What follows are Ms. Tina Patterson’s comments about Iran and Iranians that she has written on her website, authenticasia.net. She is an American and travel expert in Asian countries.
Shiraz and the King of Light!
It was late in the evening when the shops were closing and people were still strolling the streets of Shiraz. We had just finished dinner in a small restaurant in the bazaar when our guide suggested that we visit the “King of Light”. This turned out to be one of the most unforgettable moments of our trip.
The “King of Light” is also known as Shah Cheragh, the holy shrine of Shiraz. It houses the tomb of the brother of the 8th Imam. Women must be fully covered while visiting the shrine so we were given chadors before entering. What unfolded in front of us was an amazing scene. Hundreds of local people where sitting in a huge courtyard that was gently lit and covered with carpets. Families with young children were drinking tea and chatting away, mothers were sitting with their babies sleeping peacefully in their arms and young boys and girls sat huddled in a group, giggling when they saw us.
The atmosphere was so tranquil one could hardly believe that we were in a big city. A small door led into the heart of the shrine and what we saw took our breath away. The entire shrine was covered in mirror glass and the light was reflecting everywhere. People were praying, reading the Koran and talking quietly among themselves. Our small group was very much moved by this scene and retreated into a corner of the room until a group of Iranian women, with smiling faces, approached us and began to engage us in conversation. They were happy to see us and were happy to be there.
We felt privileged and honored, for in that moment we experienced the devotion and serenity of these women in this incredibly beautiful place of worship. We will forever remember this experience.