Mashhad (Iran)

According to RELATIONSHIPSPLUS, Mashhad is located in the northeast of Iran, 900 km from Tehran. It is located at an altitude of 980 m on a plateau between two mountain ranges – Binalud and Hezar Masjed. Mashhad is the administrative center of the province of Khorasan-Rezavi, the second largest city in the country and the most important religious center of the Shiites. Mashhad can be reached by train from Tehran.

In 818, the eighth Shia imam, Imam Reza, died in the village of Sanabad. The Imam was poisoned by the son of the famous caliph Harun al-Rashi. Later, this place was called Mashhad Al-Riza, which translates as “the place of the martyrdom of Reza.” Gradually, a settlement began to grow around the tomb of Imam Reza, which today is known as the city of Mashhad.. The tomb of Imam Reza did not immediately become a major Shia pilgrimage site. Only during the reign of the Safavids, when Shiism became the state religion, the shrine of Mashhad acquired its significance. Millions of tourists and pilgrims annually arrive in Mashhad, and in June, when the day of the death of Imam Reza is celebrated, the city is completely overwhelmed with pilgrims.

Burial complex of Imam Reza located in the center of the city. He is truly impressive. In the center of the vast square is a mosque with the tomb of Imam Reza, and around it are many buildings: the tombs of other revered imams, a museum, a library, schools of theology, a cemetery, the early 15th century Govarshad Mosque and a rest house for pilgrims. The construction of the complex began at the end of the 9th century. However, in 993 it was destroyed. In 1009, its restoration began. Over the following centuries, the complex was rebuilt several times. Opposite the tomb of Imam Reza is the grave of Caliph Harun al-Rashi, whose son, according to legend, poisoned Imam Reza. The caliph was buried here back in 808, however, for the “misconduct” of his son, the remains of the caliph were taken out of Mashhad. The Govarshad Mosque, located in the southern part of the burial complex, was built by order of the wife of Tamerlane’s eldest son, Queen Govanshard, between 1405 and 1418. The area of the mosque is 9419 sq. m. It has a turquoise dome and 2 minarets 40 m high each. The interior walls of the mosque are decorated with paintings.

In addition to the main Shiite shrine in Mashhad, it is worth visiting the mausoleum of Nadir Shah. It was erected in 1959 on the burial site of one of the most famous shahs of the Safavid dynasty. Under Nadir Shah, Mashhad became the capital of the state and the stronghold of his campaigns against India.. The mausoleum is built from large concrete blocks. Here you can see a group of bronze statues depicting warriors attacking under the leadership of Nadir Shah. Near the mausoleum there is a small museum and a library.

Equally interesting are the bazaars of Mashhad. The largest of them is the two-storey Bazaar-e Reza. It has a length of 800 m and a width of 30 m. The bazaar is equipped with escalators that take visitors to the 2nd floor. Other popular bazaars are Sara-e Bazaar-e Reza and Kuwaiti Bazaar. There are also many modern shopping centers in the city.

There are several parks in Mashhad where you can have a great rest. These are the parks Kuh Sangi, Mellat with the largest Ferris wheel in the country and Kuhustan Park-e-Shadi with a zoo. The ancient city of TusĀ is located 20 km northwest of Mashhad. The tomb of the great Persian poet of the 10th-11th centuries, Adulqasim Firdousi, has been preserved here. The construction of the mausoleum began in 1928 and ended in 1934. In 1964, sculptures were installed inside the mausoleum depicting scenes from the famous epic poem by Ferdowsi – “Shahnameh”. In 1982, the Ferdowsi Museum was opened not far from here. Southwest of Mashhad is another ancient city of Nishapur, which is often called the “city of tombs”, because numerous graves of prominent personalities are located here. The city was founded by the Sassanid king Shapur I in the 3rd century AD. Nishapur is known as the birthplace of the 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam. Here is also his mausoleum. In addition, the 12th century poet Attar Faridaddin and the artist Kamal ol Molk are buried in Nishapur, and in the vicinity of the city are the disciples of Imam Reza: Kaje Morada, Kaje Rabi and Kaje Abasalt.

Mashhad (Iran)