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Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran; located in north Iran which is a holy city for Shiite Muslims hosting the Shrine of Imam Reza. For centuries it has been an important trade centre along the caravan routes and highways of the Middle East. It was damaged in a Mongol attack in 1220 and was sacked by Turkmen and Uzbeks in the 16th-17th centuries. Nader Shah made Mashhad his capital.Mashhad means the place of martyrdom.
Mashhad used to be a small village called Sanabad situated 24km away from Tus. In 808 when Harun ol-Rashid, Abbasi caliph, was marching against the insurrection of Rafi-ibn-Leith in Transoxiana, he became ill and died. He was buried under the palace of Hamid ibn Qahtabi. Several years later in 818 Imam Reza was martyred by Al-Ma'mun and was buried beside the grave of Harun after which the place was called as Mashhad al-Reza.
After Mongol raids in 1220 and destruction of many large cities in Greater Khorassan territories, Mashhad remained relatively intact, becoming a migration center. As one of the main cities of the Timurid dynasty, in 1418 Shahrokh's wife funded the construction of an outstanding mosque beside the shrine, which is known as Goharshad Mosque.
Shah Ismail I conquered Mashhad after the death of Hossein Bayghara and the decline of the Timurid dynasty. Mashhad was later captured by the Uzbeks until 1597 when Shah Abbas defeated them in several battles and drove them beyond the Oxus River.
Mashhad saw its greatest glory under Nader Shah who made the city his capital. Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar conquered the Khorassan in 1796. In 1912, the sanctuary of the Imam Reza was bombed and plundered by Russian forces.
(Wikipedia) - Mashhad, is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located 850 kilometres (530 mi) east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its population was 2,427,316 at the 2006 population census. Now Mashhad is notably known as the resting place of the Imam Reza. A shrine was later built there to commemorate the Imam, which in turn gave rise to increasing demographic development. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. Mashhad For other uses, see Mashhad (disambiguation). "Mashhadi" redirects here. For other uses, see Mashhadi (disambiguation). Mashhad مشهد Country Province County Bakhsh Mashhad-Sanabad-Toos  • Mayor (Ŝahrdār)  • City  • Metro  • City  • Population Rank in Iran Time zone  • Summer (DST) Website
Nickname(s): Mashhad
Motto: City of paradise (Shahre behesht)
MashhadLocation of Mashhad in Iran
Coordinates: 36°18′N 59°36′E / 36.3°N 59.6°E / 36.3; 59.6Coordinates: 36°18′N 59°36′E / 36.3°N 59.6°E / 36.3; 59.6
Razavi Khorasan
818 AD (Martyrdom Of Imam Reza)
Mohammad Pejman
458 km2 (177 sq mi)
3,946 km2 (1,524 sq mi)
Elevation 985 m (3,232 ft)
Population (2010)
3,069,941(Metropolitan) 2,772,287(City itself) (2,011 Census)
  Over 20 million pilgrims and tourists per year
IRST (UTC+03:30)
IRDT (UTC+04:30)

Mashhad (Persian: مشهد‎) is the second largest city in Iran.

It is located 850 kilometres (530 mi) east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its population was 2,427,316 at the 2006 population census. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

Mashhad is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian literary figures and artists such as Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, the famous contemporary poet and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, the traditional Iranian singer and composer. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. Ferdowsi and Akhavan Sales are both buried in Tus, an ancient city that is considered to be the main origin of the current city of Mashhad.

In Arabic, the name Mashhad means the place of martyrdom the place where Imam Reza - the eighth Imam of Shia Muslims - was martyred and so his shrine was placed there.

  • 1 Geography and demographics
  • 2 History
  • 3 Climate
  • 4 Religion
  • 5 Culture
  • 6 Main sites
  • 7 Gallery
    • 7.1 Pictures
  • 8 Transportation
    • 8.1 Airport
    • 8.2 Metro
    • 8.3 Rail
  • 9 Colleges and universities
  • 10 Major sport teams
  • 11 Mashhad as capital of Persia and Independent Khorasan
  • 12 Famous people from Mashhad and Tus
  • 13 Sister cities
  • 14 Consulates
    • 14.1 Active
    • 14.2 Former
  • 15 See also
  • 16 Footnotes
  • 17 References
  • 18 External links
Geography and demographics

The city is located at 36.20º North latitude and 59.35º East longitude, in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns. It is only about 250 km (160 mi) from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The city is the administrative centre of Mashhad County (or the shahrestan of Mashhad) as well as the somewhat smaller district (bakhsh) of Mashhad. The city itself, excluding parts of the surrounding bakhsh and shahrestan, is divided into 13 smaller administrative units, with a total population of almost 2,5 million.

The vast majority of the Mashhadi people are ethnic Persians who form over 95% of the city's population. Other ethnic groups include Kurdish and Turkmen people who have emigrated recently to the city from the North Khorasan province. The people of Mashhad who look like Asians are of Turkmen descent.

Among the non-Iranians, there are immigrant population of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The Afghan immigrants have several neighborhoods around the city. One of the districts inhabited by Afghan immigrants is Golshahr.

There are also over 20 million pilgrims who visit the city every year.


Part of a series on Shia Islam Twelvers

The Fourteen Infallibles

Muhammad · Fatimah · and The Twelve Imams: Ali · Hasan · Husayn al-Sajjad · al-Baqir · al-Sadiq al-Kadhim · ar-Ridha · al-Taqi al-Naqi · al-Askari · al-Mahdi


Fourteen Infallibles Occultation (Minor · Major) Akhbar · Usul · Ijtihad Taqleed · 'Aql · Irfan Mahdaviat


Monotheism Judgement Day · Justice Prophethood · Imamate


Prayer · Fasting · Pilgrimage Charity · Taxes · Jihad Command Justice · Forbid Evil Love the family of Muhammad Dissociate from their Enemies

Holy cities

Mecca · Medina Najaf · Karbala · Mashhad Samarra · Kadhimayn · Qom · Shiraz


Usuli · Akhbari · Shaykhi Nimatullahi · Safaviya Qizilbash · Alevism · Alawism Bektashi · Tabarie


Marja · Hawza  · Ayatollah · Allamah Hojatoleslam · Mujtahid List of marjas · List of Ayatollahs

Hadith collections

Peak of Eloquence · The Psalms of Islam · Book of Fundamentals · The Book in Scholar's Lieu · Civilization of Laws · The Certainty · Book of Sulaym ibn Qays · Oceans of Light · Wasael ush-Shia · Reality of Certainty · Keys of Paradise

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At the beginning of the 9th century (3rd century AH) Mashhad was a small village called Sanabad situated 24 km away from Tus. There was a summer palace of "Hamid ibn Qahtabi", the governor of Khorasan. In 808 when Harun al-Rashid, Abbasid caliph, was passing through there to settle down the insurrection of "Rafi ibn Leith" in Transoxania, he became ill and died. He was buried under the palace of Hamid ibn Qahtabi. Several years later in 818 Imam Ali al-Reza was martyred by Al-Ma'mun and was buried beside the grave of Harun.

After this event this place was called as Mashhad al-Rida (the place of martyrdom of Ali al-Rida). Shias started visiting there for pilgrimage of his grave. By the end of the 9th century a dome was built on the grave and many buildings and Bazaars sprang up around it. During more than a millennium it has been devastated and reconstructed several times.

It was not considered a great city until Mongol raids in 1220 which caused the destruction of many large cities in the Greater Khorasan territories, leaving Mashhad relatively intact. Thus the survivors of the massacres migrated to Mashhad. When the famous world traveller Ibn Battuta visited the town in 1333, he reported that it was a large town with abundant fruit trees, streams and mills. A great dome of elegant construction surmounts the noble mausoleum, the walls being decorated with colored tiles.

Later on, during the Shahrokh era, it became one of the main cities of the Timurid dynasty. In 1418 his wife Goharshad funded the construction of an outstanding mosque beside the shrine, which is known as Goharshad Mosque. The mosque remains relatively intact to this date, its great size an indicator to the status the city held in the 15th century.

Shah Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty, conquered Mashhad after the death of Husayn Bayqarah and the decline of the Timurid dynasty. Mashhad was later captured by the Uzbeks during the reign of Shah Abbas I, only to be retaken by the Shah Abbas in the year of 1597 after a long and severe struggle, defeating the Uzbeks in a great battle near Herat as well as managing to drive them beyond the Oxus River.

Shah Abbas I wanted to encourage Iranians to go to Mashhad for pilgrimage, he himself is known to have walked from Isfahan to Mashhad. During the Safavid era Mashhad gained even more religious recognition, becoming the most important city of the Greater Khorasan as several Madrasah and other structures were built beside the shrine of the Imam Reza.

Besides its religious significance, Mashhad has played an important political role as well. It saw its greatest glory under Nadir Shah, ruler of Iran from 1736 to 1747 and also a great benefactor of the shrine of the Imam Reza, making the city his capital. Mashhad was ruled by Shahrukh Afshar and remained the capital of the Afsharid dynasty during Zand dynasty until Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar conquered the then larger region of Khorasan in 1796.

In 1912, the sanctuary of the Imam Reza was bombed by the Russian forces, causing widespread and persisting resentment in the Shiite Muslim world.

1935 Imam Reza shrine rebellion Main article: Imam Reza shrine rebellion

In 1935 a backlash against the modernizing, anti-religious policies of Reza Shah erupted in the Mashed shrine. Responding to a cleric who denounced the Shah's heretical innovations, corruption and heavy consumer taxes, many bazaaris and villagers took refuge in the shrine, chanted slogans such as "The Shah is a new Yezid." For four full days local police and army refused to violate the shrine and the standoff was ended when troops from Azerbaijan arrived and broke into the shrine, killing dozens and injuring hundreds, and marking a final rupture between Shi'ite clergy and the Shah.

1994 Imam Reza shrine bombing

On June 20, 1994, an explosion from a bomb occurred in a prayer hall of the shrine of the Imam Reza The bomb that killed at least 25 people on June 20 in Mashhad exploded at Ashura. Ramzi Yousef, one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was found to be behind the plot. However, official state media blamed Mehdi Nahvi, a supposed member of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MKO) in order to prevent sectarian violence.


Mashhad features a steppe climate (Köppen BSk) with hot summers and cool winters. The city only sees about 250 mm of precipitation per year, some of which occasionally falls in the form of snow. Mashhad also has wetter and drier periods with the bulk of the annual precipitation falling between the months of December and May. Summers are typically hot and dry, with high temperatures sometimes exceeding 35 °C (95 °F). Winters are typically cool to cold and somewhat damper, with overnight lows routinely dropping below freezing. Mashhad enjoys on average just under 2900 hours of sunshine per year.

Climate data for Mashhad Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) Average high °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Record low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches) Mean monthly sunshine hours
24 (75) 26 (79) 32 (90) 35.4 (95.7) 39.2 (102.6) 41.6 (106.9) 43.8 (110.8) 42.4 (108.3) 42 (108) 35.8 (96.4) 29.4 (84.9) 28.2 (82.8) 43.8 (110.8)
7.2 (45.0) 9.2 (48.6) 13.9 (57.0) 20.8 (69.4) 26.6 (79.9) 32.2 (90.0) 34.4 (93.9) 33 (91) 28.9 (84.0) 22.3 (72.1) 15.4 (59.7) 9.7 (49.5) 21.1 (70.0)
−3.8 (25.2) −2.1 (28.2) 2.6 (36.7) 8.2 (46.8) 12.2 (54.0) 16.2 (61.2) 18.5 (65.3) 16.2 (61.2) 11.5 (52.7) 6.1 (43.0) 1.7 (35.1) −1.9 (28.6) 7.1 (44.8)
−27 (−17) −28 (−18) −13 (9) −7 (19) −1 (30) 4 (39) 10 (50) 5 (41) −1 (30) −8 (18) −16 (3) −25 (−13) −28 (−18)
33 (1.3) 35.2 (1.386) 55.6 (2.189) 46.3 (1.823) 27.6 (1.087) 4.2 (0.165) 1.1 (0.043) 0.8 (0.031) 1.7 (0.067) 8.6 (0.339) 15.4 (0.606) 24.7 (0.972) 254.2 (10.008)
149.1 147.3 161.2 198.6 279.2 341.7 366.1 358.7 304.5 247.4 187.5 151.1 2,892.4
Religion See also: Imam Reza shrineShrine of Imam Reza.Imam Reza's shrine at the heart of Mashhad

Today the holy shrine and its museum holds one of the most extensive cultural and artistic treasuries of Iran, in particular manuscript books and paintings. Several important theological schools are associated with the shrine of the Eighth Imam.

The second largest holy city in the world, Mashhad attracts more than 20 million tourists and pilgrims every year, many of whom come to pay homage to the Imam Reza shrine (the eighth Shi'ite Imam). It has been a magnet for travellers since medieval times. Thus, even as those who complete the pilgrimage to Mecca receive the title of Haji, those who make the pilgrimage to Mashhad—and especially to the Imam Reza shrine – are known as Mashtee, a term employed also of its inhabitants. It is thought that over 20 million Muslims a year make the pilgrimage to Mashhad.

CultureRelief in Tous depicting popular stories of Persian mythology, from the book of Shahnameh of Ferdowsi.

Long a center of secular and religious learning, Mashhad has been a center for the arts and for the sciences. The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, named after the great Iranian poet, is located here. The Madrassa of Ayatollah Al-Khoei, originally built in the seventeenth century and recently replaced with modern facilities, is the city's foremost traditional centre for religious learning. The Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, founded in 1984, stands at the centre of town, within the shrine complex. The prestige of traditional religious education at Mashhad attracts students, known as Talabeh, or "Mollah" internationally.

Mashhad is also home to one of the oldest libraries of the Middle-East called the Central Library of Astan-e Quds Razavi with a history of over six centuries. The Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum, which is part of the Astan-e Quds Razavi Complex, is home to over 70,000 rare manuscripts from various historical eras. There are some six million historical documents in the foundation's central library.

In 1569 (977 H), 'Imad al-Din Mas'ud Shirazi, a physician at the Mashhad hospital, wrote the earliest Islamic treatise on syphilis, one influenced by European medical thought. Kashmar rug is a type of Persian rug indigenous to this region.

Main sitesTous Museum

Apart from Imam Reza shrine there is a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nadir Shah and Kooh Sangi park and Mellat Park that have modern attractions for children such as the tallest Ferris wheel or fanfar (چرخ و فلک) in Iran and Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex that includes a zoo, where many wild animals are kept and which attracts many visitors to Mashhad. It is also home to the Mashhad Airbase (formerly Imam Reza airbase), jointly a military installation housing Mirage aircraft, and a civilian international airport.

Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, along the road to Tehran; 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 Torghabeh, Torogh, Akhlamad, Zoshk, and Shandiz.

The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.

Gallery Pictures TransportationMashhad Urban Railway (Line 1) Airport

Mashhad is served by the Mashhad International Airport which handles domestic flights to Iranian cities and international flights, mostly to neighboring, Arab countries.The airport is the country's second busiest only to Tehran Mehrabad Airport and above the famous Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Metro Main article: Mashhad Light Rail

The Mashhad Urban Railway Corporation (MURCO) is constructing a metro system for the city of Mashhad which includes four lines with 77 km length . The first phase (line) of the metro has been exploited in 21 Feb 2011 with 19 km length and 22 stations and will be connected to Mashhad International Airport. The second line with 14 km length and 12 stations is under construction and is projected to be finished by 2014.


Mashhad is connected to three major rail lines: Tehran-Mashhad, Mashhad-Bafgh (running south), and Mashhad-Sarakhs at the border with Turkmenistan. Some freight trains continue from Sarakhs towards Uzbekistan and to Kazakhstan, but have to change bogies because of the difference in Rail gauge. A rail line is being constructed off the Mashhad-Bafgh line to connect Mashhad to Herat in Afghanistan, but has not yet been completed and one is planned to connect to the Gorgan railhead and the port of Bandar Torkaman on the Caspian Sea to the west. Passenger rail services are provided by Raja Passenger Trains Company and all trains are operated by R.A.I., Rah-Ahan (Railway) of Iran, the national railway company.

Colleges and universities



Major sport teams Club League Sport Venue Established Championships FC Aboomoslem Payam Mashhad F.C. Siah Jamegan Khorasan F.C. Elmo Adab Mashhad FSC Rahahan Khorasan W.C. Ferdowsi Club Mojhaye Abi Persepolis Khorasan Basketball Khorasan Razavi
Azadegan League Soccer Samen Stadium and Takhti Stadium (Mashhad) 1970 0
2nd Division Soccer Takhti Stadium (Mashhad) 1976 0
2nd Division Soccer Samen Stadium and Takhti Stadium (Mashhad) 2011 0
Iranian Futsal Super League Futsal
Iranian Premier Wrestling League Freestyle wrestling Mohammad Ali Sahraei Hall
Beach soccer
Swimming Takhti Stadium (Mashhad)
Iranian Volleyball Super League Volleyball Shahid Beheshti Sport Complex
Iranian Basketball Super League Basketball Mehran Hall
Mashhad as capital of Persia and Independent Khorasan

The following Shahanshahs had Mashhad as their capital:

Kianid Dynasty

Afsharid dynasty

Safavid Dynasty

Autonomous Government of Khorasan

Famous people from Mashhad and Tus See also: Category:People from MashhadReligious and political figuresWriters and scientistsArtistsScientistsSports figuresOthers Sister cities Consulates Active Former

See All 14 items matching Mashhad in Media Gallery

Mashhad: A young Iranian artist works on a Painting on a wall from Shahnameh of world-famous Ferdowsi. However, pan-Arab Aniranian zealots ordered destruction of more than 2000 meter square of artwork depicting Talebanism towards Iranian national heritage
The Statue of Ferdowsi, the great Iranian poet in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, third university in Iran. Ferdowsi's materpiece, Shahnameh is an Epic of Kiani Kings since Kiomars (Giomarta in Avesta), first human to be created by Ahouramazda.
Mashhad holy Imam Reza's Shrine and a view of the City during 1970s before major developments took place. Imam Reza's shrine is a major Shiite pilgrimage site of great historical and religious value.
The Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad is a luxurious Mausoleum with its Golden Dome and minaret. Imam Reza was the seventh descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the eighth of the Twelve Imams. His given name was Ali-ebne-Musa-bne-Jafar.
Goharshad Mosque built in 1418 by Shahrokh Teimuri's wife in Mashhad
A statue of Nader Shah stands on the entrance of his tomb in Mashhad

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