Get ready for a different journey and join us to visit Saadi’s tomb in the city of poems and love, Shiraz. Shiraz is the eternal home of this poet who has a global reputation. The one whose poems are heard all over the world. Sadieh in Shiraz is a place for the lovers of this great poet of Iran and has a special atmosphere.
In the meantime, by seeing the photo of Saadi’s tomb, you will probably be curious about its architecture. And even you would like to know more about it.
You may have wondered what this building looked like in the past and how it came to be today. To know everything about Saadi’s tomb, just accompany us on this trip. We would love to have your warm company.
- 1. Saadieh Complex, The Host of Saadi’s Tomb
- 2. Who Was Saadi?
- 3. Have Fun in Saadieh Complex
- 4. History of Saadieh Complex, From the Monastery to the Tomb
- 5. Destruction of the Monastery and Its Reconstruction
- 6. Saadi’s Tomb in the Qajar Period
- 7. Revival of Saadieh Complex in the Pahlavi Period and After
- 8. The Architecture of Saadieh Complex and Saadi’s Tombs
- 9. Eye-catching Sections and Effects of Saadieh Complex
- 10. 1- The Entrance and the Garden of Sadieh
- 11. 2- Saadi’s Poems Adorn His Tomb
- 12. 3- Water Circulation in Saadieh, Qanats, and Pools of the Complex
- 13. 4. Saadi’s Tomb
- 14. 5- The Tomb of Shurideh-ye Shirazi
- 15. 6- Saadieh Library
- 16. 7- Other Parts of Saadieh
- 17. Access Path
- 18. Sights Around the Sadieh Complex
- 19. Final Words
Saadieh Complex, The Host of Saadi’s Tomb
When you are in Shiraz, you can ask anyone for the address of Saadieh. This historical tomb is located in one of the beautiful streets of the city. It is also close to Delgosha Garden. As you step into the Saadieh complex, It’s like you have stepped into another world. It’s a world that talks to you about Persian poetry and literature and conveys Saadi’s wisdom to you.
Passing through the entrance door, you will face the columns of the tomb in front of you. And the columns, for sure, show off their special splendor and glory. This tomb is so valuable and beautiful that its name has been on Iran’s national Heritage List since December 9, 1975.
Interestingly, you can find the picture of Saadi’s tomb on five hundred rial bronze coins of the Islamic Republic of Iran that are engraved since 2007. And also you can see its picture on one hundred thousand rial cash that has been produced since 2009.
Who Was Saadi?
Abu Muhammad Musharraf al-Din Mosleh ibn Abdullah ibn Musharraf, alias Saadi, is an Iranian Persian poet and writer. He was born in 1210 and died in 1291. He studied in the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad. This famous school, at that time, was one of the most important centers of science and knowledge in the Islamic world. It had the greatest scholars. After graduating, he traveled to different cities and became a preacher. Saadi spent 30 years traveling and then settled in Shiraz. And then died in the same city.
Saadi and His Influence
This great poet has had an undeniable influence on the Persian language. And there is a significant similarity between today’s Persian language and his words.
His works have long been used in schools and libraries to teach the Persian language and literature. And amazingly, many common proverbs in the Persian language have been adapted from his books.
One of his characteristics was that, unlike many contemporary or earlier writers, he turned to simplification and was able to gain a great deal of fame. So much so that the people of literature call him the master of speech (Ostad-e Sokhan), the king of speech, and even the master.
Saadi’s Grand Books
His works have been collected in two of his popular books, Gulistan and Bustan of Saadi. These two books have a moral theme. Bustan, his first book, is his triumph of poetry. This book represents his experiences of life during his travels, the way he sees human psychology, and totally the wisdom he gains along his journey of life. Gulistan is his masterpiece of prose with almost the same content using stories. In addition to these more known books, his love poems have been published independently in another book. We can see his deep influence not only on the Persian-speaking literates but also on the works of Western thinkers such as the French Voltaire and the German Goethe.
Have Fun in Saadieh Complex
When the name of a historical place comes up, the word fun seems a little strange. But Saadieh is different from any other historical monument. You just should immerse in its mystical and calm atmosphere and know how to have fun in it.
Walking In a Pleasant Refreshing Garden
After you enter the complex, to get to the tomb of this great poet, you have to go through the middle of a garden. It is a garden teeming with trees and plants which caresses your eyes with its beauty. This walk creates a special memory in your mind and refreshes your soul, especially in the evenings.
Reading Saadi’s Poems
In different spots of the tomb, you can see poems that tell you the lessons of life. They will take you to the mystical world and make you think. If you are a little careful, after a while, you will immerse in the verses and you will review them word by word to find out their secrets and mysteries. When you go to Saadiyeh, you suddenly fall in love with poetry and you want to open the book of Bustan and Gulistan and invite yourself to read a word. Of course, the verses are all in Persian you might need someone to translate them for you or you look up the English version of them.
History of Saadieh Complex, From the Monastery to the Tomb
What we know today as Saadi’s tomb was in fact Saadi’s monastery once. Where he spent the rest of his life and was buried in the same place after his death. A monastery is a place of residence, education, gathering, and activity of dervishes and Sufis. There have been many of them in the Islamic world, especially in areas influenced by Iranian Islam.
Construction of the First Tomb for Saadi
For the first time in the 14th century, Saadi’s burial place was decorated. and Shamsuddin Muhammad, the minister of Abaqa Khan, the second king of the Ilkhanid dynasty, built a tomb above the grave of this famous poet.
The oldest surviving narrations of Saadi’s tomb are about 35 years and another 57 years after his death. Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan tourist, has written about him. The report says that people visiting Saadi’s shrine washed their clothes in its marble pools. Because the people of Shiraz, before Saadi and even before Islam, believed this water had healing powers.
After that, Junaid Shirazi, the author of Shadalazar book, described Saadi’s tomb in 1389, and Dolatshah Samarqandi, a poet of the 15th century, also has written about Saadi’s tomb in his book, Tazkereh al-Sho’ra, two centuries after the poet’s death.
Destruction of the Monastery and Its Reconstruction
According to historical sources, especially the book “Golestan-e Honar” written by Mirmonshi, in 1590, Yaqub Zolghadr, the ruler of Persia, ordered the destruction of the Sheikh’s Monastery. And everything was razed to the ground. Karim Khan Zand, in 1773, ordered to build a plaster and brick building on top of Saadi’s grave. The building became known as the royal mansion. The lower floor of the building had a corridor with two rooms in the east and the west. And it led to the stairs of the second floor.
In the east room was Saadi’s tomb, surrounded by a wooden structure. And later the western room became Shoorideh Shirazi’s (Fassih al-Mulk) burial place. Fassih al-Mulk was the blind poet of Shiraz. The upper floor of the building was similar to the first floor. However, they built no room on the eastern room, which housed Saadi’s mausoleum, in honor of the sheik, and its ceiling was two stories high.
Saadi’s Tomb in the Qajar Period
According to historical narrations, in the early Qajar period, Saadi was attributed to the Sunnis. And this is why one of the Shia scholars of Shiraz ordered to destroy his tombstone. Sometime later, Ali Akbar Khan Qawam al-Mulk-e Shirazi, one of the political figures of the time, prepared a stone for Saadi’s tomb.
This stone had some of the poems of Bustan engraved on it. They were words in praise of the Prophet of Islam, but with a slight change. He placed the stone on the tomb. And it stayed there for a long time until the construction of the current building began.
Fath Ali Khan Sahib Divan, the son-in-law of Fath Ali Shah, restored this building in 1922. Then, a few years later Habibullah Khan Qavam al-Mulk, from the famous Qavam al-Mulk family in Shiraz, ordered to repair and restore some parts of the building.
Afterward, Karbalaei Seyyed Zin al-Abedin Chini (Hosseini Nik) was in charge of continuing the job who died in 1942.
Revival of Saadieh Complex in the Pahlavi Period and After
In 1945, a branch of the National Heritage Association started its work in Shiraz, with the membership and supervision of Professor Ali Sami. And one of the ideas that they went for from the very beginning was the revival of the Saadieh Complex. According to a government decree, in 1946, to finance this project, they decided to use the Marvdasht sugar factory support.
According to this decree, two rials of the money they raised per kilogram was for the renovation of the complex. This was only a small step to preserve this complex. The practical and serious attempts began in 1948. At that time, Ali Asghar Khan Hekmat was the president of the National Heritage Association and the Secretary-General of UNESCO in Iran, and Ali Sami was also the secretary of the National Heritage Association in Shiraz.
Saadi’s building from the Karim Khan era, until 1948, was still standing. And thanks to the restorations in different periods of time, it still looked beautiful.
In 1948, after obtaining initial consent to revive the complex, the French architect and historian Andre Godard, who was the director of archeology in Iran at the time, was invited to come to Shiraz and express his opinion in this regard.
According to the National Heritage Association, after a lot of discussions in the next year, they signed a contract for the design of Saadi’s tomb with a construction company.
And Engineer Mohsen Foroughi and Engineer Ali Sadegh began their work as Saadieh’s designers.
In March 1951, the construction of Saadi’s Tomb, whose designers were Iranians and its architects and workers were from Shiraz, was completed. Inspired by Chehel Sotoon’s design, this building was a combination of old and new Iranian architecture. It cost them 980 thousand tomans to build the tomb building in a garden with an area of 7700 square meters. Of course, the surroundings went through changes later on. On the afternoon of May 1st, 1952, the tomb of Saadi was inaugurated.
After the Islamic Revolution, in the year 2001 and during the development plan of the tomb, Shiraz Municipality, in cooperation with the Housing and Urban Development Organization, implemented a project during which the area of Saadiyeh reached 4.5 hectares.
The Architecture of Saadieh Complex and Saadi’s Tombs
Saadieh’s current building is the work of Mohsen Foroughi, an Iranian modernist architect who designed the tomb in collaboration with Ali Akbar Sadegh in 1951.
And you can perfectly see the inspiration of traditional Iranian architectural elements in it. The tomb building has Iranian style and its infrastructure is about 257 square meters. From the outside, the building looks like a cube.
But from the inside, it is octagonal and has marble walls and an azure dome. The exterior of the tomb is of travertine and the interior is of marble. The stones of the foundations of the building are black, and the columns and the front of the porch are of special red granite.
The Azure Dome
White stones and tiles decorate the original building. And the 8 columns of brownstones in front of the tomb, have given it a special glory. A dome of turquoise tiles stands out on top of the building and shows off, sparkling under the sun.
The main building of the tomb consists of two Iwans, perpendicular to each other. The tomb of Sheikh is located in the corner between these two Iwans, in the middle of the octagonal mansion. You can see seven inscriptions on the seven sides of the building.
They are all parts of Golestan, Bustan, and other poems of this great poet. The eye-catching calligraphy belongs to the great artist “Ibrahim Bouzari”. One of the inscriptions includes “Ali Asghar Hekmat”‘s words, explaining the construction of the tomb.
Eye-catching Sections and Effects of Saadieh Complex
To get to know the corners of this complex, we will walk in it together and review its beauties:
1- The Entrance and the Garden of Sadieh
To get to Saadi’s tomb, we have to go through the gate of the complex, which is exactly facing the entrance of the tomb. Upon arrival, you can see a poem on the gate that will catch your attention. It says something with this content:
The smell of love comes from Saadi Shirazi’s burial, even a thousand years after his death.
After passing by the gate, we enter the garden area and you can have the nicest walk in an eye-catching environment. Then we get to the main space of the tomb. In the new plan of the Saadieh complex, after buying and destroying the surrounding houses, it now has an area of about 10395 square meters.
There are lots of flowers, and trees in the garden. And for sure, It is a garden in an Iranian style. There are two rectangular pools in the middle of this garden in a north-south direction on both sides of the tomb. And another pool in the east-west direction in front of the main Iwan.
2- Saadi’s Poems Adorn His Tomb
What attracts everyone in Saadieh is his adequately selected poems from Saadi’s books that you can see on the doors and the walls. An example of these poems is on a piece of stone, that is they keep it in the tomb.
This piece of stone belongs to a stone inscription that used to be on the entrance of the tomb in the time of Karim Khan Zand. This inscription was broken in the distant past due to an accident. And fortunately, they found it while digging the surrounding streets to repair the asphalt.
3- Water Circulation in Saadieh, Qanats, and Pools of the Complex
As we have said, the Saadieh area has the characteristics of an Iranian garden and the prominent feature of these gardens is water abundance and its circulation. In the Saadieh complex, there are different qanats and pools.
Qanat of Saadieh complex is located at a depth of ten meters below the courtyard of the tomb. And its water contains sulfur and mercury. The water of this qanat flows underground and eventually flows into a pool called a fish pool.
There is a pool with an octagonal internal shape on the left side of the tomb and about 20 meters west of it. Its infrastructure is about 30.25 square meters.
This pool is known as the fish pool. It is connected to the courtyard of the tomb with 28 stairs. In other words, it is 28-stairs below the garden’s surface. They say that Saadi had pools of marble next to his praying room. Water flowed in these pools.
The Locals Beliefs About This Pool
The locals believed that washing in this water, especially on the last Wednesday night of the year (Chahar Shanbeh Soori) was good for them. That’s why it has been one of the customs and beliefs of the people of Shiraz for a long.
Sometime after the construction of Saadi’s tomb, swimming in this pool was banned. They no longer had access to the water. Today, about 150 meters away from the tomb, there is a place where water flows on the ground and is known as Saadi Bath Alley. People go to this place and swim in the water. They believe the water is sacred and washing in it will grant their wishes.
People have long believed that this water does magic and solves their problems. Usually, farmers take a container of this water to pour into their farming fields to harvest more and better quality crops. They also believe that washing their clothes in this water will protect them from getting sick. Or if they are sick, it will help them heal sooner.
The Legendary Golden Fish
In the past, people gathered in this place and cooked Ash, which the locals call “Dig Joosh”. And they rejoiced morning to night. They believed that there was a goldfish in the water that had a golden ring on its nose. According to them it jumped up and down in the water and played.
For the same reason, no one went fishing there. No one would like to catch the legendary fish accidentally. Because if so it would be bad luck for them.
The tiles inside the fish pool have many signs of Seljuk style. It was in 1993 that master Tirandaz, a famous tile worker of Shiraz, designed it and the cultural heritage executed it.
You can see an octagonal skylight above the fish pool and two other four square skylights on its sides. Previously, people used to drop coins in this pool and asked for what they desired. They had faith this way they would receive it. But since there is no water in this pool any longer, people have been throwing their coins in another pool for some time. We are going to learn about this pool, below.
Coin Pool – A New Pool for the Wish Coins
After they drained the fish pool, people throw their coins in another pool. It is in front of the Iwan. This may seem more like a pastime and a superstition now. But the philosophy of dropping coins in water goes back to the Mithraic religion in Zoroastrianism. In this ritual, they consider water as a symbol of purity.
And the followers believed that by giving a part of their property to the goddess of water, they bring blessings to their homes. In fact, pouring money into water is a kind of sacrifice, vow, and forgiveness.
Of course, it is good to remind you that water is one of the four sacred elements in the ancient Iranian religions. And its importance and sanctity have been mentioned many times in the Avesta. In Aban Yasht and Tir Yasht (parts of Avesta), there are many sayings about the sanctity of water. And all of them emphasize the praise of Anahita, the goddess of water.
It is interesting to know that this custom is not limited to Iran’s borders. In Italy and Russia, there is such a belief among the people, as well.
4. Saadi’s Tomb
The tomb of this great poet is located in the middle of an octagonal mansion. Its high ceiling is decorated with a beautiful turquoise dome. Ali Akbar Khan Ghavam-ol-Molk Shirazi installed the current tombstone of Saadi.
He also placed an inscription engraved with the poems of Saadi’s Bustan on the stone. And it is written in excellent Nasta’liq calligraphy.
5- The Tomb of Shurideh-ye Shirazi
Around Saadi’s tomb, there are many graves of elders who were buried in this place according to their will. One of them is Shurideh-ye Shirazi. He is the son of Ahli-ye Shirazi, a famous poet of the Safavid era. He was born in Shiraz in 1860 and died in 1927. At the age of seven, the poet became blind and lost sight of both of his eyes due to smallpox. But a few years later he became a talented poet and was totally popular.
The left side of Saadi’s tomb is connected to a portico with seven arches and reaches the tomb of Shorideh Shirazi with a black floor. This tomb is also located in a separate room and has an inscription on it. This inscription introduces the poet and a poem of the poet himself can be seen on the crimson tiles on the wall.
6- Saadieh Library
On the west side of Saadi’s tomb, there is a white building with a blue sign at the entrance. This building is a small but prolific library of Saadieh. It attracts every newcomer to immerse himself in a different world of thought, mysticism, and science. They established this library in 1972 with a foundation of about 105 meters. It has only one hall. There are two sections, including the library repository and the reading room, which are separated by the librarian’s desk.
7- Other Parts of Saadieh
For Saadieh to be a complete complex, it needs side buildings. And therefore you can see service buildings in it. For this complex to be well received by visitors, a teahouse has been created in its basement.
It provides a suitable space for rest during the visit. Next to the fish pool, there are two brick buildings. One of them is the office of the Saadia complex. And the other is the public library that we talked about before. In another corner of the complex, there is another building which is the bathroom.
Fars Province, 4 km northeast of Shiraz, Bustan Boulevard, next to Delgosha Garden. This is the address you can find Saadieh Complex at. You can click on the map to see the directions.
If you want to go to Saadieh by public transport, you can use the buses of “Shahid Dastgheib Terminal – Narenjestan Boulevard” and “Narenjestan Boulevard – Namazi Terminal” and get off at Saadieh Station. Then you can get to the complex after a short walk.
Sights Around the Sadieh Complex
If you wish to visit other attraction sites close to the Saadieh here are some of them. Delgosha Garden 850 meters away. Mountain park at a distance of 500 meters. Haft Tanan Museum 2.6 km away. And Quran Gate at a distance of 3.6 km.
We are so glad that you have joined us on this trip to Saadieh Complex and Saadi’s Tomb. We hope you have enjoyed it. If so please let us know in the comments. Your words are worth the world to us. In case you need more information or you would like to book a tour with Tappersia you can reach us via the contact information below. Hope to see you soon in Iran!
Last Edited: July 4, 2021
Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Pasargad, Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Tange Reghaz, Fars Province, Iran