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The City Of Poetry And Faith: Mashhad
Northeast Of The Capital Tehran, Mashhad Is A City That Holds In Its Bosom The Symbolic Figures Of Iranian Faith And Culture. A City Where The Words Of Firdausi’s ‘Shahnameh’ Are Whispered In The Streets.
Lying between the Binalood and Hezar-masjed mountain ranges, Mashhad is one of the world’s leading centers of faith tourism thanks to its many religious shrines, which attract millions of tourists every year. Prone to a flood of visitors from home and abroad especially during the cool summer months, the city more than meets the expectations of those who come to see it. The tombs that are a place of pilgrimage for visitors at all hours of the day are at the same time living masterpieces of Iranian architecture. And the libraries attached to them, which house extremely rare and valuable manuscripts dating to various periods in the country’s history, most notably that of the 18th century Safavid dynasty, constitute an enormous cultural treasure.
TOMB OF IMAM RIZA
The concept of the tomb is of overwhelming importance in Mashhad and in Iran in general. With the libraries, observatories and areas of worship annexed to them, these venues make a grand and majestic appearance. And when the mind-boggling aesthetics of Iranian architecture are added to that greatness, monuments of spellbinding awe are created. The mosque commissioned opposite the 11th century tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, founder of the medieval Ghaznavid dynastry, continues to exhibit all the splendor of its age. Equally magnificent, the Imam Riza Shrine at Mashhad ranks first among this city’s must-see sights. You will want to spend hours looking at the stunning specimens of the traditional Islamic arts of calligraphy and illumination in the visitor’s section.
CITY OF FIRDAUSI
Firdausi is without a doubt Iran’s most prominent poet, and his mausoleum at Tus 25 kilometers outside Mashhad has significance far beyond the bounds of Iran, for all mankind. Firdausi left a profound mark on Iranian literature through his 60,000-couplet verse epic, The Shahnameh, carving a niche for himself in the hearts of all Iranians.
PARKS AND GARDENS
Mashhad offers one of the richest examples of Iran’s traditional landscape gardening that you will ever lay eyes on. The garden at the city center with the museum and tomb of Nadir Shah, often referred to as ‘Iran’s Napoleon’, and the Kuh Sangi Gardens are good places to rest and take photos.
Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul to Mashhad on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and from Mashhad to Istanbul on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The Tomb of Hâce Rabi at Nishabur, city of Omar Khayyam and Farid ud-Din Attar some 115 kilometers away, are also among the sights to see here.
Mashhad is known for its carpets and saffron. There are many shops in the city where you can find a Mashhad carpet to fit your budget.