A Deeper Look

I was born and raised in Shiraz, where ancient Persian history was always very palpable. The remains of Persepolis (the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire) were less than an hour drive away. Every time relatives came to visit, Bāgh-e Eram, Bāzār-e Vakil, Hāfezieh and Saadieh were must sees. My deepest memories are tied to these sites. Beyond being World Heritage sites, a Persian Garden, a magical Bāzār or historical mausoleums they form part of what it feels like to be Shirazi, to have been raised in the province of Fars.

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Wondrous Surprises

Along our travels to observe folk dances throughout Iran, we often experienced wondrous surprises. Like the day before we were expected at an engagement ceremony in Sanandaj…. From Kermanshah we chose to go through Ravānsar and further north. Green pastures and mountains in the distance accompanied us until we arrived to the famous water cave: Ghār-e Quri Qaleh.

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Half the World´s Wonders

The proverb Isfahan nesf-e Jahan (Isfahan is half of the world) shows Iranian’s propensity to exaggerate. Nevertheless, it is a wondrous city with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites. No previewed photos or guidebooks prepared me for the feeling of dizzying beauty when I finally saw the mosaics of Naqsh-e Jahan mosque.

Shiraz: a city with poetic roots

Hafezieh at night, Shiraz

So deep is the admiration for the 14th century poet, Hafez that citing his poetry is often used as emphasis in expressing a particular point of view. His poetry is even consulted for Estekahre: a poetic way of fortune telling. When faced with difficult decisions, it is common for Iranians to pull out a copy of Divan-e Hafez and make a wish or have a question in mind before opening a page at random.