Poems and poesy form a significant part of Persian culture. It is not a claim to say that each Iranian grows up learning and memorizing hundreds of poems since the very early years of school. Even before going to school, children hear many poems from famous poets in different occasions and ceremonies. Shab-e Yalda (the celebration of the longest night of the year) and Nowruz (the beginning of Iranian new year) are just a few examples of different situations that many poems are read and heard. So, poesy is not a separate part of the everyday life of people in this country. In fact, it is a form of expression among Iranian people. That’s why they visit the tombs of famous poets regularly or celebrate many occasions reading a poem.
If you ask Iranian people about the most inspiring poets of Iran, Hafez would be on top of his or her list. His book exists in almost every Iranian home. Even after near 700 years of his death, the ghazals of this 14th-century poet offers excellent insights about love and life to Iranian people. They even seek information or advices through Hafiz’s poems for making important decisions or to understand whether they wishes will come true or not. It shows the importance of the role of these great poems, even in the nowadays culture of Iran.
If you join millions of people who visit the tomb of Hafez in Shiraz each year, you will immediately understand what I am talking about. Hafez is the representative of the rich culture of Iran and forms an important part of Iranian identity. Now that you know about the significant role of this poet in Iran, join me to explore Hafezieh which is now an excellent tourist attraction in Shiraz.
Hafezieh or Tomb of Hafez is located in the city of Shiraz, in a street with the same name. The tomb is in the northern part of the city and close to other attractions like Jahan Nama Garden. A metro line passes through Hafezieh but it still doesn’t work. So, taking a taxi would be a convenient way to reach this attraction. The good news is that you can visit the tomb any time you like. Even if you manage to be there at midnight, you will see plenty of people sitting there and reading poems of Hafez. The beautiful Mosalla gardens surrounding Hafezieh are a great place for chilling out and relax.
Hafez died in Shiraz in 1390. In 1452, a Timurid governor ordered to build a dome-like structure near his grave in Golgasht-e Mosalla. The place (known today as Mosalla gardens) is the same as the one highlighted in Hafez’s poems. In Shiraz, gardens were also good places to bury people or make a cemetery inside. During the reign of Karim Khan Zand, other memorials were constructed here as well. At that time, the tomb of Hafez consisted of four central columns and two rooms at the east and west. The actual tomb, however, was outside of this structure and in the middle of cemetery. The marble slab covering the grave contained excerpts from Hafez’s poetry. These verses were engraved with beautiful Persian calligraphy on the stone.
The tomb was restored and even destroyed many times since then. It even remained in ruins for almost two years. The actual pavilions you visit today were constructed in 1935 by the French architect and archaeologist André Godard.
The memorial hall of the original tomb consisted of four columns. During the reconstruction process, six pillars were added to these four and created a long porch. Also, Godard changed the design by elevating the grave one meter above the ground level. He encircled the structure with five steps surrounding it. There are eight columns in total which support a copper dome. The dome is in the shape of a dervish’s hat and the ceiling is beautifully designed with decorative tilework. On different facades of the pavilion, you will see engraved ghazals and other excerpts from Hafez’s poetry. Ghazal is a form of the amatory poem and expresses both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. Hafez is most famous because of his magnificent ghazals. The tomb will allow you to appreciate the beautiful art of Persian calligraphy as well.
For Iranians, visiting the tombs of poets is like a ritual, although Hafezieh is a popular tourist destination among travelers as well. Spending time in this spot and its beautiful surroundings, you will see Iran at its best atmosphere, very charming and lovely. You will see many people holding Hafez’s book- which is called Divan – in their hands or reciting his poems. It is also a romantic spot among the young generation of Iran and you may see couples making promises next to Hafez’s tomb. You will also visit dervishes and elderly people who ask you to set an intention about any topics you like or questions you may have. They will then open the book for you and read Hafez’s answer to your question. So, when you visit Hafezieh, don’t miss the chance to gain some powerful insights from Hafez.