Mashhad Almost everything about Mashhad relates to its role as the holiest city in Iran, even its name (literally:burial place of the martyr). As the capital of Iran'sKhorasan province, Mashhad's year-round cool temperatures and fascinating insights into the Shi'ite heartland have much to offer visitors
Mashhad started life out as Sanabad, a village pitstop for trade caravans headed towards Turkmenistan. But in the ninth century, the eighth Shi'ite Imam Ali Bin Moosa Al Reza, the great grand son of Imam Ali who was the cousin & son in law of Prophet Mohammad was poisoned by the jealous caliph of the time. Imam Reza was buried in Mashhad, and his shrine became one of the holiest sites to the shi'ite muslims after the Holy Kaaba in Saudi Arabia and Karbala in Iraq.
Over the next thousand years, the shrine complex was levelled, ransacked and rebuilt a number of times depending on the ruling army of the day. Today the Shrine is the most important place in the city and in the whole of Iran
Dress code for women is strict, as it is in any part of Iran, however a self encompassing chador is not a must for any lady in public place in city. For women, a simple headscarf or roo-sari, with a trenchcoat and pants are fine. Men are also not allowed to wear shorts. These rules are the same for any and all cities and villages in Iran; it is national law. Photography inside the holy Shrine is not permissible as all visitors will be frisked at the various gates leading to the Shrine. There are separate entry gates for ladies and gents
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 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.
Imam Reza Shrine Complex is also a mausoleum to the eighth Imam of Shia Islam. Complex includes a library and Ghoharshad mosque. It is the largest mosque in the world by dimension and the second largest in capacity. Need to leave bags and cameras on the kept luggage outside, only photos-videos with mobile phone are allowed inside the complex. If you enter through the main gate you will be assigned with an English speaking guide who will take you around for free and tell you some interesting information, end up in one of the offices in which you will be offered religious books and some postcard souvenirs of the shrine, all free. If you dress modest and try to enter through the side gates, you might manage to pass and then you will be free to enter the center of the shrine which is normally not allowed to non-Muslims, just be careful as they close the gates when its time for praying. There is no entrance free. [Sep 2012]
Nader Shah Park & Mausoleum Monument to the founder of Afshar
dynasty (1736 - 1747)
Ferdowsi Park & Mausoleum
Gombade Sabz Mausoleum
Torghabe, Sightseeing, village restaurants