Shiraz pronunciation (help·info) (i/ʃiːrɑːz/; Persian: شیراز Shīrāz, Persian pronunciation: [ʃiːˈrɒːz]), is the fifth most populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. In 2009 the population of the city was 1,455,073. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the Roodkhaneye Khoshk (Dry river) seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. It is regarded as one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.
The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. It was the capital of the Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1781, as well as briefly during the Saffarid period. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz.
Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries: 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran’s first solar power plant. Recently the city’s first wind turbine has been installed above Babakoohi mountain near the city.
Shiraz is most likely more than 4,000 years old. The name Shiraz is mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions from around 2000 BCE found in south western corner of the Shiraz city. According to some Iranian mythological traditions, it was originally erected by Tahmuras Diveband, and afterward fell to ruin. The oldest sample of wine in the world, dating to approximately 7,000 years ago, was discovered on clay jars recovered outside of Shiraz (according to the referenced article, this discovery was made in Hajji Firuz Tepe, a Neolithic village in Iran’s northern Zagros Mountains, more than a thousand kilometers north of Shiraz).
In Achaemenian era, Shiraz was on the way from Susa to Persepolis and Pasargadae. In Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma it has been said that Artabanus V, the Parthian Emperor of Iran, expanded his control over Shiraz. Ghasre Abu-Nasr (meaning “the palace of AbuNasr”) which is originally from Parthian era is situated in this area. During the Sassanid era, Shiraz was in between the way which was connecting Bishapur and Gur to Istakhr. Shiraz was an important regional center under the Sassanians.
Shiraz is located in the south of Iran and the northwest of Fars Province. It is built in a green plain at the foot of the Zagros Mountains 1500 metres (5200 ft) above sea level. Shiraz is 919 kilometres (571 mi) south of Tehran.
A seasonal river, Rudkhaneye Khoshk, flows through the northern part of the city and on into Maharloo Lake. As of 1920, the area had a large forest of oak trees.