Life on a Roll

Inside Iran: The luminosity of Shiraz

Nan Pang

I caught an overnight bus from Yazd and arrived in Shiraz just before sunrise, which was rather well-timed to visit Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also  known as the Pink Mosque. It is said to be a feast to the eyes in the morning as the colors flood through the stained-glass windows and illuminate the carpet. Shiraz is often described as the city of poets and culture, and was home to Hafez, arguably the most celebrated and beloved Persian poet. Although the city of Shiraz had been famous for producing the finest wine in the world by the ninth century, alcohol has been prohibited in Iran since 1979. The city itself was pretty compact and walkable. Lots of mausoleums were free to enter, and I would definitely recommend Ali Ibn Hamza Mausoleum and Shah Cheragh Mausoleum. Their intense interior decorations with glass and mirrors were truly breathtaking.

At night, as I was enjoying faloodeh (a traditional Iranian sorbet-like dessert) with some new friends at the Arg of Karim Khan, we discussed why we decided to visit Iran. Strangely enough, I remembered a verse from Hafez’s poetry that someone taught me earlier in the day—“this place you are right now God circled on a map for you.” Perhaps that was why I was there.

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