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The city is the capital of Fars province, located at the southwest of Iran at an altitude of 1543 m above sea level. Shiraz is surrounded by mountains in all directions and has got a moderate climate. A seasonal river called Khoshk (dry) crossing the city helps it against probable flood caused by the sudden rain outpouring largely in a short period of time.
With a population of approximately 1,840,000 in 2011, it is ranked sixth among Iranian large cities. It has industries producing cement, fertilizers, sugar, wood, textile, rugs, etc. It has got a major oil refinery and is a major center for electronic industries.
As you’d like to learn more about the history of the city before you visit Shiraz, here is a brief review of what has been happening at this city:
In Elamites’ cuneiform inscriptions, the name of Shiraz has been mentioned around 2000 BC. There are more indications of life in and around Shiraz according to the unearthed findings from the historical mounds at this part of Iran. Some of them even go back to 7000 years ago.
In Achaemenian era, the people traveling from Susa to Persepolis and Pasargadae had to go through Shiraz. The last Parthian king, had control over this city and in Sassanian era, Shiraz was between Bishapur and Gur (today’s Firooz Abad), the two Sassanian capital cities.
Istakhr, the most famous city in Fars province found its higher prominence long time before Shiraz. It stood against Arab invaders in 7th century. Once conquered and devastated by Arabs, Shiraz reputation began to grow and continued under several rulers and historical eras. Several local dynasties ruled there such as Buwahids, Seljuks and Kharazmshahids before the Mongols’ invasion.
During Ilkhanids and Timurids,when Chengiz Khan and Timur attacked Iran, Shiraz managed to escape destruction. In 14th century, as a result of scholars and artists’ encouragement, Shiraz turned into a center for the artists and men of pen. Some of the most famous Iranian poets are from Shiraz such as Hafez and Sa’dy.
After this period Shiraz had a lot of ups and downs. During rises, the population grew as it was a safe place to live. On the contrary, when attacked the inhabitants left the city. A prosperous time for Shiraz after several disturbances was the time when Karmkhan-e-Zand came to power and declared Shiraz his capital. He built a royal district with a fortress and a mosque together with one of the finest bazaars of Iran that is still charming. Although after him, Shiraz lost its power and turned into a provincial capital city and Agha Mohammad Khan established Qajar dynasty and destroyed part of the city to take revenge from the Zand rulers, the city maintained its prosperity anyway it could.