aspirations of many Muslims, arousing admiration in some and repression on the part of others, the drama of his life and death has been considered a reference point in Islamic history.

Hallaj was born in the southern Iranian community of Tur in the province of Fars. According to tradition, his grandfather was a Zoroastrian. At an early age Hallaj went to live in the city of Wasit, an important Iraqi centre for textiles, trade, and Arab culture. His father had become a Muslim and may have supported the family by carding wool.

Hallaj has been identified as an "intoxicated" Sufi in contradistinction to a "sober" one. The former are those who, in the moment of ecstasy, are so overcome by the presence of the divine that awareness of personal identity is lost and who experience a merging with ultimate reality. In that exalted state, the Sufi is given to using extravagant language. Not long before his arrest Hallaj is said to have uttered the statement "Ana al-Haqq" (means in Arabic: "I am the Truth"), which provided cause for the accusation that he had claimed to be divine. Such a statement was highly inappropriate in the view of most Muslims.

Finally, Baghdad authorities execute him by brutally torturing. He is jailed for nine years, flogged, mutilated, scaffolded, and then burned.

223. Sheikh Mosleh-ed-Din Sa'di (1213-1292 AD), Persian poet and one of the greatest figures in classical Persian literature, admired for his blend of wisdom and kindness, and for the elegance of his verse.

Born in Shiraz, Sa'di studied in Baghdad and later travelled widely through Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Arabia, Iraq, and perhaps India and Central Asia. In North Africa he was held captive by the Franks and put to work in the trenches of the fortress of Tripoli.

After returning to Shiraz in the 1250s, Sa'di wrote his most famous works: the "Bustan" (The Orchard, 1257 AD), a verse collection of fables, maxims, and histories illustrating Islamic virtues (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment); and the "Golestan" (The Rose Garden, 1258 AD), a book of prose stories and anecdotes interspersed with short poems and maxims.

Sa'di took his nom de plume from the name of the local governor, Atabak Abubakr Sa'd ebn e Zangi (1231-1260 AD).

Manifesting a deeply human understanding of life's serious predicaments, made Sa'di one of the most typical of Iranian culture and beloved poets in the world.

One of his more famous poems is used to grace the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the UN building in New York with this call for breaking all barriers:

"Of one Essence is the human race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base;

One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace."

(Translated from Persian by Prof Iraj Bashiri)

224. An ancient Turkic origin Iranian local queen whose name I have forgotten.

225. Qashqai tribal people, who are one of the most important ethnic groups in Fars of Turkic origin and speech; but almost all of the Qashqais today speak Farsi as their first language. The Qashqais are renowned for their magnificent pile carpets and other woven wool products. The wool produced in the mountains and valleys near Shiraz is exceptionally soft and beautiful and takes a deeper colour than wool from other parts of Iran. Qashqai saddlebags, adorned with colourful geometric designs, are considered to be the finest available.

226. A Persian calligrapher whose name I have forgotten.

227. An imaginary figure of Ustad Isa Shirazi, the assumed Persian architect of "Taj Mahal", which was ordered to be built by the Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan (1628-1658 AD), as a burial place for himself and his favourite Iranian wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The construction of Taj Mahal began in 1632 AD and took 22 years. A group of architects were called from various countries of the world, including the Ottoman Empire, India, Persia and Italy. Credit for the construction as the head of all architects is usually given with some uncertainty to Ustad Isa, who is shown here. But according to some others, Ustad Ahmad Lahori, an Indian architect of Persian descent, is the man who shaped Taj and made it a reality.

228. Karim Khan Zand, ruler and de facto Shah of Iran (1760-1779 AD). He restored peace to the kingdom after the strife following the collapse of the Safavid dynasty. Of humble tribal origin, Karim Khan became one of the generals of his predecessor, Nader Shah. In the chaotic aftermath of Nader Shah's assassination in 1747, Karim Khan became a major contender for power but was challenged by several adversaries. In order to add legitimacy to his claim, Karim Khan in 1757 placed on the throne the infant Shah Ismail III, the grandson of the last official Safavid king. Ismail was a figurehead king, real power being vested in Karim Khan, who never claimed the title of "Shahanshah" (= "king of kings") but used that of "Vakil" (= "regent").

By 1760 Karim Khan had defeated all his rivals and controlled all of Iran except Khorasan, respecting its ruler, Shahrokh, the blind grandson of Nader Shah. During Karim Khan's rule Iran recovered from the devastation of 40 years of war. He made Shiraz his capital, constructing many fine buildings. Moreover, he reorganized the fiscal system of the kingdom, removing some of the heavy burdens of taxation from the agricultural classes. An active patron of the arts, he attracted many scholars and poets to his capital.

229. Maybe Shah Shoja of Muzaffarid dynasty. I am not sure.

230. ?

231. Lotf-Ali Khan Zand (reigned 1789-1794 AD)

. He faced the resurgent Agha Mohammad Khan of the Qajar dynasty from 1792 and fought against him with his small army, then escaped to Shiraz and ordered the gates to be closed. Lotf-Ali lost Shiraz when his chancellor, Haj Ebrahim Khan e Kalantar, betrayed him and opened the city gates to his enemy. In 1793 he defeated the Qajars and in 1794 captured Kerman. But soon, he was besieged in Kerman for six months by Agha Mohammad Khan. When the city fell to Agha Mohammad Khan, angered by the popular support that Lotf-Ali Khan had received, all the male inhabitants were killed or blinded, and a pile was made out of 20,000 detached eyeballs and poured in front of the victorious Agha Mohammad Khan. The women and children were sold into slavery, and the city was destroyed over ninety days. Lotf-Ali however escaped the siege but was again betrayed and captured soon after, near Bam. He was blinded personally by the hands of Agha Mohammad Khan, imprisoned in jail in Tehran and tortured to death.

232. Mirza Hasan-Ali e Nasir-ol-Molk, one of the Qajarid lords, who ordered the construction of Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque in 1876 AD.

233. Mirza Jahangir Khan e Shirazi (1870 or 1875- 1908 AD), Iranian writer and intellectual, and a revolutionary during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911 AD). He is best known for his bold editorship of the progressive weekly newspaper "Sur e Esrafil", of which he was also the founder. He was executed, at the age of 38, or 32, for his revolutionary zeal, following the successful coup d'état of Mohammad-Ali Shah Qajar in June 1908.

234. Ali Sami, Iranian archaeologist and director of the Archaeological Institute of Persepolis during the 1940s and 1950s.

235. "Qavam's Narenjestan" (= Qavam's Orangery) was built between 1879-1886 AD by Mirza Ibrahim Khan e Qavam, the governor of Fars province during Qajar era.

"Narenjestan" preserves the elegance and refinement enjoyed by the upper class families during the nineteenth century. The paintings on the low ceilings of the house are inspired by Victorian era Europe. The mirrored porch was a focal point of the house, overlooking onto gardens lined with date palms and flowers.

During the second Pahlavi era, the House became the headquarters of Pahlavi University's "Asia Institute", directed by Arthur Pope and Richard Nelson Frye. Frye and his family also lived in the house for a while as well. The house today is a museum open to the public.

The following photos have been taken there.

236. The Mirrored Hall, inside the Qavam's complex.

237. Very beautiful roof of the Mirrored Hall

238 to 240. Inside the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery 241. Front facade of the building

242. Entrance of the Qavam's complex

243. View of the building from the garden

244. Front facade of the building

245. Exterior view of the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery

246. The building pediment

247. An ancient stone basin covered by a glass shelter.

248. The building pediment

254. Mirrored roof of the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery

249 to 251. Inside the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery

255. Inside the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery


252 & 253. Interior view, Qavam's Orangery

256. Interior roof, Qavam's Orangery

264. Very beautiful craftsmanship on the interior roof, Qavam's Orangery

257.Interior view and window glasswork craftsmanship, Qavam's Orangery

260. Interior view, Qavam's Orangery

258 & 259. Interior view, Qavam's Orangery

261. Inside the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery

263. Inside the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery



265. An interior door, Qavam's Orangery



262. Roof of the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery


266. Interior view, Qavam's Orangery

267. The building pediment

270. Entrance of the the Mirrored Hall, Qavam's Orangery

268 & 269. Inside the museum of Orangery


272. Beautiful wooden columns & roof, Qavam's Orangery

271. Front facade of the building Orangery with the "Lion and Sun" motif which is an ancient emblem of Iran till 1979. [For more information please refer to: A Shapur Shahbazi  (2001); "Flags", Encyclopaedia Iranica]

273. A wall-painting in the front side of Orangery depicting three Qajarid figures.

274. Another beautiful craftsmanship on the interior roof, Qavam's Orangery

275. Mausoleum of Sa'di. More information about him is available in the caption of fig 223. The tomb was rebuilt many times and finally the old brick building was demolished in 1948 and the present mausoleum was constructed in 1954, in a vast garden of 7700 m2 and has become one of the popular sights of Shiraz.

276. A beautiful wall-painting together with a basin and fountain near the entrance of tomb of Sa'di are common decorative components in traditional Iranian architecture.

277. A bronze chandelier in Sa'di's mausoleum.

278. Admirers of one of the greatest humanists of the world, Sa'di, visiting his tomb.

279 & 280. Two poems by Sa'di inscribed on the walls of his mausoleum. 281. Tourists and Sa'di's fans visiting his tomb.

284. The way to the basement of Sa'di's mausoleum where is now a traditional cafe.

282 to 284. Mausoleum of Sa'di

285. "Mahi-Khaneh" (= "Fish-House" in Persian) is a nice traditional cafe on the cellar level of Sa'di's mausoleum. Here in this shot you can see the beautiful dome-like roof the basement.

288. A mosaic shot of "Mahi-Khaneh" representing tourists interested in the underground springs and its small fishes.

286 & 287. An underground spring in the basement of Sa'di's mausoleum (Mahi-Khaneh), a residence for small fishes. A nice and cool place for tourists to rest and have some snacks.

289. Please refer to the description of figs 285 & 288.

290. Entrance of "Mahi-Khaneh"

291. Tomb of Shurideh inside the Sa'di's mausoleum.

Mohammad-Taghi Shurideh Shirazi (1857-1926 AD) known as Fasih-ol-Molk, was a blind eloquent poet of Qajarid era and the honourer trustee of Sa'di's mausoleum.

292 & 293. Another shots of Sa'di's mausoleum

294. Mausoleum of Hafez (Hafezieh)

Khajeh Shams-od-Din Mohammad Hafez e Shirazi (1325 or 26 - 1389 or 1390 AD), one of the finest lyric poets of Persia whose poetry possessed elements of modern surrealism, gained the respectful title Hafez, meaning "one who has memorized the Quran" as a theologian. He was a member of the order of Sufi mystics and also, at times, a court poet. His poems on one level celebrate the pleasures of drinking, hunting, and love at the court of Shiraz. On a deeper level they reflect his consuming devotion as a Sufi to union with the divine. They also satirise hypocritical Muslim religious leaders. His appeal in the West is indicated by the numerous translations of his poems.

Hafez's work, collected under the title of "Divan", contains more than 500 poems, most of them in the form of a ghazal, a short traditional Persian form that he perfected. Each consists of up to 15 highly structured rhyming couplets dealing with one subject. The language is simple, lyrical, and heartfelt. His poetry is characterised by love of humanity, contempt for hypocrisy and mediocrity, and an ability to universalise everyday experience and to relate it to the mystic's unending search for union with God.

Hafez is greatly admired both in Iran and, in translation, in the West. Especially appealing are his love for the common person and his relation of daily life to the search of humanity for the eternal.


  1. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2007. © 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation.

  2. Encyclopędia Britannica. Encyclopędia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite

  3. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia

298. Mausoleum of Hafez

295. Mausoleum of Hafez 296 & 297. Tomb of Hafez


When Hafez died, controversy raged as to whether or not he should be given a religious burial in light of his clearly hedonistic lifestyle and, at most times, unorthodox ways! His friends, however, convinced the authorities using Hafez's own poetry to allow it. Twenty years after his death, an elaborate tomb (the "Hafezieh") was erected to honour Hafez in the "Mosalla" Gardens in Shiraz. Inside, Hafez's alabaster tombstone bore one of his poems inscribed upon it - "profoundly religious at last" (Durant):

"Where are the tidings of union? that I may arise-
Forth from the dust I will rise up to welcome thee!
My soul, like a homing bird, yearning for paradise,
Shall arise and soar, from the snares of the world set free.
When the voice of thy love shall call me to be thy slave,
I shall rise to a greater far than the mastery
Of life and the living, time and the mortal span.
Pour down, O Lord! from the clouds of thy guiding grace,
The rain of a mercy that quickeneth on my grave,
Before, like dust that the wind bears from place to place,
I arise and flee beyond the knowledge of man.
When to my grave thou turnest thy blessed feet,
Wine and the lute thou shalt bring in thine hand to me;
Thy voice shall ring through the fold of my winding-sheet,
And I will arise and dance to thy minstrelsy.
Though I be old, clasp me one night to thy breast,
And I, when the dawn shall come to awaken me,
With the flush of youth on my cheek from thy bosom will rise.
Rise up! let mine eyes delight in thy stately grace!
Thou art the goal to which all men's endeavour has pressed,
And thou the idol of Hafez's worship; thy face
From the world and life shall bid him come forth and arise!"

(Translation from Persian by Gertrude Bell)

Nowadays, "Hafezieh" is visited by millions of tourists and his admirers each year and regarded by countless people to be a veritable shrine.

Ref: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia

299. Columns of the mausoleum as a masterpiece of architecture of Zand era

300 to 302. Inside Hafezieh

303 to 306. Inside Hafezieh

307 to 310. Inside Hafezieh

314. A wall-painting in the front side of Hafezieh

311 to 313. Inside Hafezieh

315. Inside Hafezieh

316 & 317. Other tombstones in Hafezieh 318 & 319. Inside Hafezieh

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