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There was probably a sizable settlement on the site of Shiraz in the prehistoric period and cuneiform records from the great ceremonial capital of Persepolis show that Shiraz was a significant township in Achaemenes times.
However the city became provincial capital only in 693 A.D, after the Arab armies conquered Estakhar, the nearby Sassanian capital. As Estakhar fell in to decline, Shiraz grew in importance under the Arabs and several local dynasties. The Buyids (945 to 1055) made it their capital, building mosques, palaces, a famous library and a great city wall. The city was spared destruction by the invading Mongols when its local ruler offered tributes and submission to Genghis Khan. Shiraz was again spared by Tamerlane when in 1382 the local monarch, Shah Shoja agreed to submit to the invader, even offering the hand of his grand daughter to grandson of tamerlane. After the death of Shah Shoja there was turbulent succession of rulers for several years, until Tamerlane appointed his own son as ruler of the city. In the thirteenth century Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters thanks to the encouragement of it's enlightened ruler and the presence of many scholars and artists. For this reason the city was named by classical geographers Dar al-Elm, the House of Knowlege. Many of the most important Iranian poets, mystics and philosophers were born in Shiraz and contributed to the fame of the city. Among them can be mentioned the poets Sa'di and Hafez the mystic Roozbehan and the philosopher Molla Sadra.
Thourghout the Safavid empire (XVI-XVIII century) Shiraz remained a provincial capital and Emam Qoli Khan, the governor of Fars under Shah Abbas I, constructed many palaces and ornate buildings in the same style of those built in the same period in Isfahan, the capital of the Empire. After the fall of the Safavid's Shiraz sufferd a period of decline worsened by the raids of the Afgans and the rebellion of its governor against Nadershah the latter sent troops to sedate the revolt, The city was beseiged for many months and eventually sacked. At the time of Nader shah's murder in 1747 most of the historical buildings o fthe city were damaged or ruined and its population dropped to 50000, a quarter of that of the sixteenth century. Shiraz soon returned to prosperity under the enlightene rule of Karim Khan Zand who made it the capital of his reign in 1762. Even though master of virtually all of Persia, Karim Khan refused to take the title of king and contented himself with that of regent (Vakil). Karim Khan was a benevolent and wise ruler and one of the greatest patrons of the arts in Iranian history. Employing more than 12000 workers he constructed a royal district with a fortess, many istrative buildings, a mosque and one of the finest covered bazaar in Iran. He had a most built around the city, constructed a clever irrigation and drainage system and rebuilt the city walls. However Karim Khan heirs failed to secure his gains, and when Aqa Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, eventually came to power, he wreaked his revenge on Shiraz by destroying the city fortification and moving the national capital to Tehran. Although lowered to the rank of provincial capital, Shiraz maintained a level of prosperity as a result of the continuing importance of the trade route to the Persian Gulf and its governorship was a royal prerogative throughout the Qajar era. many of the beautiful gardens, buildings and residences built during the nineteenth century, contribute to the actual outlook of the city.
Shiraz had a primary role during the Islamic Revolution and its splendid victory, After the revolution, both during the Holy Defence and in the construction era, Shiraz has always been on the forefront of the preservation and development of the holy values of the Revolution. In line with the great consideration that the Islamic Republic gives to historical monuments, the municipality of Shirazand the related cultural institutions have promoted and carried out many important restoration and reconstruction projects through the city. Among the most recent ones are the complete restoration of the Karim Khan fortress and of the Vakil Bath as well as a comprehensive plan for the preservation of the old city quarters. Other noteworthy initiatives of the municipality include the total renovation of the Qor'an Gate and the mansoleum of the poet Khoju Kermani both located in the Allahu Akbar gorge, as well as the grand project of expansion of the mausoleum of the world famous poet Hafez.