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Shiraz

Shiraz (shēräzˈ) [key], city (1991 pop. 965,117), capital of Fars prov., SW Iran, at an altitude of c.5,200 ft (1,580 m). It is a commercial and industrial center and has long been known for its wines, carpets, and metalwork. Other manufactures include textiles, petrochemicals, cement, and sugar. An old settlement, Shiraz became an important commercial, military, and administrative center in the late 7th cent. In the 9th cent. two brothers of Imam Riza died in Shiraz; their tombs are still visited by pilgrims. From about the 10th cent. Shirazi traders were active along the E African coast. Timur sacked the city in the late 14th cent., but later, under the Safavids, it was embellished with numerous new buildings. Under Karim Khan, the city served (1750–79) as capital of Persia; it declined after Karim's successor, Aga Muhammad Khan, moved the capital to Tehran. Hafiz and Sadi, two of Persia's greatest poets, are buried in garden-enclosed tombs in Shiraz. A university and the Fars Museum are also in the city. Nearby are the ruins of Persepolis, established by Darius I (fl. 521 B.C.–486 B.C.) as capital of the Persian empire. The palace was destroyed by Alexander in 330 B.C.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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