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Shiráz has passed through a variety of experiences in the course of the fourteen centuries that have elapsed since the coming of Islam.
There were six periods, during which Shiráz was ruled by local princes, and by learned and influential kings, when she flourished and grew in size and importance, nourishing men of note and calture, whose fame is world-wide. Bearing in mind the scope of this book, we give a brief description of these significant periods in her history.
1- At the dawn of Islam

Shiraz Shah Cheragh

After the Arab invasion of Iran, and the overthrow of the great Sasanian Empire, a group of Arabs came to Fars to subdue the inhabitants of the ancient city of Estakhr, which was then the chief city and metropolis of Fars, and had great temples, being the seat of the leaders of the holy religion of Zoroaster. The Arabs set up their military headquarters in Shiráz, and from there sallied out to attack the power full stronghold. From then on Shiráz acquired significance, and became the seat and center of the Califf’s agent, naturally increasing in size. The city of Estakhr after perhaps twelve centuries of power and greatness under the Achæmenians and Sasanian monarchs, and the local princes known as Fratadaran, could not tolerate the idea of submission to the Arabs, and violently opposed the invading forces, and a number of bitter and bloody battles took place, which cannot be described here. But their persistence in face of constant hostilities eventually weakened the city, and the losses it sustained in population and prestige were a gain to Shiráz, until in the year 436 B.C. (1044 A. D. ) Amir Abu Kalanjar, son of Amir Abu Shuja’ Sultan udDowle, son of Abu Nasr Bahá udDowleh Ebn Faná Khsro completely destroyed the city of Estakhr and razed it to the ground, transferring the remainder of population to Shiráz, known as the Isfahan Gate, where the statue of Sa’adi stands, was known until the eighth century

of the Hejra as the Estakhr Gate. The ruins of the city of Estakhr, which in ancient days had a great area and population can be seen at a distance of eight kilometers to the north-east of Persepolis on the north side of the main road from Shiráz to the Teheran, and part of the stone gateway of the city still stands beside the road.

In the time of Sughar kings, especially under the sovereignty and protection of Amrolaith, the second king of that dynasty, 265 to 279 A.H. (897 to 902 A.D.) Shiráz flourished and the ancient Masjed-i-Jáme’ (the Congregational Mosque), which he built in 281 A. H. (891 A. D.) beside the city of Shiráz of those days is one of the buildings remaining from his time. This mosque is in fact one of the most ancient historical monuments of Shiráz, in which later during various dynasties until quite recently buildings were put up and repairs effected. Reference will be made to these in the section dealing with the historical remains of Shiráz.

2- Shiráz in the time of the Daylamites (the Buwayhids).

Nasir ol Molk Mosque

During the rule of the sons of Buwayha, especially Amir AzududDowleh 338-372 A-H. (950-983 A. D.) the extent and eminence of Shiráz increased, for he, finding the city unable to accommodate the growing population, and the people being in much discomfort, with a view to enlarging the city and meeting the current need, built a town called Khusrogird on the east of Shiráz outside the Dár esSalám, in the area between Abesh Khátún and Qasr-i-Abu Nasr, where he also constructed a large bazaar called Souq ulAmir,but this was destroyed some while after his time, and no trace of it now remains, and only from the writing of the Islamic historians of the past centuries can its situation be learnt.
Muqaddasi (Al Mutahher Ebn Taher ulMuqaddas) one of the scholars and historians of the fourth Mohammadan century (the tenth Christian one) wrote a book entitled Almabda’ uttarikh, (The Origin of History) in which he described the leading events and the history of his own times. In this book he writes about Shiráz and the buildings put up by ’Azud udDowleh the Deilamite as follows: - « ’Azud udDowleh built a lofty palace in this city which had 360 rooms, and a great hall used as a library, where books were preserved in cupboards inserted in the walls. Whatever books of science and philosophy could be


Atiq Mosque-ُShiraz
Atiq Mosque-ُShiraz

acquired were collected there, each subject in its separate cupboard. » The great library founded by ’Azud udDowleh in Shiráz contained all branches of Knowledge, and was fit to be compared with the famous library of the Samanids at Bukhara, of which Avicenna made great use and described in his books In this library were many valuable manuscripts, which Muqaddasi himself claims to have studied. Ebn ulBalkhi relates that ’Azud udDowleh also built a large hospital, called after him, which was still in use in his day, that is about the year 1100 A. D. Although Shiráz was a city which developed most in Islamic times, and so its inhabitants were mainly Mohammedans nevertheless, as Muqaddasi writes, there were many there who had not withdrawn from the faith of their forefathers, and the Zoroastrians Maintained two temples in the interior of the city.
Here it should be explained that the religion of Islam did not progress in Iran as had been expected with lightning rapidity, in spite of the efforts of the princes and agent of the Califf, and the cruel massacres practised by the Arabs at the outset.


Only the mass of the people and the farmers and artisans, whose financial position did not permit them to pay the «jaziyeh» (the tax which exempted them from becoming Mohammedans) accepted the new religion, but the nobles and educated classes, attached to their own faith, could afford to pay the tax, and did not forsake the religion of their fathers, Zoroastrianism. In addition to this group, there were also religious minorities, such as Christians, Jews, followers of Mani, and Buddha and Mazdak, who also in the end through financial inability to pay the heavy tax, which was felt progressively, through the desire to enter the royal service and undertake posts of administration so as to save the country from the rule of the Califfs, and also through the active propaganda of the Mohammedan leaders, by the fourth Islamic century most of

the people had adopted the Mohammedan religion, though still a limited number of Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians in Kerman, Fars, Khorasan, Mesopotamia, Tabaristan, Yazd and Dilaman clung to their former faith, add freely practiced the ancient forms and customs of their religion.
 Zoroastrians seem to have been comparatively numerous in Shiráz, where they maintained their religious practices. This is clear from what occurred in the year 979 A. D. when Mohammedans rose against the Zoroastrians of Shiráz, and killed a number of them, and destroyed their houses. But as soon as this bad news reached ’Azud udDowleh, who was then in Baghdad, he sent a party to suppress the offenders, and punished them severely. It is even stated by some of the old historians that the Zoroastrians had a separate district and quarter in the east of the city. It is stated that ’Azud udDowleh had a Christian State Officer by name of Nasrin Hárun, who with the Shah’s permission repaired the churches. ’Ezz udDowleh’s chief minister, Abu’lAla Sa’ed ben Sábet was also a Christian.

3- Shiráz in the time of the Atabaks of Fars.

Pars Museum
Pars Museum

Afetr the Buwayhides the Atabaks of Fars, ruling from 543 to 685 A. H. (1149 to 1287 A. D.) added fame and lustre to Shiráz, and the city was extended towards the west. Sa’adi the great Persian poet lived during this dynasty. The present Masjed-i-Nau (the New Mosque) is one of the buildings put up by the Atábak Sa’d ben Zangi. It was begun in the years 598 A. H. (1201 A. D.) and completed in 615 A. H. (1218 A. D.). Among other remains of the Atábaks which have survived is the Bágh-i-Takht on the north of the Shiráz Plain. On the mountain side where now are the barracks of the Fars army Atábak Qarácheh put up a building in the year 480 A. H. called the Takht-i-Qarácheh, which was afterwards restored in the time of the Qájár kings. A half-ruined building resembling a tower outside Shiráz on the south-west, called Abesh Khátún, is attributed to the daughter of Sa’d ben Abn Bakr Sa’d Zangi the last king of the Atábaks 662-685 A. H. (1263-1286 A. D.) His daughter Abesh Khátún was the wife of Mangu Qá’áthen, son of Húlagu Khán the Moghul.
The wall round the city was restored and repaired during this dynasty in the reign of Atábak Takleh in 575 A. H. (1176 A. D.) Shiráz escaped injury and wholesale massacre at the hands of the Moghuls by the prudence and sagacity of Abu Bakr ben Sa’d Zangi, for this monarch by presenting gifts and offerings, and expressing submission to the Moghul army, which was pouring like a flood over Iran.
Shiráz, having had worthy and sagacious rulers who were lovers of art and patrons of learning, remained unscathed during the confusion of the Moghul irruption and invasions, which engulfed the east, west and north of Iran, and as a result no interruption stayed its cultural progress, but it made a noticeable and important advance, which later spread to other parts of Iran. The Atábaks of Fars, and after them the Al Ínjú Monarchs, especially Shah Shujá Ebn Esháq (1343-1356 A. H.), and then the kings of the Muzafferid dynasty, especially Shah Shujá’ Mamdúh Háfez made great efforts to encourage the arts of calligraphy, painting and architecture, and to diffuse learning and they welcome scholars and men of letters to their court.

Hafez Tomb
Hafez Tomb

 Of the great orators in the time of the Atábaks, Sa’adi is the most deserving of mention and commendation. Of the artists and calligraphists in the time of Shah Sheikh Abu Esháq Ínjú, Yahyá ulkamáli usSúfi was an expert in the Naskh character, and at the instance of Táshi Khátún, the mother of Shah Sheikh Abu Esháq in the years 1344 and 1345 A. D. he wrote out a copy of the Qur’àn in two volumes in his beautiful and unique handwriting, which he presented to the shrine, of the Emámzádeh Ahmad ben Músá arRezá (Shah Cherágh). This Qur’àn was decorated with gold leaf by Hamzeh Ebn Mohammad ul’Alavi. The top and bottom of every pages is adorned with florescent arabesques, and coloured many-petalled flowers, while the sides of pages bear designs in roses.
Of the great orators in the time of the Muzafferid kings, who must also be commended is Háfez.
On account of the great advance made in learning and culture in Shiráz during the ninth and tenth Islamic centuries, it became one of the great Mohammedan cities, on a par with Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus, and for that reason Amír Teymúr (Tímurlance) called one of the villages north of Samarqand by the name of Shiráz. It should be explained that he called the principal villages round Samarqand by such names as Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Sultànieh and Shiráz in order to creat in his capital a due impression of the victories he had won in the submission of these great cities.
Since the rulers of Shiráz in the time of Tímur’s invasion twice engaged him in battle, we therefore describe this matter in rather more detail.

Shiráz in the time of the Timurids.


When Amír Tímúr Gurgàni was advancing into the east of Iran, he wrote to the princes of the other provinces demanding their submission. Shah Shujá elected to submit, and sent messengers to Tímúr with a friendly letter and gifts and offerings in the year 1382 A. D. Amír Tímúr received the messengers of Shah Shujá’ at Turshíz in Khorasàn, and treating them kindly, sent them back to Shiráz with an agreeable letter and presents for Shah Shujá and inorder to strengthen relations between himself and the Shah, he sent a special messenger to ask in marriage Shah Shujá’’s granddaughter for his grandson Amír zàdeh Pír Mohammad. The marriage agreement was made, and the girl was taken to Samarqand, and in this way Amír Gurgàn’s thoughts were diverted from attacking Fars.
After the death of Shah Shujá’ his son, Sultàn Zain ulàbedín became king of Fars. Amír Tímúr in the year 1387 A. D. wrote a friendly letter to him, asserting that Shah Shujá’ had commended his son to him, and that that he should come to his camp and meet him, and then return to Fars. Sultàn Zain ulàbedín not only did not accept Amír Tímúr’s invitation, but also did not allow his messenger to return. Amír Tímúr was upset at this unexpected action, and in order to suppress Shah Zain ulàbedín set out by way of Isfahan for Fars and Shiráz. When Sultàn Zain ulàbedín heard the news of Tímúr’s approach to Fars, recollecting the savage massacre Tímúr had carried out in Isfahan, when he had put 70,000 people to the sword in one engagement, thought resistance was useless, and fled to Shushtar. Amír Tímúr entered Shiráz and took up residence in the Takht-i-Qaràcheh (Bàgh-i-Takht). The family of the Al Muzaffar, who were ruling in Fars, and the neighbouring provinces went to pay their respects to Tímúr. He gave every one of them an administrative post, and appointed Shah Yahyà governor of Shiráz. He transferred a number of the leading Shiráz scholars with their families to Samarqand. Hàfez the great Shiráz poet was living at the time, and it is well known that a meeting took place between them, and some of the remarks exchanged have been recorded.

Timur’s stay in Shiráz did not exceed two months, for Mesopotamia became threatened by a foreign army, and when the news reached Tímúr, he set out immediately in that direction (1387 A. D.) Six months later Shah Mansúr came to Shiráz by way of Fahliàn and Kàzerún and was warmly welcomed by the population or they had become dissatisfied with Shah Yahyà. He then assumed the governorship of Shiráz and Fars and opposed Tímúr, who returned to Shiráz by way of Shushtar. Shah Mansúr, although had only a few soldiers, not exceeding two thousand, fought against Amír Tímúr with great courage and chivalry, as Ebn ’Arabshàh relates in his book, ’Ajàib ulmaqdúr, about the year 1436 A. D., that is about 45 years after the event. Shah Mansúr on the eve of the battle made a night assault on Amír Tímúr’s army, and killed many of his soldiers. Amír Tímúr took refuge in the women’s tents, and hid himself among them, pulling a veil over his head, and by that trick escaped the sword of Mansúr. That night Shah Mansúr evineed a unique and amazing valour, noted by most of the historians of the time. After a great slaughter of his opponents which the carried out single-handed, thirst and weariness on account of his great struggle overcame him, and he fell among the slain A Jagatài (Timurid soldier) found him breathing his last, and cutting off his head, carried it to Tímúr. If help had come to Shah Mansúr, and thirst had not overcome him, and Amír Tímúr had not escaped the sword by his deceit, perhaps that very night an end would have been put to the conquests of Tímúr, and the pages of history would tell a different story.
Amír Tímúr, after assuring himself of Shah Mansúr’s death, sent tidings of his victory to the governor of Baghdad and other officials, calling on obedience, and paying a tribute to Mansúr’s courage and resource. Then he put to the sword in the fort of Mahiàr near Isfahan all the heads of Muzaffarid family, who for long years had held influential positions in Fars, Kermàn, Iraq, and Isfahan, stated by Ebn ’Arabshah to have been seventeen persons, and not one of them escaped. This took place on the eve of the 10th of Rajab, 795 A. H. Only Sultan Zain ulàbedín, and Sultan Shibli, whose eyes had been put out, he sent to Samarqand, where they died a natural death.

Afif Abad Garden
Afif Abad Garden

Shiráz this time suffered great loss, and it is recorded that the well-known pleasure resort called Beit ullutf in the neighborhood of Shiráz, where people used to come from all directions for rest and recreation, was completely destroyed by Tímúr and his companions. Amír Tímúr entered the city by the Dàr ussalàm Gate (now called Shah Dài Gate) and giving directions for the closing of all the other gates he took possession of all valuables and treasures belonging to Shah Mansúr and the general public, and carried them away.
 Shiráz at this time, when it fell into the hands of Timurids, and the Muzaffarids were completely annihilated, became one of the chief Timurid centers in the south of Iran, and since for centuries past it had attained a high degree of learning and knowledge, and had important industries, the Timurid princes were influenced by these conditions and induced to encourage and commend scholars and craftsmen. Eskandar ben’ Omar Shaikh and his brother Pír Mohammad and Sultán Ibráhím and Shah Rukh were especially assiduous in encouraging men of letters. In the Qázi ’Azud uddín Íjí: Mír Sayyed Sharíf Jurjání (died 1413 A. D.), Mullá Jalàl uddín Alàmeh Davàní (died 1502 A. D.) and sadr Uddin Dashtaki were teaching in the ninth Islamic century. Ibràhím Sultan Amír Tímúr’s grandson, who in 1446 A. D. was appointed by his fathers, Sultan Shah Rukh governor of Shiráz, was not only a patron of art and lover of knowledge, to whose court scholars, poets and craftsmen flocked, but he himself had high attainments, and wrote the Sula character well, and as Dolatshah has written, he kept the records of his Court himself. The history called Zafar-nameh (The book of Victories) was compiled under his patronage by Sharaf uddín Alí Yazdí, the well-known scholar of the Timurid period. An example of the handwriting of this Sultan can be seen at Persepolis on the face of a stone anta in the southern porch of the Tachara beneath Achæmenian cuneiform inscriptions, and there are two other examples in the recesses and window-frames of the Tachara, the date of all three being 1422 A. D. There is also an inscription cut in stone above the doorway leading to the tomb of Shah Mír Hamzeh which was written with his beautiful Suls script.

Narenjestan Garden of Shiraz
Narenjestan Garden of Shiraz

Among the attractive cultural relics at this period is a manuscript of the Shahnàmeh of Firdausi, written by Lutf uddín Yahyà ben Mohammad in Shiráz in the years 796 A. H. (1393 A. D.) which is now in the National Museum in Cairo. In this copy, there are 67 small designs, and one page coloured and adorned with gold leaf. Another Shahnameh was written in Shiráz in the year 801 A. H. (1397 A. D.) and is now among the manuscripts of the British Museum. The designs and paintings are more delicate and sensitive than those in the book just referred to.
In the Berlin Museum, there are pictures belonging to a collection of Persian poems, which Mahmúd Kàteb Husseiní wrote in Shiráz in the year 823 A. H. (1425 A. D.) for the Balsinqur library, two of the pictures are especially attractive. One shows Khusro meeting Shírín, and the other depicts a battle between the forces of Kasra and Bahràm Chúbín.
Scott Waring in his book about his journey from India to Shiráz in 1802 gives a description of Karím Khan Zand, and the vigorous movement and development at work in the little city of Shiráz, which made it a fitting seat for the government. He says they told him that the stone prepared for the lintel of the great doorway was so heavy that the workmen engaged on the doorway could not lift or shift it. But when they were struggling without effect, the Shah himself appeared, and hastened to assist them. This help had such an effect upon the workers, that in a moment they raised the great stone above the doorway. He also writes that the Bazar-i-Vakil and a large and magnificent building of burnt brick, roofed over and covered in, extending for about half a mile, with a width of fifty feet, and at night time when lit up, it presented a brilliant appearance, and though there were numerous other fine bazars, none could be compared for beauty and grandeur with the Bazar-i-Vakil.
Abdur Razzaq Samarqandi in his book about his travels from Iran to India and form Bengal to Iran in 1788, printed in Paris in 1806, second Volume, page 58 writes that the strength of Shiráz consisted in a simple wall 25 feet high and 10 broad, which had 80 forts at distances of 800 metres built into it. In addition round the city a moat 60 feet deep and 20 wide had been dug, which made the city difficult of approach. By order of Agha Muhammad Khan, the founder of the Qájár dynasty that great and secure rampart and fortress of Shiráz was removed and destroyed by stonemasons by means of the equipment used in hewing stone in the mountains. Agha Muhammad Khan in addition removed and sent to Tehran two stone monolithic columns from the citadel, much marble skirting, and doors inlaid with intricate patterns.


Karim Khan Citadel
Karim Khan Citadel

Karim Khan Zand, like Shah Abbas the Great, was notable for the care he took of his subjects, the encouragement he gave to education, and for his personal taste shown in the construction of strong and splendid buildings, for he wished to raise Shiráz to the same position as Isfahan attained under Shah Abbàs the great. So outside the town of those days, though now in the center of the city, he planned extensive and magnificent buildings for his royal citadel (Arg) and its annexes, a square, an avenue, a garden, a bàzàr, a mosque, two great. Reservoirs and a bath, and with exceptional architectural skill and style, with superb masonry and faience, by the expending of much care and attention, he began and completed buildings remarkable for their stability and spaciousness, and until thirty years ago, not the smallest damage had occurred to them, and they were in continuous use. From then until now some of them, such as the mosque; the citadel, which is now the town prison, the bàzàr, the reservoirs, the avenue, which is the present Zand Avenue, perhaps the finest and widest avenue in the country, the Museum and the Telegraph Office with some alterations have remained in use. But the rest have wittingly or unwittingly been destroyed, and in their place, the Municipal Building, the Law Courts, the registration Office, the Educational Office, the Nemàzi High School, the Zand Primary School, the Finance Office, and the Public Library have been built. The National Bank, the Shàpúr High School, the Educational Dispensary, and the Army Bank (Sepah) occupy the area of Karím Khàn’s great square. The tomb of that monarch was also in the eastern alcove of the Museum Building, about which more will be related in the section dealing with the Pars Museum.
The great stones of the columns, and the kerbs of the stone tanks, and the plinths and socles of the buildings were all brought from the mountains north-west of Shiráz from a quarry still known as Karím Khàn’s Quarry. The marble used in the bath, the citadel, and the museum were brought from Tabriz and Yazd.
The writer of the book entitled «Gítí Gushà-ye Zand» Muhammad Sàdeq Shirazi, in the course of his description of the Karím Khàn buildings in Shiráz, writes as follows:

Karím Khàn Zand was ashamed to take up his abode in the quarters of former rulers. For this reason, he decided to erect noble buildings worthy of his rank and region. For the erection of the royal citadel, the mosque, the bàzàr, the reservoirs and the bath, he obtained the assistance of all the masons, artists, architects and craftsmen of his time from all parts of the country. And it is written that more than 12,000 workmen were daily occupied, and for their pleasure and amusement, musicians were employed to play to them.


Vakil Bazaar
Vakil Bazar

As evidence of the stability of the Karím Khàn buildings, it is sufficient to state that two severe earthquakes which occurred in the years 1239 and 1269 A. H. destroyed and ruined more than half of Shiráz, including many of the shrines and mosques, but had no effect on the buildings put up by Karím Khàn, which stood firm and unshaken, and unless they should be deliberately destroyed, they will survive for many a long year to cone.
The existence of Lake Maharlu to the east of Shiráz, and the fairly heavy rains of the last few years, causing a rise of water in the wells on the east side of the city, and even the submergence of certain areas, lend support to this supposition that in the far past the plain of Shiráz for this very reason was not considered reliable for residence or for the building of houses, and as a result, people built their houses in the district between Qasr-i-Abu Nasr, and the Sa’adi Mountian, but when by degrees the water-level fall, the population left the slopes of the hills and moved down on to the plain of Shiráz, and in any century that the population increased, then the extended towards the south and west until in our own times the city as a whole has spread towards the west. Karím Khàn Zand, in order to protect his citadel, garden and royal building and the city itself from the flood water coming down from the mountains, dug the dry river-bed to the north of Shiráz and constructed a soiled retaining wall which is still standing. In addition, he dug wide channels under the city to carry away surplus water: he dug moats also outside the city walls into which such water might run, but by degrees, Karím Khàn’s channels have been blocked by the foundations of buildings within the city, and the moats have been filled in by degrees and houses built upon them. More about Shiraz


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