(written during my trip in Iran, 25 April – 12 May 2013)
Foreword: Many of the historical sites I visited in Iran accompanied their guest’s visit by traditional music, played from loud speakers spread around the place. I truly enjoyed this, merging with all my senses into the Persian culture, letting the air, the sun, the sounds fill me, enchant me. I listened to Iranian traditional music while writing this post. So I invite you, too, to listen this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyv1Y7wtrkM.
There are two things for which people come to Shiraz: one is Persepolis; the other one is Hafez’s tomb. Having lived in the14th century, Hafez is Iran’s most loved and cherished poet.
During my short visit in Shiraz, I went to Hafez’s tomb two times. After coming back from Persepolis, new friends I made during that trip proposed to go out. And naturally (I was later to find out) our first stop was the large garden where Hafez’s tomb is located. Until 22.30 or 23.00, when the garden closes, groups of young and old people are coming and going, walking around, drinking chai at the traditional café or just sitting close to the tomb of Hafez and reading, aloud or just for themselves, his poems. Actually, this is what impressed me the most: the tomb is not a place that Iranians come to visit, but rather a place to come and meditate, a place where people act with the reverence and respect I am used seeing back home in monasteries and churches. Iranians, I am told, trust that Hafez can provide them with answers to questions about their life and the future. Ever since hundreds of years ago, people would come to his tomb, randomly open his book of poems and read the first poem they lay their eye upon: the poem would be the answer to their question. Kings who were contemplating attacking new territories, pregnant women wanting to find out if their baby is a boy or a girl, young girls wishing to know when they would marry… Even more, every house is bound to have a book of Hafez’s poems and whenever a member of the family would have a doubt about something, they would turn to beloved Hafez for an answer.
I loved Shiraz: a city full of gardens, a bit lazy and slow, reminding me of my hometown Iasi..