Iran is undoubtedly the country of poems. The enriching culture of Iranian people is intertwined with thousands of metaphoric verses, poems, and poetic expressions. Iranians celebrate the new year reading Hafez, they celebrate the longest night of the year reading Ferdowsi and they express themselves by reading a love poem from Saadi. They even visit the tombs of their beloved poets on important occasions or even on a date! This could be one of the most interesting, yet lovely parts of Persian culture. No wonder why it is so important in Iran to know about the most influencing poets and visit their memorial tombs for that’s how you really get into the real culture of the country.
Iranians love poesy, and they love Shiraz, as it is home to two greatest poets of Iran: Saadi and Hafez. You may know Shiraz for its heavenly gardens or Persepolis, but you haven’t visited the real Shiraz if you leave without visiting the tombs of Saadi and Hafez. Once in Shiraz seeing many people gathering together in these two places, you will understand what I am talking about. Join me in this article to discover more about this poet and his memorial tomb, as it is a must to visit on your trip to Shiraz city!
Abu-Muhammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdallah Shirazi, mostly known as Saadi or Saadi of Shiraz, was a major Persian poet of the medieval period. The depth of his thoughts, as well as his great ideas on life and love, has turned him to one of the most influential Persian poets. They call Saadi by his nickname in Iran: The master of Speech or simply the Master. According to The Guardian, his book Bustan is one of the 100 greatest books of all time. He completed this book in 1257 and his other book, Golestan in 1258. Bustan literally means orchard and Golestan means the rose garden.
The Bustan book is comprised of stories about virtues like justice, liberality, modesty, and contentment. It also reflects on the behavior of dervishes and their ecstatic practices. Gulistan is mostly in prose and contains stories and personal anecdotes, advice on life, and humorous reflections. In this book, you will clearly see the Saadi’s profound undrestanding of the absurdity of human existence.
But in western culture, Saadi is probably is most known for his “One Another” poem, written on a carpet installed in the United Nations building in New York:
Adam’s sons are body limbs, to say;
For they are created of the same clay.
Should one organ be troubled by pain,
Others would suffer severe strain.
Thou, careless of people’s suffering,
Deserve not the name, “human being”.
The verse has inspired many hearts all around the world and even was used by the British rock , Coldplay.
Although Saadi was a 13th- century poet, he still has many lovers and followers. Many people visit his tomb and commemorate him by reading his poems and ghazals. After his death at a Khanqah (the place for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood) in the current location, he was buried here. Shams-al Din Juvani, the minister of the second Mongol ruler, built a tomb for him. But it was destroyed in the 17th century. Karim Khan, the founder of the Zand dynasty ordered to build another tomb for him which was a two-floor mausoleum with two rooms. But the current building is a design by Mohsen Foroughi, inspired by Chehel Sotun (the famous pavilion in Isfahan from the Safavid dynasty).
As mentioned before, the current tomb is designed by Mohsen Foroughi, an Iranian modernist architecture between 1951 and 1952. In his design, Foroughi has applied modern and traditional architectural elements. Located in a 7700 square meters garden, the tomb is decorated with white stone and tiling. Although it may seem like a square structure from the outside, it is, in fact, an octagonal structure from inside with an azure dome. This beautiful dome is designed with turquoise tiles.
The structure has 8 columns made of brownstone and on the walls around the tomb, you can read seven famous verses of Saadi’s poems. It’s a magnificent design combining both classic and modern characteristics.
In this tourist attraction, as well as visiting the tomb, you have the chance to take a walk into the garden and cherish the elements of a Persian garden. Flowers and Cypress trees add to the beauty of this place. There is also a pond of the coins in this area where visitors drop a coin to make their wish come true. Fish pond and Qanat are other parts visited by tourists here.
The tomb is located next to the famous Delgosha Persian garden in the northeastern part of the city. It is also close to the tomb of Hafez, so you can visit both at the same time. There are public transportations, but maybe taking a taxi would be the fastest, most convenient way to reach there.