A Brief Note on the History of Shiraz

June 09, 2021

Kiana Fazilat Culture & History

The passage of time demands change and adjustability, and as history has proven time and time again, you either bend or you break. However, throughout its long history, Shiraz has managed to preserve its spirit, weathering countless invasions and drastic changes. 

Before Islam

When talking about Shiraz, what comes to mind is usually the glory of the Achaemenid era. However, the city goes way back, to almost 4000 years ago, evident from tablets of the Elamite Period unearthed in June 1970, which mention the name of Shiraz.

When talking about Shiraz, what comes to mind is usually the glory of the Achaemenid era. However, the city goes way back, to almost 4000 years ago, evident from tablets of the Elamite Period unearthed in June 1970, which mention the name of Shiraz.

However, legends give us a different account of the events which lead to the formation of Shiraz as we know it today. Some believe Shiraz, as it is now, has risen from the ashes of Persepolis. 

After Islam

After the Arabs conquered the city of Istakhr, Shiraz became the more important hub, expanding under the rule of different governors. The rulers of Shiraz remained cunning during the Mongol invasion, keeping the city safe by paying tribute to Genghis Khan. Again, in 1382, Shah Shoja submitted to Tamerlane to keep his people out of harm’s way. It was the sacrifices made by the rulers and the flexibility of the people which kept the city from falling, and preserving it as a center for arts and letters. 

The peace and safety of Shiraz, and the encouragement of its art-loving governors led to the rise of great philosophers, artists, scholars and poets, such as Hafez, Saadi and Mulla Sadra, helping them flourish, and carving their names in stone. 

Today

To this day, Shiraz remains the cultural capital of Iran. The easy-going spirit of the people has made it one of the most diverse cities in the country and home to a large number of ethnic and religious minorities. 

In a Nutshell

It is not easy to remain true to one’s roots through thick and thin, but Shiraz has managed exactly that. From the Elamite period, through the Arab and Mongolian invasions, and the rule of Tamerlane, the city has not only stood safe and intact, but has also been the perfect place for artists, scholars and philosophers to flourish. The city we know today, owes its preservation to the sacrifices made by our ancestors. 

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