Mashhad, The Land of Light and Religion
The city is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid is also buried within the shrine.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.
Today, the holy shrine and its museum hold one of the most extensive cultural and artistic treasuries of Iran, in particular manuscript books and paintings.
Mashhad is Iran’s second largest automobile production hub. The city’s economy is based mainly on dry fruits, salted nuts, saffron, Iranian sweets like gaz and sohaan, precious stones like agates, turquoise, intricately designed silver jewelry studded with rubies and emeralds, eighteen carat gold jewelry, perfumes, religious souvenirs, trench coats, scarves, termeh, carpets and rugs.
With more than 55% of hotels in Iran, Mashhad is the hub of tourism in Iran
Mashhad active galleries include: Mirak Gallery, Parse Gallery, Rezvan Gallery, Soroush Gallery, and the Narvan Gallery.
Mashhad is proud on behalf of ISESCO was chosen as the capital of the Islamic culture in 2017 (December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2016).
Mashhad, from ancient times until now, has been city of educated and kind people, hosting pilgrims and tourists, scholars, and excelled in fostering the development of Islamic Sciences and Culture, numerous cultural events, artistic and educational, as well as a pioneer in the development of communication technology, worthy of a the title has also become a hub of cultural industries in the future, terminal of the Islamic tourism, health tourism destination as well as a global production center of Humanities.
Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, along the road to Tehran; the tomb of Khajeh Rabi’ located 6 kilometers north of the city where there are some inscriptions Among the other sights are the tomb of the poet Ferdowsi in Tus, 24 kilometers distance, and the summer resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh,Akhlamad, Zoshk, and Shandiz.
The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.
Mashhad is twinned with:
• Karachi, Pakistan (May 2012)
• Lahore, Pakistan (2006)
• Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2006)
• Ürümqi, China
• Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan
• Istanbul, Turkey
A small city outside Mashhad, that for its good weather and the services provided by the city hall, has turned into a tourist attraction. The city has always been a picnic destination, being near river and having good weather is enough to turn a place into a picnic area in Iran. the city hall that understood the potential of the city started advancing it by creating new attractions. Today the best restaurants are located here and people travel from Mashhad to enjoy the food, specially Dizi and Shashlik (a form of kebab). Parks, handicraft stores, zoo, horse riding tracks, stadium and aqua-park increase the number of tourists visiting this city.
Imam Reza Mausoleum
This magnificent construct that is well respected among Shias is the mausoleum of the eighth Imam, Ali, better known for his title Reza. Imam Reza as the next ruler of Islamic world was confined to the Khorasan and later killed by the ruler who was afraid of his popularity among people. After his death, he was buried next to another caliph, Haroun Al- Rashid. Later a mausoleum was built over the graves and pilgrims started to visit the place, in each era some changes were made to the place. That the most important ones are listed below:
• Qaznavid – Sabok-Takin who was against Shia destroyed it, Mahmud, his son, who needed acceptance of people, restored it.
• Seljuk – the first dome of the construct was made of tile, stalactite works adorned with mirrors were added, mostly by Sultan Sanjar.
• Mongol – fortunately the construct was not destroyed during Mongol attack, which is a miracle itself. But the valuable objects were all stolen. The remaining inscriptions from 13th century proves that the mausoleum wasn’t destroyed in the attack.
• Timurid – one of the two periods that many changes were made to the building. Shahrukh and his wife Guharshad, made many changes, first they added a congregational mosque to the complex, then new porticos and schools were built that improved the state of the complex drastically.
• Safavid – during Safavid era, Shia became the official religion of the country and therefore more attention was given to construct such as Imam Reza’s Mausoleum. Most of gildings that we see today dates back to Safavid era. Beside gilding the minarets and gilding the dome, new rooms, portals, iwans, and porticoes were added. The most well-known of the changes in this era is a magnificent dome named Allah Verdi Khan Dome.
Other changes were made from Safavid era onward that are mostly the restoration of damages.