Tourism and tourist attractions in Mashhad
Mashhad is a city located in the northeast of Iran, the center and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province and the second largest populated city after Tehran. Mashhad was chosen as Iran's Capital during the reign of Nader Shah Afshar. The city features a temperate and variable climate. The two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed with high peaks are located in this area converting it to a semi-mountainous region. The city was officially elected as Iran's Spiritual Capital by Doctor Ahmadinejad and Parliament deputies in 2009.
Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (a.s)
The mausoleum of Ali ibn Musa Al Reza is situated in Mashhad. By the end of the 9th century a dome was built on his grave and his shrine was expanded. The first dome of Imam Reza’s shrine was built under the command of the Sultan Sanjar, a Seljuq king, and the efforts of his minister, Sharaf al-Din Ghomi. The dome was made of tiles. But clay tiles were collected by Shah Tahmasp Safavi and a gold-plated dome was built over it. In 1973, the gold-plated dome was renovated. Shrine of Imam Reza contains a total of seven courtyards (Sahn) which are as follows:
Sahn Inqilab - Revolution Courtyard
Sahn Azadi - Freedom Courtyard
Sahn Imam Khomeini
Sahn Gowharshad Mosque
Sahn Jumhuri Islami - Islamic Republic Courtyard
Sahn Jameh Razavi - The Razavi Grand Courtyard
The tomb of Ferdowsi is in Tus. The Tus area was built during the mythological period by an Iranian hero named Tus, and the great epic poet of Iran was also buried in the same area. The tomb was inaugurated during the Ferdowsi’s Millennium celebrations in 1934. Ferdowsi's tomb was designed by Houshang Seyhoun in 1969 and sculptures depicting some of Shahnameh’s stories were sculptured on its walls by the best stonemasons. This tomb was built and designed after the tomb of Cyrus.
Sheikh Bahai’s Tomb
Baha al-Din Mohammad ibn Hossein Ameli known as Sheikh Bahai was a renowned scholar in 10th&11th-century AH. He contributed numerous works in philosophy, logic, astronomy and mathematics. His works include over 88 articles, epistles and books. He also composed outstanding poems. He died in 1610 in Isfahan. According to his will, his body was buried in Mashhad near the Shrine of Imam Ali ibn Musa Al Reza and next to the Museum of Astan Quds Razavi.
Peer-e-Palandooz Tomb (the old pack saddler)
This tomb belongs to Mohammad Aref Abbasi (also known as Palandooz after his job because he made pack saddles to earn his living), a great Gnostic in 10th-century AH. It consists of a square building with an onion-shaped dome. There are remnants of paintings from the Safavid era inside the mausoleum and on the roof. This mausoleum was built in 985 AH.
The historical village of Kang
Kang is a village in Torqabeh Rural District, Mashhad County. The exterior view of the village is similar to Masuleh- the historical village located in Gilan Province. Roofs of the houses serve as pedestrian areas similar to streets. That’s why Kang village is referred to as the second Masuleh. The spectacular architecture of Kang as well as its temperate climate and green nature are the main reasons of popularity of this village among people of Mashhad and also pilgrims of the city. Kang means “a strong claw living in the mountains” in the local dialect and also means a strong fortress against others.
Harounieh is a cube-shaped building located in Tus. Due to its greatness, pillars' diameter and dome, the building has a specific architecture. It is also called "Haroun's Prison" by ordinary people. Recent investigations say that Harounieh dome is a mausoleum or Khanqah which was built and used in the 7th or 8th century (AH).
Kooh sangi is one of the oldest and most memorable sights of Mashhad that it is so called due to two rocky mountain overlooking the city. This place is ranked as the third most visited place by tourists after Imam Reza holy shrine and Ferdowsi’s tomb. The creation of an artificial lake and an island for birds has attracted a large number of tourists. This park has been recently developed and expanded. It is the largest recreation center in Mashhad after Mellat Park.
Torghabeh which is now considered as one of the cities in Mashhad has been an ancient rural district in Tus, which is located in the midst of a flourishing valley. The city has numerous tourist attractions and among Shandiz and Kang is known as one of the main tourism sites in Khorasan Province. Luxurious and elegant restaurants serving various foods invite everyone. Puneh garden has been recently established in Torghabeh which is very beautiful and eye catching.
The city of Shandiz is located in the northern slopes of the Binalood heights. The city features a temperate climate, vast gardens and spectacular natural landscapes and is considered as one of the major tourist attractions of Mashhad. Shandiz symbol is a 2700-year-old plantain tree. Cherry is the main orchard product of this city. The famous food of Shandiz is 6-pieces grilled lamb called Shishlik which is very delicious. The recreation centers of this resort are as follows: Forest Park, Golestan tourist complex, Padideh Shandiz restaurant complex, Abardeh ski resort, motorcycle resort, gardens and beautiful landscapes.
Gonbad-e Kheshti (Brick dome)
This dome houses the grave of Imam Zadeh Mohammad whose genealogy can be traced to Musa ibn Jafar (a.s). The building is decorated with two Quranic inscriptions of Malek and Vaghe’e verses. Dome architecture consists of entrance area, tetrahedral porch and throne area. The dome has been built under the order of Shah Abbas I during the Safavid era.
Gonbad-e Sabz (The Green Dome)
This building is the mausoleum of Sheikh Mohammad Momen Aref Astrabadi, who died in 90 H. Due to its turquoise color, the dome is known as the green dome as well. The current location of the dome has been a garden where the tomb has been built in the middle. According to the investigations, the land was owned by Sheikh Momen who had devoted it during his lifetime. Sheikh Momen was a great pious Shia scholar who wrote the book “Wasail al-Shia”.
Sheikh Tabarasi’s Tomb
In the northern part of the Revolution Courtyard (Sahn Inqilab) and in the east of Bagh-e-Rezvan of Imam Reza’s shrine, a tiled dome is situated. This tomb belongs to Fazl-ibne-Hasan Tabarasi, a great pious Shia scholar and the writer of the commentary Majma'-al-Bayan and Javameh-al-Jame. This historical building belongs to the early fifth century AH. This tomb is also known as Mafsal Al Reza. It has been mentioned in a narration that the ceremonial washing of the holiness Imam Reza (AS) has been taken place in this location after his martyrdom.
Vakil Abad Forest Park
Vakil Abad, one of the ancient recreation places in Mashhad, is located in Vakil Abad Blvd. This park consists of a great number of trees such as pine, cypress and plantain and is situated in the midst of a flourishing valley. Streams and pools originating from Vakil Abad aqueducts pass through this place. There is a zoo in this park where a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles are kept there.
Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum
This museum was constructed in the outer courtyard of Imam Reza’s shrine in 1945. The museum dates back to forty years. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic regime, the museum has been developed and expanded. Some of the known museums located separately in different buildings near each other are as follows:
- The Museum of Qur'an and Precious Objects
- The specialized Museum of Carpets
- The Museum of the History of Mashhad
- The Museum of Coins and Medals
- The Museum of Stamps and Banknotes
- The Museum of pottery and glassware
- The Museum of Armaments
- The Museum of Astronomical Tools and Clocks
- The Museum of Shellfishes and Mollusks
- The Museum of fine arts
Sun Palace (Qasr-e- Khorshid)
Sun palace was built under the order of Nader Shah Afshar for storage of the jewelry and trophies in the city of Kalat in 1151 AH. The building construction was continued during Nader Shah reign and even to the last years of his life in 1160 AH. The very beautiful Sols inscription of the Surah al-Naba of Quran which is written all around this monument also implies this date. The palace contains 12 rooms decorated with paintings and ornamental works such as plaster moldings. Among the decorations, pictures of the Kings, Princes and Princesses of Afshari Dynasty can be seen in dazzling colors.