The Physical Features of Shiraz


Shiraz lies in a pleasant green valley of temperate climate surrounded by mountains, and has a suffiency of running water and underground streams, and not many arid and uncultivated areas can be seen around Shiraz. The town has piped water for drinking purposes. The climate of Shiraz is extermely agreeable and generally temperate. The summer heat is not like that of Tehran, and the winter here is aslo milder than in Tehran. Snow rarely falls, and then once or twice in the years only when the winter is unusually cold. The heat on very hot summer days does not exceed 40 degrees centigrade, nor does the cold on winter days of ice and snow fall below 3 degrees below zero.
The Shiraz spring and autumn, especially from the beginning of February until May, and the months of October and November are most delightful and exhilarating, and poetically inspiring, and few tourists, travellers in the east, and poets, whether Persian or foreign, who have visited Shiraz, have failed to be impressed by the spring and autumn climate and scenery there. and to describe their impressions at the close of this book we shall quote as far as possible some of their statements.
Shiraz is situated between the 29th and 38th degrees of longtitude, and between the 40th and 52nd degrees of latitude, and is 1500 feet above the sea.
The rainfall in recent years, during which atmospheric conditions have changed perceptibly, has been comparatively sufficient, and has reached 23 inches in a year, but the average rainfall is between 14 and 18 inches.
Various kinds of cereals grow well in Shiraz, such as wheat, barley, millet, also rice, cotton and sesame: and vegetables such as leek, melon and sugar beet; and in the Shiraz gardens practically every kind of temperate and tropical fruit grows. So spring and summer fruits such as artichokes, pistachio nuts, walnuts, apricots, cherries, greengages, mulberries, yellow and red plums, figs, various kinds of grapes, and autumn fruits such as quince, pear, apple, (abbasi), nectarine, sweet and sour pomegranates abound. Citrus fruits, such as sweet and sour oranges, sweet limes ans tangerines are found in Shiraz, but grow more plentifully in near districts such as Khafr, Firuzabad, Darab, Jahrum or Kazerun.
The productiveness of the Shiraz area, if it should not be visited by pest or drought, is fair, for the tribes with their flocks and herds traverse it, and it contains uplands providing excellent natural pasturage, and as far as meat, butter and milk products are concerned, it may be reckoned in the second rank of the cities of Iran.
Shiraz is the capital of the seventh province, Fars, and the headquarters of the Fifth Southern Army.
The population of the town according to a recent census was about 1263244 people, and this figure is increasing year by year.
The area of the city in the last thirty years has more than doubled, and is continually extending towards the gardens of Qasr unDasht, and the west and south-west. The setting up of the Cement Factory, and the Spinning Factories, and the two Sugar Factories of Marvdasht and Fasa have assisted the economic condition of Shiraz, but during the past thirty years, when the port of Bushire became abandoned, and goods entered by Khurramshahr and the railway to Tehran, and were forwarded to other centres from there, the trade position declined, and no comparable activity with what prevailed thirty years ago when goods from Bushire were conveyed to Shiraz, and thence to other partsz of the country is today observable.
But the attention of tourists, both Persian and foreign, is drawn to the cleanliness of the town, the agreeableness of the climate, and the sites of historical interest and Persepolis. Newcomers to Iran spend a few days, under the clear blue skies of Shiraz, and breathe the same air which Hafez and Sa'adi inhaled.
The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular desgin; silver-ware; carpet-weaving, and the making of the rugs called "gilim" and "jajim" in the villages and among the tribes.
Shiraz Historical Sites:
The historical sites of Shiraz worth seeing are as follows, in the order of their antiquity:
Qasr-i-Abu Nasr - The Sasanian carvings at Barm - i - Delak and Guyum - The ancient Masjed-i-Jame' (the Congregational Mosque) - The Masjed-i-No (the New Mosque) - Abesh Khatum - Shah Cheragh - Mad-reseh-ye Khan (the old Theological College) - The Karim Khan buildings.
If The description of these sites has not followed their historical order, this has been due to a desire to suit the tourist's convenience, who may not find to possible to visit every ancient site, so in the description historical priority has not been observed.