As many might know, Iranians are famous for their driving skills, and I did witness that when our guide, Ali, picked us up from the airport and headed to our hotel in Shiraz. Just an hour and we nearly faced like a couple of accidents…
“Do women drive here?”
I asked him, thinking that may be the rates of accidents here correspond with the fact that most drivers are males.
“Yes, they do! They even drive better than men” haha I bet “In many Arab countries, women cannot drive. But you know, we are not Arabs. We, Persians, have culture.”
Ali was not the only one who said that. It was evident that most Iranians are proud of the ancient civilization of Persia and that is one canon, apart from Shia Islam, that they use to distinct themselves from the surrounding Arab countries.
But then, again, Shiraz taught me that calling all Iranians Persians is not quite accurate as well. Shiraz is home to Persepolis, an ancient city which can be translated as “the city of Persians” (which is also the origin of the name ‘Persia’) and it was named like that because of back then, the Iranian plateau was dominated by one Ethnic tribe, the Persians. But many historical evidences in Persepolis indicated that there were many other tribes living there as well. We actually met the descendants of the Lur people, an indegenous tribe who had lived in the area before the Persians, dressed in traditional costumes there. That is why not all Iranians are Actually Persians.
Despite of being dubbed the ‘City of mysteries’, for travelers, there are actually more of the ‘known’ than the ‘unknown’ in this city. Shiraz relates with the long list of the Greats and a prestigious collection of blockbuster attractions from Persepolis, Necropolis to the Pink Mosque and Eram Garden. Still, the gems of the lesser-known are still there to discover, from the bazaar, the fortress (which seems to be a public park in the evening) and the Shahsheragh where locals come to pray or the tombs of the famous poets, Hafez and Sa’adi, the latter of which impresses the world by his poem inscribed at the UN Headquarters.
“The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human.”