One garden surrounds the Tomb Of Hafiz (Aramgah-e Hafiz), the great Shirazi poet (1326—c1390) who wrote lyrical poems about love and the beloved, which are understood to be imbued with deep Sufi mystical meaning; his epithet ‘Hafiz’ alludes to his memorising of the Quran by heart.
Because of this association, one or two dervishes still come here on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while families enjoy the small garden and pleasant late 18th-century (hay-khaneh to the far left. Karim Khan Zand ordered a suitable tomb to be built in 1773 to honour this famous son of Shiraz but that was torn down in 1938 to erect the present octagonal kiosk.
Further embellishments were made for the 1971 Pahlavi extravaganza. Enough said. The bookshop here at the left end of the first porticoed terrace often has a good selection of history and art books in English, as well as maps and postcards, but the English translations of Hafiz on sale render the poetry incomprehensible.
Your visit to the Hafezieh complex begins in the southern courtyard. This serene space is adorned with expansive orange gardens that fill the air with the delightful scent of blossoms during spring. A pedestrian path, flanked by lush flower beds and greenery, guides you through this courtyard to the ivan (a raised platform).
The ivan, elevated approximately 4 meters above the courtyard level, is accessible via 18 stone steps. As you ascend these steps, you’ll be captivated by the grandeur of the surroundings. Rectangular gardens of cypress and pine trees, along with two rectangular ponds, enhance the beauty of this area. High walls enclose three sides of the southern courtyard, leading to the entrance to the Hafez Mausoleum. This entrance opens onto Golestan Street and is connected by three steps to Hafezieh’s main thoroughfare.
Entering the Hafez Hall
Upon reaching the Hafez Hall, you’ll encounter a grand ivan with 20 stone columns in the center of your path. These columns mark a height difference of approximately 4 meters from the southern courtyard, equating to the 18 steps you’ve traversed. The hall itself stretches about 56 meters in length and widens to 8 meters. Four columns built during the Zand dynasty stand prominently in the center of this structure.
The Hafez Hall, also known as the central ivan, divides the Hafezieh complex into northern and southern sections. Two rooms are constructed on either side of the Hafez Hall, with verses of Hafez adorning their entranceways. The architectural influence of the Achaemenid and Zand periods is evident in the design of this hall.
Exploring the Qavam Mausoleum
Qavam-ol-Saltaneh Mausoleum, dedicated to prominent Iranian statesmen of the past, is situated within the Hafezieh complex and is another noteworthy attraction. To the left of the Hafez Hall, you’ll find a large room housing the Qavam-ol-Saltaneh Mausoleum. Two additional rooms are built around this central mausoleum. As you step inside, you’ll notice the verses of Hafez decorating the interiors.
The Hafezieh complex also houses structures dedicated to Hafez studies, a library, a cultural products shop, and a traditional tea house, all located in the northern section of the courtyard.
The Beautiful Hafez Mausoleum
As you approach the northern section of the Hafezieh complex, you’ll enter the northern courtyard. In the past, this area served as a cemetery, and Hafez himself was buried here. Today, it features expansive rectangular gardens of orange trees to the east and west. In addition to the orange gardens, you’ll come across rectangular gardens filled with grass, cypress, and pine trees, along with more orange trees.
In this northern section, you’ll find several significant mausoleums, each contributing to the historical value of the complex. For instance, near the dome-shaped mausoleum of Hafez, you’ll discover the grave of another renowned poet named “Sheikh Mohammad Shirazi.” Other notable figures laid to rest in this area include “Forsat al-Doleh Shirazi,” a poet, “Ghottb al-Aarfeen Agha Mohammad Hashem Zehbi Shirazi,” a prominent figure of the Zehbiyah Sufi order, and “Haj Molla Ali Semnani,” a great scholar and mystic.
In front of the library building, you’ll find the mausoleums of “Haj Seyed Mohammad Ali Kazeroni Shirazi,” a prominent scholar of Fars, “Sheikh Mohammad Mahdi Kajouri,” a distinguished scholar, “Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Kajouri,” and “Seyed Mohammad Reza Mojda al-Alama,” known as Dashtaki.
Additionally, the area where the library building stands was once the burial place of “Qasem Khan,” the ruler of Fars, and his mausoleum was located in this vicinity.
The Western Courtyard and the Poet’s Mausoleum
The western courtyard is a lush area with a small pond, adding to the beauty of the surroundings. This section of the Hafezieh complex is dedicated to the mausoleums of notable individuals. The Maqbarat al-Shoara (Mausoleum of Poets) is situated here and serves as the final resting place for writers, poets, scholars, university professors, and renowned artists of Iran.
The Eastern Courtyard and Its Symbolic Archways
The eastern courtyard is adorned with beautiful archways featuring verses from Hafez’s poetry. These 14 archways hold deep symbolism. Each section of Hafezieh conveys a unique message.
For example, as you stroll along Golestan Street, before entering Hafezieh, you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city, symbolizing the entanglement of human beings with worldly concerns and industrial pursuits, a world far removed from the ethereal realm of mysticism.
The southern courtyard can be likened to the material and transient world, while ascending the stairs and reaching the ivan signifies the maturity of the individual, overcoming the material world, and embarking on a journey of spiritual enlightenment.
The ivan of Hafezieh represents the sun, where there is no separation between you and the truth. The northern courtyard evokes the world of the divine, where you seek answers to mysteries and questions. It is the location of Hafez’s mausoleum, featuring eight entrances and exits, symbolizing the eighth century, which corresponds to the period of Hafez’s life.
The Hafez Mausoleum, the gem of this complex, can be interpreted in various ways. It may symbolize the sun, with its dome bearing a striking resemblance to the caps of wandering dervishes. Some view the dome as a representation of the heavens. The colors inside the dome hold their own significance – turquoise symbolizes paradise, while burgundy signifies eternal wine. The interplay of black and white may represent day and night, while the earthy brown color is a reminder of the fundamental element of existence, earth.
Attractions near Hafezieh in Shiraz
While exploring the area around Hafezieh, you can visit several other attractions in close proximity:
- Quran Gate: Located approximately 5.1 kilometers to the north of Hafezieh, this historical gate offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s heritage.
- Bagh-e Jahan Nama (World Garden): Situated 850 meters north of Hafezieh, this garden provides a tranquil escape.
- Haft Tanan Museum: Just 850 meters north of Hafezieh, this museum showcases the rich history of Shiraz.
- Kuhpayeh Park: About 1 kilometer north of the mausoleum, this park is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
- Saadi’s Mausoleum: Located approximately 3 kilometers west of Hafezieh, this mausoleum honors another great Persian poet, Saadi.
- Eram Garden: Situated about 5 kilometers to the northwest of Hafezieh, Eram Garden is a paradise of greenery.
- Ghavam House: Located 6 kilometers south of Hafezieh, this historical house is a splendid example of Persian architecture.
- Narenjestan-e Ghavam: Found near Hafezieh, this garden is filled with fragrant orange trees.
- Nasir al-Mulk Mosque: Situated approximately 4 kilometers south of the mausoleum, this mosque is a masterpiece of Persian architecture.