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Shiraz: City of poets and flowers

 

Shiraz with over 850,000 inhabitants is the capital of the southwestern Fars province of Iran. One of the most beautiful, historical cities in the world. Persian has its origins in this province of Fars and has become the official language of Iranians who call it Farsi.

Shiraz was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty (1747-79). Through its many artists and scholars, Shiraz has been synonymous with learning, nightingales, poetry, roses and, at one time, wine.

Today Shiraz is a busy modern city, with many wide tree-lined avenues and beautiful monuments, gardens and mosques. The university here is one of Iran's finest, with many students searching for real fulfillment in their lives.

Till the 1990s there was only a struggling Anglican church in Shiraz. The Assemblies of God tried to open a fellowship, but it was closed down. However in the last five years there has been a definite increase in the number of Christians in the city, all of them members of various house church networks. This increase has clearly worried opponents of Christianity and in the summer of 2008 two of house church leaders were arrested and spent several months in prison. They have now been released, and both have left the country: the house church networks though continue to grow.