Most cities in Iran are old but Shiraz is dated from around 2000BC and therefore one of the oldest. It became a city of arts and letters in the 13th century due to many scholars and artists. Now it is famous for literature, poetry, mosaics and carpets. The red wine grape Shiraz derives its name from this city but since Iran has become Islamic in 1976 drinking alcohol has been banned.
We saw some beautiful mosques with colorful and impressive tile work and walked through bazaars with every item you can think of. People are friendly and always in for a chat. In Shiraz you find some coffeeshops, plenty of authentic restaurants and pensions. All very affordable.
We stayed in a gorgeous historic “Heritage” hotel in Shiraz in a blue tiled room. It was like sleeping in a “Hammam”. With our our pleasant and knowledgeable guide Ali and fellow cyclists Hans and Christa we visited various places like Necropolis and Persepolis. Ali quoted Persian poems and served us a tasty picnic at the end of the day.
Below left the mausoleum of “Hafez”, considered one of the greatest poets of all time. On the right the tomb of “Cyrus the Great”, regarded as the founder of the Great Persian Empire.
Just northeast of Shiraz we visited the site of Persepolis which is believed to be a place for ceremonies. It dates back to 550BC. The name derives from ancient Creek and means “the Persian City”.