Iran / Fars Province
The Fars province is located in the south of the country and is considered the cultural capital of Iran. The word 'Persia' is derived from 'Fars' (the Arabised version of 'Pars' in Old Persian) due to the historical importance of the region. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capital of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars, and are monuments of one of the largest empires in the history of the world.
Shiraz is the capital of the Fars province and one of the most populous cities of the country. As a regional trade centre for over a thousand years, Shiraz is regarded as one of the oldest cities of Iran, as well as a cultural, literary and artistic capital. It also used to be the capital of Iran during the Zand dynasty in the 18th century.
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The Mausoleum of Hafez is located in the Musalla Gardens of Shiraz.
Hafez was a 14th century Persian poet whose collected works are regarded as a 'pinnacle' of Persian literature and are found in the homes of most people in Iran. Hafez has a significant cultural and spiritual importance to Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings.
Old Bazaar in Shiraz
The Vakil Bazaar, one of the oldest bazaars in the world, is located in the old city centre of Shiraz. Featuring beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, and bath houses, its shops are offer all kinds of Persian rugs, spices, copper handicrafts and antiques.
A restaurant is now located in the former bathhouse of the bazaar.
On a conference trip in 2002, Fars nomads demonstrated traditional handicraft, cooking and dancing. In the picture below, Qashqai women are weaving a carpet.
Persepolis, situated around 70 kilometres northeast of Shiraz, was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire around 500 BC and exemplifies the architectural style of the Achaemenid era. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although much of the city was burned down by Alexander of Macedon around 300 BC, the ruins of the city are still breathtaking in their grand architecture and design.
Pasargadae (Kings Tombs)
Another ancient Persian city and UNESCO Heritage Site, Pasargadae is also located near Shiraz within 40 km of Persepolis, and was the first Achaemenid capital and the resting place of Cyrus the Great.