A beautiful mausoleum and a memorial hall on the northern edge of Shiraz honor one of the most famous Persian poets Hafez. The open pavilion structures in the Musalla Gardens are on the northern bank of a seasonal river and house the marble tomb of Hafez. French architect and archaeologist André Godard designed and built the present buildings in 1935. The original memorial was built in 1773 during the reign of Karim Khan Zand. The tomb, its gardens, and the surrounding memorials to other great figures are a focus of tourism in Shiraz.
Hafez was born in Shiraz in 1315 and died there in 1390. He was an adored figure among Iranians and therefore held a position as the court poet. In his memory, a small, dome-like structure was erected in Shiraz near his grave at Golgast-e Mosalla in 1452. The Golgast-e Mosalla (now known as Musalla Gardens) were gardens that featured Hafiz’s poetry. With an area of over 19,000 square meters, the gardens were also home to one of Shiraz’s cemeteries. Abbas I of Persia and Nader Shah both carried out separate restoration projects in the following 300 years.
The 1773 memorial consisted of four central columns, with two rooms built at the east and west ends. It split the gardens into two parts, with the orange grove in the front and the cemetery in the back. The actual tomb was outside the structure, in the middle of the cemetery, with a marble slab over the grave. The marble featured excerpts from Hafez’s poetry.
The governor of Fars in 1857 carried out a restoration project. Another governor built a wooden enclosure around the tomb in 1878. But later the site became a subject of controversy. In 1899, Ardeshir, a Parsi from India, began building a shrine around Hafez’s grave. Parsi had obtained permission from a religious cleric in Shiraz. However, another influential clergyman, Ali-Akbar Fāl-Asiri, objected to a Zoroastrian building over the grave of a Muslim. Fāl-Asiri ultimately destroyed the half-built shrine with the help of his followers. The people of Shiraz protested the destruction and the government ordered the rebuilding of the monument. Fāl-Asiri opposed them once more threatening that he would destroy any building raised there, even if it were erected by the king himself.