One of my readers, Pardis, is a young woman from Shiraz. Recently, as we were corresponding back and forth, I reminisced about her home city of Shiraz. I had an uncle who had married a Shirazi girl and settled there to have many children. I had several bona fide Shirazi cousins, complete with that sweet Shirazi accent. For many years we would travel to Shiraz to visit with that side of the family for Nowrooz. We would go through what is called Darvazeh Qoran, or The Qoran Gate. According to an old Iranian tradition, the gate held a Qoran on top to keep those traveling under it safe on their trip. We had such wondrous times in Shiraz, walking the tidy backstreets, visiting the monuments, enjoying the public gardens, and everyday at mealtimes, picking Narenj off the trees in the backyard to enhance the food on the table. The best herb and fruit extracts (aragh), paloudeh, noghl, and even cream puffs (noon khamehi) I ever had in my life was in Shiraz, or was it that everything tasted good when we were children? People of Shiraz are so warm, so welcoming, and possess such unique sense of humor. Shiraz gave me such beautiful childhood memories. I continued to travel there with my family until Nowrooz of 1978 (1357), which was the last time I saw Shiraz. During the years I lived in Tehran, I could have gone back many times, I suppose. I didn't go, primarily because there were other places I had never seen which beckoned me, but also because some memories are better kept as you remember them, clean and crisp and innocent, magnificent. Shiraz has many monuments for which it is famous, the most important one of which is Persepolis. For me, however, Darvazeh Qoran is the most memorable monument in Shiraz. The reason is that every time we drove under it, my father would whole heartedly pray and wish all travelers a safe journey, each time teaching us something valuable about our traditions, culture, and beliefs. When I think of Shiraz, this is what I think about, and I miss it tonight. You can see all the pictures Ali Majdfar has lovingly taken of Iran here.