Mashhad, the second most populous city in Iran and capital of the Khorasan Razaví province, is the most important pilgrimage destination in the country, welcoming more than 30 million Iranian and foreign visitors each year by hosting the tomb of Imam Reza, eighth imam of Shiism. The sound of Naqareh, a percussion instrument similar to timpani, thrills pilgrims and is played in a tower called Naqare Khaneh. Historically, Mashhad has stood out as a center of art and scholarship and is the birthplace of many great Iranian poets such as Ferdowsi. Nader Shah Afshar moved his capital to this city and led the reconquest of the Safavid territories, where it was the center of power until the conquest of Khorasan by Aqa Mohammad Jan Qajar.
Due to successive victories in wars, Nader Shah ordered the construction of the golden dome of the Imam Reza shrine. In the past, many Jews and Armenians used to live in this city and Jewish houses had high and strong walls, interconnected with each other. In 1941, the Armenians of Mashhad built the Church of Saint Mozart, as well as other monumental works such as: the tombs of Nader Shah, Attar, Ferdowsi and the dome of Harunieh. The making of carpets and handicrafts in Mashhad date back to 5 centuries ago. The oldest Mashad carpet belongs to the time of the Shah Tahmasb.
Ancient monuments of Mashhad
Imam Reza Shrine
It is the main pilgrimage site for Shiites in Mashhad, next to the Goharshad Mosque. This sanctuary, with an area of 75 hectares, is the largest mosque in the world and is the second largest in terms of capacity. The complex is made up of an ensemble of mosques, minarets, courtyards, museums, madrasas (Koranic schools), libraries and deeply decorated mausoleums. The oldest part of the sanctuary dates back to 1230 AD. C. and other parts were built later during the reign of various kings.
Most of the construction of the building was carried out during the time of the Shah Tahmasb Afshar and until now this shrine houses five mausoleums. The first, adorned with gold and wood, belongs to the time of the Shah Tahmasb, while the second was built by the order of Shahrokh Mirza, the grandson of Naser al Din Sah, decorated with pieces of ruby and emerald.
In 1822, Fath Ali Shah placed the third one with a height of two meters above the previous one. This mausoleum has inscriptions carved in gold and some verses from the Koran. Later, this mausoleum was transferred to the sanctuary museum. In 1959, the four was replaced by the third with a height of 4 meters, the one that weighs 7 tons with a few bunches of golden grapes attached and took three years to complete. The last walnut and steel mausoleum with a chapter of the Koran written in gold and silver weighs 12 tons. The golden dome that covers the imam’s tomb and the immense turquoise dome of the Goharshad Mosque stand out. The rest of the buildings and minarets form a harmonious ensemble.
This mosque was built in the 9th century AD. During the Timurí time by decree of the empress Goharshad, wife of Shahrokh Mirza, what caused the mosque to receive its name. The construction of the mosque took 12 years. This mosque with entrance and exit gates covers an area of 3000 square meters.
Astan Qods Razaví is made up of several museums: the Central Museum, inaugurated in 1945; the Koran Museum and the Stamp Museum, which is located below the Central Museum. In addition, there are other museums such as the Mashhad History Museum, which shows the development of the city by displaying old photos and was opened after the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979). Also, it is advisable to visit the Carpet Museum.
Museum of Coins and Medals
The museum consists of 308 historical and valuable pieces collected by different people from the 4th century to the Safavid era and the contemporary era. Among the coins are some donated by scientific figures and athletes such as the Olympic wrestling champion, Gholamreza Takhtí. Other valuable coins kept in this gallery are those of Imam Reza, the Prince and Alexander the Great.
Khaje Rabi Mausoleum
Situated in the middle of a beautiful garden, it was built in the 16th century by Shah Abbas I. The glazed tile decoration is especially perfect and contains inscriptions made by Ali Reza Abbasí, one of the most famous calligraphers in Persia.
Nader Shah Tomb
This tomb to commemorate Nader Shah, Persian Napoleon, was built in 1963. In addition to the tomb, there are two museums in this place; the Museum of Weapons where it houses military clothing, equestrian tools of the time and images of war, as well as a series of manuscripts of the book Tarikh-e Jahangoshay (History of the Conqueror of the World) and two precious swords, one of which was the gift of the Iranian nation for their king. Weapons from different periods of Persian history are kept in the other museum. This tomb with an area of 14,000 square meters is the second-largest tourist destination after the shrine of Imam Reza.
Tomb of Mohammad Taqi Pessian
Qajari soldier, who was the first Iranian trained with piloting lessons. His grave is to the north of Nader Sah’s. His ancestor was a resident of the Caucasus who later emigrated to the city of Tabriz after the Treaty of Turkemanchay and the separation of the Caucasus from Iran. Born into a family of military leaders, he studied foreign languages until he was 15 years old and then entered military school. After five years, he assumed the rank of second lieutenant in the gendarmerie, and two years later he was promoted to captain. Mohammad Taqi Khan flew 33 German aircraft flights in Iran and was very enthusiastic about training young Iranians. Returning to Iran, he became colonel and then the gendarme of Khorasan. When Qavam al-Saltaneh became prime minister, he took revenge on Mohmmad Taqi Khan, who had put himself in his place and was the cause of his imprisonment, expelling him for two years. Having been rejected by Mohammad Taqi Khan, he was assassinated by a group sent by Ahmad Qavam.
Mausoleum of Attar Nishapurí
Iranian poet and mystic, born in the city of Nishapur. He had a pharmacy and was killed in the Mongol invasion in 1240. The dome of the mausoleum, built centuries later during the Timurid dynasty, is covered with turquoise tiles and creates a magnificent image before our eyes. The site has 4 entries.
Torqabeh of Mashhad
At a distance of 18 kilometers from the city of Mashhad, there is a town with a mild and pleasant climate. On the Mashhad-Nishapur road, passengers can rest in Torqabeh.
One of the oldest shopping malls in Mashhad, located to the east of the Shrine. Bazar Reza is built on two separate floors and two aisles, and has many shops. The bazaar attracts many pilgrims due to its proximity to the sanctuary, where there is everything from carpets to saffron, jasmine and turquoise.
Hotel Ghasr Talaee
Known as the best and most luxurious hotel in Iran, due to its pleasant atmosphere and superior quality of services. The hotel has an area of more than 5,000 square meters built, composed of 2 main infrastructures. This 20-story hotel on Imam Reza Avenue boasts state-of-the-art equipment and deep Middle Eastern architectural structures. The property consists of 610 residential units, including suite, junior suite, master suite, grand suite, double and single rooms. All rooms are designed by Iranian architects. Room windows overlook the holy shrine of Imam Reza.
The Atrak Hotel is proud to be the first 4-star hotel in Mashhad, in 1357. During these years, the effort of the staff has been to satisfy the guests, where in 1394 with a new phase of luxury rooms it raised its standards. Hotel Atrak with a very suitable location, double and single rooms, special and standard suites, 24 hour reception, Wi-Fi on all floors, traditional restaurant, private parking, airport transportation and taxi service tries to create an unforgettable trip.