Shiraz is the capital of the southwestern province of Fars, in the Zagros mountains. Noted for its parks, gardens and religious architecture, the city is also a trading and transport centre, linked to the Persian Gulf seaport of Bushehr. The ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis, a World Heritage Site, are to the northeast.
Recorded during the Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanid periods (dating from the fourth century BC to the mid-seventh century AD), the city of Shiraz later became an important centre of the medieval Islamic world. It suffered Mongol invasions and occupations during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and was sacked by Afghan invaders in the early eighteenth century. Significant restoration took place during the reign of Karim Khan Zand in 1750–79, much of which has survived despite several earthquakes.
Shiraz is the commercial hub of the surrounding region, which produces grapes (for Shiraz wine), citrus fruit, cotton and rice. It...