If you think of the tasty wine of that same name, forget it. Until the Islamic Revolution in the early 1970s, this fine beverage was eagerly consumed in Iran. Nowadays only the grapes are for sale. This does not mean the very wine of the name ceased to exist. Local farmers still produce small quantities for themselves, rumors say.
Nevertheless Shiraz has other sights to pride itself, lush gardens and the tombs of famous Shirazi. Flying in from Teheran we saw nothing but barren mountains without any vegetation, with patches of green in the flat terrain.
Once in the city, green trees embrace every street and make it a great place to walk. The showcase garden of Shiraz is Bagh-e-Eram with a beautifully renovated building that mirrors in the large pool draws most tourists. School children are taken to the garden to have their photo taken and enjoy a picnic, couples sit on benches, whispering to each other and holding hands (an absolute novelty we hear).
Another carefully kept garden surrounds the tomb of Shiraz most famous poet, Hafez. To touch the tombstone and have your picture taken is a must-do, for local and international tourists alike. Iranians love to take photos of each other. This allowed for some great photo opportunities. Like at the beautiful Tomb of Saadi, the other great Shirazi poet, who wrote about gardens and roses. Some of his elegantly phrased verses are still commonly used in conversations.
But most of our time we spent in the maze-like bazaar. Embedded in this labyrinth we found mosques, small eateries, ancient caravanserais and Shiraz’s oldest teahouse. The bazaar caters entirely to local needs: incredible colorful material for festive clothing, brass pots and in all sizes, shoes, carpets, jewelry, you name it.
In Shiraz we treated ourselves to the very comfortable Park Saadi Hotel, right opposite the Bagh-e-Jahan Nama garden in a quiet location with large rooms. The 15 minutes walk to the city was a sight seeing tour of its own that took us past bakeries (producing longish flat bread), mosques and shops.