3 days in Shiraz and a day trip to Persepolis.
3 days in Shiraz and a day trip to Persepolis. Shiraz famous for its Pink Mosque and close to Persepolis: One of the most historical places on earth.
We arrived early morning by night bus from Kerman. Well rested, since the VIP buses in Iran are super luxurious and comfortable we actually got some decent sleep.
Probably the number 1 thing to do in Shiraz is a visit to the Nasir-ol-molk Mosque also known as the Pink Mosque. Which is build in the late 19th century. Compared to most mosque’s in Iran not that old, but probably one of the most beautiful ones. It is famous for it’s glass stained windows. Which makes an incredibly beautiful light pattern in the morning.
Since the early morning sun gives the best views it attracts lots and lots of people. Who all try to take their chance of a new Instagram hit picture. This makes the visit rather annoying since most visitors there don’t give a shit about anyone. A french girl we met in Kerman came to the mosque with us and was carrying a Lonely Planet. An entitled little girl walked up to her, grabbed the Lonely Planet and started posing with it.
Not knowing we had to laugh or cry we watched how she was posing for the next best Instagram shot. It was quite entertaining the see hundreds of people all trying to take the same picture. Luckily not only the windows are beautiful and worth looking at!
Enough of tourists and Mosque’s we decided to head over to the Vakil Bazaar. Bazaars is something we will never get enough of.
The bazaar is super nice(like most of them in Iran), so we walked around for a few times. Oh and we bought a carpet. That was a bit of an impulse haha. We liked the idea of buying a Persian carpet while being in “Persia” since we came to Iran. But a bit hesitant on spending the money and not really knowing on how to get it home we bailed out of buying one in Isfahan.
But lo and behold we bought one. Walked into a few carpet shops and stumbled upon the one in the picture below. An 60-70 year old used handwoven nomadic carpet. We visited many carpet shops in the last weeks in Iran so we kinda knew what to look for. A nomadic carpet is basically a carpet made by nomadic tribes and has been used by them. No two are the same and usually have a bit of wear on them.
Now we just had to figure how to get it home!
Day 2: Persepolis
Probably the most historic and most famous place to visit in Iran: Persepolis.
A bit of history:
Persepolis was build(around 515BC) to be the capital of the first and largest Persian Empire: The Achaemenid Empire, an empire that stretched from Greece\Egypt in the west all the way into India in the east. It was the biggest Empire the Europe\Asia region had ever seen and perhaps will ever see. Before the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire. Which was founded and ruled by Cyrus the Great who had the idea of building Persepolis in the region where it is today. But it was one of his successors Darius I(Darius the Great) that started the building and made it the capital of Persia. Like all great empires they eventually fall, in this case by the hand of Alexander the Great who burned the city down in 330BC.
The significance of Perspolis and the Achaemenid empire was enormous. It served as the capital for so many different people and cultures: Egypts, Greeks, Babylonians, Arabian, Hindus and many more. It is unimaginable how big impact of that Empire has had on how to world looks like today. Fascinating…. and these ruins still exist and open to the public! Exciting.
Since the current situation in Iran was unknown because of all the protests. We decided to join a tour run by our hostel in Shiraz. Or well a taxi driver that would bring us to Necropolis and Persepolis.
First stop: Necropolis – Naqsh-e Rostam.
Naqsh-e Rostam is a necropolis with the tombs of many great Persian kings. They know for sure one of the tombs is of King Darius the Great. The other 3 are most likely his successors: Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II.
Luckily there was no one else there but us, so we had the place to ourselves. Fascinating to see the tombs of people who have had such impact on the world history. Buried in Tombs that are a building wonder by themselves.
From necropolis we continued our way to Persepolis! That’s what we came for. Since there was so much history and stories involved in Persepolis we decided to go for a guided tour. Something we hardly do, but then again you don’t visit a place like Persepolis everyday. As you might have noticed the history geek inside of me came out a bit during this day.
Since the city burned down in 330BC it has never been rebuild and it’s ruins today are the only thing that’s left of it. Nonetheless this is still very impressive.
The tour was fun and lasted for about two hours, showing us most places of the complex. They also had some virtual reality glasses which showed you how the whole complex looked like.
For the rest of you history geeks, the video below is worth watching. Gives a good idea of how it looked like before being burned down.
After a day of exploring and history we went for some kebab and called it a night.
We found out a lot was closed today, we suspected probably because of what was going on in the country. So we decided to take it easy. We had the entire day before jumping on the night bus to Hormuz Island. Next to our hostel we found a nice coffee place called Cafe Kako the day before. The people there was so extremely friendly and so happy to see us. Felt like we were in a local coffee where we had been coming for years already. Drank some delicious coffee and had a chat with the owners before heading out.
At the cafe they told us the Eram Garden should be open. So we decided to go and have a look. The garden is a botanical garden including the Qavam House, both which are build in the mid 13th century. Beautiful small garden with a super nicely decorated house(Qavam House). The weather was perfect so we strolled around for some time before heading back to the hostel. Trying to figure out how we were going to carry the carpet with us.
Later that day we went back to the same kebab store as the night before and filled up on delicious food:
Before taking the night bus we went into the local food bazaar to get some healthy bus snacks.
Time to say goodbye to Shiraz and on our way to the last stop in Iran: Hormuz Island.
Like most places there is always more to visit if you have more time:
– Shah-e Cheragh Mausoleum
– Tomb of Hafez
– Tomb of Sa’di
– Karim Khan Citadel