Do It Yourself: Shiraz Walking Tour
Travel to Iran, but if you're like me you'll want to explore the cities on your own: such as this Shiraz City Walking Tour. Here's a guide on how to have a perfect morning in Shiraz. The perfect morning includes awe inspiring buildings, fascinating history and plenty of culture along the way. Check out the below picture book of an easy Shiraz walking tour.
Visit the citadel of Karimkhan in Shiraz, the capital city during the Zand Dynasty. The Arg-e-Karim Khan was built in 1180 AH (1766-7). Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of the time and bought the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the citadel, a massive project quickly constructed in about 1 year. During the Zand dynasty it was used as living quarters by the king, as a governors seat during the following Qajar period, then a prison with the fall of Qajars (cusp of Pahlavi Empire), and finally today is a museum operated by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization. My guess is Karim Khan's architects rushed the footings a little too quickly, because there's a whopper of a lean on some corner towers (think 'Leaning tower of Pisa'). Nonetheless it's a fascinating place inside, you might want to come back at night for superb photo opportunities!
Stop by the Pars Museum to see the amazing paintings and artworks, Karim Khan's Tomb and Nazar Gardens. The old Nazar Garden was one of the largest gardens of Shiraz during the Safavid rule (1501–1722). During Zand dynasty (1750–1794) Karim Khan built an octagon structure which was called Kolah Farangi. It was used to receive and entertain foreign guests and ambassadors and hold official ceremonies. It is also the burial place of Karim Khan Zand. It's perhaps doesn't have world class charm and architecture, but it's incredibly powerful with profound history when tracing the line of Persian Kings during the times of European medieval conquests. Why not have a picnic and read poetry on the grass, or just read up on the history and soak up the powerful energy around you.
Then not far away, go checkout the Vakil Bazaar, Vakil Bathhouse and Vakil Mosque to see the exquisite architectural styles and learn about the history. Vakil Bazaar (Persian: بازار وکیل) is the main bazaar of Shiraz located in the historical center of the city. It is thought that the market was originally established by the Buwayhids in the 11th century AD, and extended by the Atabaks of Fars, and finally renamed during the reign of Karim Khan Zand in the 18th century. The Bazaar has beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, bath houses, and old shops which are deemed among the best places in Shiraz to buy all kinds of Persian rugs, spices, copper handicrafts and antiques. Go tire yourself out crawling through the souvenirs and chatting to bazaaris, before finishing off your perfect morning with the perfect lunch at the nearby traditional restaurant Saraye Moshir.
Don't worry - Shiraz is SAFE to roam freely! Shirazi's are known to be the warmest and most relaxed of all major cities in Iran, they don't worry about politics and arguments too much: it's poetry, literature and community down here. All these sites are very close to each other, so you can walk between them in a few hours. That is if you don't stop chatting with every local, taking photos, or sitting too much along the way. But to be honest it would be a shame if you didn't have a local Shirazi guide to explain all the history and culture to you. After all Iran has some of the richest history in the world, but unfortunately there is not much tourist information available throughout Shiraz let alone Iran.
If you need a trustworthy private guide organized, please write to "customercare AT searchingforiran.com." Otherwise it's much cheaper and more enjoyable to join a group for as little as $10 here.
Other popular sites around Shiraz City include:
- Hafez Tomb - Top Site;
- Shah Cheragh Shrine - Top Site;
- Masjed-e Nasir-al-Molk (Pink Mosque);
- Bagh-e Eram (UNESCO Eram Gardens);
- Imamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze;
- Naranjestan Palace and Gardens;
- Zinat Al-Molook House;
- Jameh Atighe Mosque;
And many more..
Not to mention many more short trips you can take around the Shiraz region. Including visiting nomads, Pasargadae (Cyrus Tomb), Persepolis (Heart of Achaemenid Empire during the rise of the Greek Empire), Naqsh-e Rustam (Reliefs and Tombs of famous Achaemenid Kings), Bishapoor (Iran's answer to Roman Empire, with traces to Parthian and Elimites Empires), climbing Dena Mountains (47 mountaintops higher than 4000 m), winter skiing, white water rafting, wildlife national parks, castles, caravanserai's, and many other cultural sites.