Mashhad is Iran’s holiest and second biggest city. Its raison and main sight is the beautiful, massive and ever-growing Haram (shrine complex) commemorating of Shia Islam’s eight Imam, Imam Reza.
At the beginning of the 9th century (3rd century AH) Mashhad was a small village called Sanabad situated 24 Km away from Tus. Several years later in 818 Imam Ali al- Reza was martyred by Al-Ma’mum and was buried the besides of Harun. After this event this place was called as Mashhad al-Reza (the place of martyrdom of Ali al-Reza). Every year millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza.
Mashhad is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian character like Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, the traditional Iranian singer and composer. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi the Iranian poet of Shahname, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. Ferdowsi buried in Tus, an ancient city that is considered to be main origin of the current city of Mashhad.
The Main Sites
In 1418, Shahrokh’s wife (Timurid dynasty) Goharshad founded the construction of an outstanding Mosque beside the shrine, which is known as Goharshad mosque.
A part from Imam Reza shrine there is a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nader Shah and Kooh Sangi Park. The Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex includes a zoo, where many wild animals are kept and attracts many visitors to Mashhad.
The tomb of Khajeh Morad, the tomb of Khajeh Rabi, located 6 kilometers north of the city where there are some inscriptions by the renowned Safavid calligrapher Reza Abbasi; and the tomb of Khajeh Abasalt, a distance of 20 kilometers from Mashhad along the road to Neishabur. (The three were all disciples of Imam reza).
Among the other sights are the tomb of the poet Ferdowsi in Tus, 24 kilometers distance, and the summer resorts at Torghabe, Torogh, Akhlamad, Zoshk, and Shandiz.
The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era. It is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period it was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.