Shiraz is the fifth most populated city in Iran and the capital of Fars Province. It is located in the southwest of Iran, has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for more than a thousand years.The earliest reference to the city, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. Shiraz was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1781, as well as briefly during the Saffavid period.Shiraz is known as the city of poets, wine and flowers. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities.