Shiraz, the old city of Persian poetry and literature was home to numerous great Persian poets, among all Saadi and Hafez are considered as the important ones and their tombs Saadieh and Hafezieh are perfect places for literature lovers. Visiting their tombs is a highlight of every trip to Iran.
Tomb of Saadi Shirazi (Saadiyeh)
What you will read in this article are:
Saadieh, Tomb of Sa’di, آرامگاه سعدی
|Monument Category||Tomb Garden||Website||N/A|
Saadi Shirazi, the great Persian poet of the 13th century was born in Shiraz. Saadieh or the tomb of Saadi is a perfect place for literature and art lovers. Going back into history, during this Persian poet’s life, the current place of the mausoleum was a monastery for him and his companions. The stunning building is a combination of old and new architecture styles placed in a beautiful tranquillizing garden in commemoration of him. The mausoleum is located inside an octagon decorated with pieces of Saadi’s works and turquoise tiles.
When the name of a historical place comes up, the word fun seems a little strange but in Saadi’s mausoleum, it is different. You will be immersed in the mystical and calm atmosphere and have fun there when walking in the pleasant garden.
To reach the tomb of this great poet, you have to go through the middle of a garden that is adorned with trees and plants that refreshes your soul. There you will fall in love with poetry and like to read or listen to his Persian or translated poems. The soothing atmosphere attracts the lovers of the great Saadi every year. In 1975, the tomb of Saadi Shirazi was registered as a national monument.
Of course, sightseeing in Shiraz without paying a visit to Saadi’s tomb will be incomplete. Check out tour to tomb of Saadi with the most professional local guides who know Persian literature well.
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Who was Saadi Shirazi?
Moshref o-din Mosleh Shirazi, known as Saadi Shirazi, was a powerful Iranian poet and writer of the 13th century. He was the author of Bustan and Gulistan books, former in verse and latter in prose which are significant works of Iranian literature. Saadi is also known as the master of ethics in Persian culture. In his works, he tried to condemn greed, usury, hypocrisy, lust and corruption.
Saadi was born in Shiraz. As a child, he went to school with great interest and learned research, religion and knowledge. The unsettled political situation in Iran forced Saadi, who had no choice to acquire knowledge, to leave Shiraz. His travels started to various cities in the Middle East, India, Egypt and North Africa started and lasted thirty years.
Saadi as a traveler
Saadi began his travels in his 20s with his first trip to Baghdad. His trips continued for thirty years. As well as learning immeasurable during his trips, he also suffered a lot during his travels.
As mentioned in Gulistan he was passing the Grand Mosque of Kufa in bare feet with no shoes when saw a person who had no legs; he thanked God for the blessing and waited to gather the price of a shoe. Somewhere else he mentioned that during the Crusades, he was captured by Crusaders at Acre where he spent seven years as a slave digging trenches outside its fortress.
This great poet considered faith as a consolation and came to the conclusion that love and friendship are the best way to heal the wounds of life.
The architecture of the Saadi Tomb
After Saadi’s death, a tomb was built for this famous poet and throughout history, it has been destroyed and renovated many times. The current mausoleum was designed and built by the architect Mohsen Foroughi in 1951.
The main structure is about 257 square meters located in a large garden that transfers a poetic atmosphere when exploring. The exterior is made of travertine and the interior is made of marble. The main building of the tomb has two porches perpendicular to each other, and the tomb is located at the corner of these two porches. The tomb building is decorated with white stone and tiles with 8 columns of brown stones. The columns and the porch are made of red granite and the foundation stones are black. The mausoleum is in the shape of a cube from the outside but when you go inside it is an octagon with marble walls and an azure dome.
Next to Saadi’s tomb is the graves of a number of other great Shirazi elites of culture and art.
Let’s introduce some parts of this mausoleum:
The entrance door of Saadieh was designed by the famous French artist Andre Godard who also designed the tomb of Hafez. In the design of Saadi’s tomb, Iranian architectural elements such as porches and domes are elegantly mingled with the modern elements. At the entrance door a poem of Saadi attracts visitors attention:
The odor of love is smelled from Saadi’s grave
Yet a thousand years after his death
There are several aqueducts and water basins in this complex. Water enters the garden from an aqueduct located at a depth of 10 meters. The water of this aqueduct contains large amounts of sulfur, mercury and other minerals. Saadieh aqueduct flows directly into the fish pond.
To the left of the tomb, there is the fish pond. This pond is a 30 square meters octagonal structure. To access this pool, you have to go down 28 steps from the courtyard of the tomb. It is interesting to know that before the construction of Saadieh, it was a custom in Shiraz to bathe in this pond. This was mostly done on the last Wednesday of the year known as “Chahar Shanbeh Suri”.
As another custom, people toss coins in this pond to make their dreams fulfilled. This goes back to a Zoroastrian belief that by throwing a coin into the water, you offer it to Mitra. Today, this place has turned into a traditional teahouse.
What are Saadi’s books?
Based on Saadi’s contemporaries, he was skilled in vocabulary, grammar, theology, logic, divine wisdom, and practical wisdom (social science and civil politics). Forty-three years after Saadi’s death, his poems were gathered and sorted in alphabetical order. The works were divided into 12 sections of verses, proses and essays. His best-known works are Bustan and Gulistan.
Saadi’s masterpiece in verse is Bustan meaning the Orchard. It consists of moral and philosophical stories, the ecstatic practices of dervishes, and shows his mastery in social sciences.
Gulistan meaning the Rose Garden is a combination of prose and verse that contains stories and personal anecdotes. The stories in Gulistan demonstrate Saadi’s profound awareness of the absurdity of human existence.
His fame was so great that fifty-five years after his death in China, sailors sang his poems.
Saadi Shirazi Poem at the UNO building
There is a poem of Saadi, the great Persian poet of ethics, written at the entrance of the United Nations building. It reads:
بنى آدم اعضای یکدیگرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى بدرد آورَد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نمانَد قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی
banī ādam a’zā-ye yekdīgar-and
ke dar āfarīn-aš ze yek gowhar-and
čo ‘ozvī be dard āvarad rūzgār
degar ‘ozvhā-rā na-mānad qarār
to k-az mehnat-ē dīgarān bīqam-ī
na-šāyad ke nām-at nahand ādamī
The translation of the above by Richard Jeffrey Newman:
All men and women are to each other
The limbs of a single body, each of us drawn
From life’s shimmering essence, god’s perfect pearl;
And when this life we share wounds one of us,
All share the hurt as if it were our own.
You, who will not feel another’s pain,
You forfeit the right to be called human.