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Experience Persian History and Culture

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Experience Persian Art and Architecture

"Land of mysterious diversity"

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About Iran

cities

Yazd “the city of honey & culture”

With its winding lanes, forest of badgirs, mud-brick old town and charismatic accommodation, Yazd is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, it doesn’t have the big-ticket sights of…
nature

Nature of Mazandaran

Mazandaran is one of the richest provinces of Iran as regards natural resources. The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake on which five countries are situated: Russia, the Republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and the Islamic Republic of…
Attractions

IRANIAN MEALS

STARTERS A standard Iranian meal starts with a basic, prefabricated green salad, radioactive-pink dressing and ash-e jo (soup of pearl barley). Some places include these in a total set-meal price but usually they are charged separately. MAINS Even in a…
Iran

Religion

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only Shiite Muslim regime in the world, distinguishing it from its Sunni neighbours. Ninety-nine percent of the population are Muslim, made up of around 89% Shiites and 10% Sunnis. There are other religions followed in…

Mashhad “the city of spirituality”



Mashhad is Iran’s holiest and second biggest city. Its raison d’être and main sight is the beautiful, massive and ever-growing Haram (shrine complex) commemorating the AD 817 martyrdom of Shia Islam’s eighth Imam, Imam Reza. The pain of Imam Reza’s death is still felt very person ally over a millennium later and around 20 million pilgrims converge here each year to pay their respects to the Imam. 

 

History


Following Imam Reza’s burial here, the small village of Sanabad began to attract Shiite pilgrims and soon became known as Mashhad (place of martyrdom). Tus remained a more significant town until 1389 when Timur sacked the whole area. But thereafter it was Mashhad that eventually limped back to life as the new capital of Khorasan. The shrine was enlarged in the early 15th century by Timur’s son, Shah Rokh, and his extraordinary wife, Gohar Shad, for whom the Haram’s main mosque is named. Once the Safavids had established Shiism as the state creed, Mashhad became Iran’s pre-eminent pilgrimage site and Shah Abbas I rebuilt the Holy Shrine’s new core around 1612. Politically, Mashhad reached its zenith under Nader Shah Abbas I rebuilt the Holy Shrine’s new core around 1612. Politically, Mashhad reached its zenith under Nader Shah whose empire was focused on Khorasan. Even though Nader was a Sunni of missionary zeal, he continued to sponsor the Haram. In 1928, nonreligious buildings within 180m of the Holy Shrine were flattened to make way for the Haram’s biggest enlargement to date. Prior to the 1979 revolution this religious ‘island’ was further expanded to 320m and construction has continued apace ever since. When historians look back on the era of the Islamic Republic, they will point to the Haram as its greatest architectural achievement.