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Shiraz
شیراز
City
Tomb of Hafez
Tomb of Saadi
Vakil Bath, Shiraz Shah Cheragh
Shiraz Botanical Garden Nasir ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz
Karim Khan Citadel, Shiraz
Clockwise from top: Tomb of Hafez, Tomb of Saadi, Shah Cheragh shrine, Nasir ol Molk Mosque, Karim Khan Citadel, Eram Garden, and Vakil Bath.
Official seal of Shiraz
Seal
Nickname(s): Cultural Capital of Iran
City of poets
City of gardens
City of flowers and nightingale
Country  Iran
Province Fars
County Shiraz
Bakhsh Central
Area
 • City 240 km2 (86.487 sq mi)
 • Land 240 km2 (86.487 sq mi)
 • Water 0 km2 (0 sq mi)  0%
Elevation 1,500 m (5,200 ft)
Population (2016 Census)
 • Density 6,670/km2 (18,600/sq mi)
 • Urban 1,565,572
 • Metro 1,869,001
 • Population Rank in Iran 5th
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
Area code(s) 071
Licence plate 63-93  Iran

Shiraz is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province (Old Persian as Pars). At the 2016 census, the population of the city was 1,869,001 and its built-up area with "Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra" (Sadra New Town) was home to 1,565,572 inhabitants. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the "Rudkhaneye Khoshk" (The Dry River) seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. The modern city was founded or restored by the Umayyads in 693 and grew prominent under the successive Iranian Saffarid and Buyid dynasties in the 9th and 10th–11th centuries, respectively. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. It was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz, whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries.

Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine (despite Iran being an Islamic republic since 1979), and flowers. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city, for example Eram Garden. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran's electronic industries: 53% of Iran's electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran's first solar power plant. Recently the city's first wind turbine has been installed above Babakuhi mountain near the city.

Geography

Shiraz Gardens
Shiraz Garden Drives, north part of the city is full of gardens. they formed before the expansion of Shiraz

Shiraz is located in the south of Iran and the northwest of Kerman Province. It is built in a green plain at the foot of the Zagros Mountains 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) above sea level. Shiraz is 800 kilometres (500 mi) south of Tehran.

A seasonal river, Dry River, flows through the northern part of the city and on into Maharloo Lake. As of 1920, the area had a large forest of oak trees.

Gardens and Clean Shiraz

During the Zand dynasty when Shiraz was the capital of Iran, it was a small village limited around the Arg of Karim Khan and naturally, there were several villages near it. The north part of old Shiraz (now Qasr Dasht and Chamran) was completely covered with gardens and green trees that still remain. A number of municipal laws prohibit construction in any of the garden areas. In another view, these gardens are the city's lungs and help to clean the dust, and haze or carbon dioxide that cars produce, by photosynthesis. On the other hand, we see Shiraz as being more likely to have clean air in Iran; this is when it is compared to big cities such as Tehran or Isfahan, and the reason behind it may lie in Shiraz's many gardens.

Climate

Sunset in Shiraz
Sunset in Shiraz, with Mount Derak in the background

Shiraz’s climate has distinct seasons, and is overall classed as a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh), though it is only a little short of a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summers are hot, with a July average high of 38.8 °C (101.8 °F). Winters are cool, with average low temperatures below freezing in December and January. Around 300 mm (12 in) of rain falls each year, almost entirely in the winter months, though in some cases as much as this has fallen in a single month (as in January 1965 and December 2004), whilst in the year from July 1965 to June 1966 as little as 82.9 millimetres (3.3 in) fell. The wettest year has been 1955/1956 with as much as 857.2 millimetres (33.75 in), though since 1959 the highest has been around 590 millimetres (23.2 in) in each of 1995/1996 and 2004/2005.

Shiraz contains a considerable number of gardens. Due to population growth in the city, many of these gardens may be lost to give way to new developments. Although some measures have been taken by the Municipality to preserve these gardens, many illegal developments still endanger them.

Despite being in a relatively dry climate, extreme weather is not a rare occasion. Most recently, in March, 25th, 2019, flash floods from heavy rains has resulted in 19 deaths and 200+ injuries.

The highest record temperature was 43.2 °C (109.8 °F) on 12 July 1998 and the lowest record temperature was −14 °C (7 °F) on 5 January 1973.

Economy

Darvazeghoran, Iran shiraz
The Qur'an Gate was a part of the great city wall built under the Buyid dynasty
Háfezova hrobka
Tomb of Hafez

Shiraz is the economic center of southern Iran. The second half of the 19th century witnessed certain economic developments that greatly changed the economy of Shiraz. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 allowed the extensive import into southern Iran of inexpensive European factory-made goods, either directly from Europe or via India. Farmers in unprecedented numbers began planting cash crops such as opium poppy, tobacco, and cotton. Many of these export crops passed through Shiraz on their way to the Persian Gulf. Iranian long-distance merchants from Fars developed marketing networks for these commodities, establishing trading houses in Bombay, Calcutta, Port Said, Istanbul and even Hong Kong.

Shiraz's economic base is in its provincial products, which include grapes, citrus fruits, cotton and rice. Industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran's electronic industries. 53% of Iran's electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Agriculture has always been a major part of the economy in and around Shiraz. This is partially due to a relative abundance of water compared to the surrounding deserts. Shirāz is famous for its carpet production and flowers as well. Viticulture has a long history in the region, and Shirazi wine used to be produced here. Shiraz is also an Iranian center for IT, communication, electronic industry, and transportation.

The Shiraz Special Economic Zone or the SEEZ was established in 2000 with the purpose of boosting manufacturing in electronics and communications.

Persian-Gulf-Shiraz
Persian Gulf Complex
Jameh-ye Atigh Mosque - muqarnas - edit
Tiling in Atigh Mosque

With more than 25 malls and 10 bazaars, Shiraz is known as the easiest place for shopping in Iran and the Middle East.

The Persian Gulf Complex, located at the north end of the city, is the largest mall in the world in terms of the number of shops.

The Vakil Bazaar, one of the oldest bazaars in the world, is located in the old city centre of Shiraz. Featuring courtyards, caravansarais, and bath houses, its shops sell different types of spices, Persian rugs, copper handicrafts and antiques.

Tourism

Tourist attractions in Shiraz

The city is one of the key tourism sites in Iran, its cultural heritage is of global importance.

  • The tombs of Hafiz, Saadi, and Khaju e Kermani (whose tomb is inside a mountain above the city's old Qur'an Gate). Other lesser known tombs are that of Shah Shoja' (the Mozafarid emir of Persia, and patron of Hafiz), and the Haft Tanan mausoleum, where seven Sufi mystics are buried. The Tomb of Baba Kuhi sits atop a mountain overlooking the city, and the tomb of Karim Khan Zand is at the Pars Museum of Shiraz.
  • The oldest mosque is Atigh Jame' Mosque, which is one of the older mosques of Iran, followed by Vakil Mosque and Nasir al-Mulk mosque. The Vakil Mosque is situated west of the famous Vakil Bazaar. It covers an area of 8,660 square metres (93,200 square feet) and was built in 1187 (AH) during the Zand Dynasty. On the two sides of the entrance gate there are magnificent tile-works and arches. The left and right corridors of the entrance gate are connected to the main room.
  • The citadel of Arg of Karim Khan sits adjacent to the Vakil Bazaar and Vakil Bath at the city's central district. The most famous of houses are Zinat-ol-Moluk House and Gahavam's House, both in the old quarters of the city.
  • The Qur'an Gate is the entrance to Shiraz. It is located near the gorge of Allah-o-Akbar and is flanked by the Baba Kuhi and Chehel Maqam mountains. The gateway once contained two hand-written Qur’āns by Sultan Ibrahim Bin Shahrukh Gurekani in an upper room, which have now been moved to the Pars Museum.
  • The Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram) in Shiraz is a striking location for visitors with a variety of plants as well as a historic mansion. Although the exact date of the construction of the garden is not clear, historical evidence suggests it was constructed during the Seljuk Dynasty on the orders of the celebrated Seljuk monarch Sanjar. Other historical Persian gardens are Afifabad Garden and The Museum of Weapons, Delgosha Garden and Jahan Nama Garden.

Tourist attractions

  • Margoon Waterfall is located in the Fars province of Iran near the city of Sepidan. Its name means in Persian "snake like".
  • Shapur cave is located in the Zagros Mountains, in southern Iran, about 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from the ancient city of Bishapur. This cave is near Kazerun in Chogan valley, which was the site of polo (Persian čōgān چُوگان), in the Sasanian period.
  • Palace of Ardashir, also known as the Atash-kadeh, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Dezh Dokhtar is situated. Built in AD 224 by King Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometres (1.2 miles) north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e. the old city of Piruz-Apad in Pars, in ancient Persia (Iran).
  • Pooladkaf is a ski resort in the south of Iran. It opened in 2002. In spite of its low latitude, it receives adequate snow due to its high elevation (usually 2 metres or 6.6 feet of snow in February). The skiing season starts in December and lasts to the end of March, or in some years April.
  • The Sarvestan Palace is a Sassanid-era building in the Iranian city of Sarvestan, some 90 kilometres (56 miles) southeast from the city of Shiraz. The palace was built in the 5th century AD, and was either a gubernatorial residence or a Zoroastrian fire temple.
  • Qal'eh Dokhtar, is a castle made by Ardashir I, in present-day Fars, Iran, in 209 AD. It is located on a mountain slope near the Firouzabad-Kavar road.

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