Mashhad (Persian: مشهد ; About this sound listen (help·info)) is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Its population is 3,131,586 . It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
The city is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian literary figures and artists
. 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.
The name Mashhad comes from Arabic, meaning the place of martyrdom the place where Ali ar-Ridha (Persian, Imam Reza), the eighth Imam of Shia Muslims, was martyred and so his shrine was placed there.
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 Humayd ibn Qahtaba, the governor of Khurasan. In 808, when Harun al-Rashid, Abbasid caliph, was passing through there to settle down the insurrection of Rafi ibn al-Layth in Transoxania, he became ill and died. He was buried under the palace of Humayd ibn Qahtaba. Several years later in 818 Ali al-Ridha was martyred by al-Ma’mun and was buried beside the grave of Harun.
After this event, the city was called Mashhad al-Ridha (the place of martyrdom of al-Ridha). 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 Khurasan, leaving Mashhad relatively intact. Thus the survivors of the massacres migrated to Mashhad. When the 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 reign of the Timurid Shahrukh Mirza, Mashhad became one of the main cities of the realm. In 1418, his wife Goharshad funded the construction of an outstanding mosque beside the shrine, which is known as the 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 1597 after a long and hard 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 is said to have walked from Isfahan to Mashhad. During the Safavid era, Mashhad gained even more religious recognition, becoming the most important city of Greater Khorasan, as several madrasah and other structures were built besides the Imam Reza shrine.
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 Imam Reza, who made 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 Imam Reza was bombed by the Russian artillery fire, causing some damage, including to the golden dome, resulting in a widespread and persisting resentment in the Shiite Muslim world.
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 center 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 more than 3 million.
The vast majority of 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 or Hazara 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.
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.
|[hide]Climate data for Mashhad (1961–۱۹۹۰, extremes 1951–۲۰۱۰)|
|Record high °C (°F)||۲۴٫۰
|Average high °C (°F)||۶٫۷
|Daily mean °C (°F)||۰٫۰
|Average low °C (°F)||−۵٫۱
|Record low °C (°F)||−۲۷٫۰
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||۳۳٫۱
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ ۱٫۰ mm)||۵٫۸||۶٫۳||۸٫۳||۷٫۶||۴٫۴||۰٫۸||۰٫۳||۰٫۲||۰٫۵||۲٫۰||۲٫۷||۴٫۵||۴۳٫۴|
|Avg. snowy days||۶٫۰||۶٫۲||۴٫۳||۰٫۳||۰٫۰||۰٫۰||۰٫۰||۰٫۰||۰٫۰||۰٫۲||۱٫۲||۳٫۸||۲۲٫۰|
|Avg. relative humidity (%)||۷۵||۷۴||۷۰||۶۲||۵۰||۳۷||۳۴||۳۴||۳۹||۵۳||۶۴||۷۲||۵۵|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||۱۴۹٫۸||۱۴۶٫۶||۱۶۰٫۳||۱۹۴٫۶||۲۸۰٫۷||۳۴۳٫۵||۳۶۱٫۳||۳۵۷٫۷||۳۰۳٫۲||۲۴۲٫۳||۱۹۰٫۶||۱۵۳٫۷||۲,۸۸۴٫۳|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: Iran Meteorological Organization (records)|
See also: Imam Reza shrine
Today, the holy shrine and its museum hold 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.
Mashhad is Iran’s second largest automobile production hub.The city’s economy is based mainly on dry fruits, salted nuts, saffron, Iranian sweets like gaz and sohaan, precious stones like agates, turquoise, intricately designed silver jewelry studded with rubies and emeralds, eighteen carat gold jewelry, perfumes, religious souvenirs, trench coats, scarves, termeh, carpets and rugs.
Among the major industries in the city, there is nutrition industries, clothing, leather, textiles, chemicals, steel and non-metallic mineral industries, construction materials factories, handicraft industry and metal industries.
With more than 55% of hotels in Iran, Mashhad is the hub of tourism in Iran
In the geography of tourism, religious places known as the most powerful hub to attract travelers around the world, every year 20 to 30 million pilgrims from Iran and more than 2 million pilgrims and tourists from around the world come to Mashhad.
Mashhad is one of the main producers of leather products in the region.
The city’s International Exhibition Center is the second most active exhibition center after Tehran, which due to proximity to Central Asian countries hosts dozens of international exhibitions each year.
Companies such as Smart-innovators in Mashhad are pioneers in electrical and computer technology.
The language mainly spoken in Mashhad is Persian Mashhadi accent. Some Arabic is also spoken by shop owners and taxi drivers as there is a heavy influx of Iraqi tourists in the city.
Relief in Tous depicting popular stories of Persian mythology, from the book of Shahnameh of Ferdowsi.
Tomb of Ferdowsi in Tous.
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, internationally.
Mashhad is also home to one of the oldest libraries of the Middle-East called the F 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.
Mashhad active galleries include: Mirak Gallery, Parse Gallery, Rezvan Gallery, Soroush Gallery, and the Narvan Gallery.
Apart from Imam Reza shrine, there are a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nadir Shah and Kooh Sangi park. The Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex 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,[disambiguation needed] 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.
Mashhad is served by the Mashhad International Airport, which handles domestic flights to Iranian cities and international flights, mostly to neighbouring Arab countries.The airport is the country’s second busiest after Tehran Mehrabad Airport and above the famous Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
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
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM)
Mashhad University of Medical Sciences
Islamic Azad University of Mashhad
Mashhad Technical Institute (Shahid Mohammad Montazeri)
Payame Noor University of Mashhad
Khorasan Institute of Higher Education
Sadjad university of technology
Khayyam Higher Education Inistitute (KHEI)
Imam Reza International University
Razavi University of Islamic Sciences
Sport Sciences Research Institute of Iran
Salman Institute of Higher Education
Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research, Mashhad Branch (Jahad Daneshgahi of Mashhad)
Khavaran Institute of Higher Education
Toos Institute of Higher Education
Shahid Beheshti Teacher Training College
Shahid Khorshidi Teacher training College
Asrar Institute of Higher Education
Samen Institute of Higher Education
Khayyam Institute of Higher Education
Alzahra Girls Technical College of Mashhad
Bahar Institute of Higher Education
Binalood Institute of Higher Education
Eqbal Lahoori Institute of Higher Education
Institute of Applied and Practical Sciences, Khorasan Razavi
Shandiz Institute of Higher Education
Major sport teams
|Padideh F.C.||Football||Samen Stadium and Takhti Stadium (Mashhad)|
|Siah Jamegan Khorasan F.C.||Football||Samen Stadium and Takhti Stadium (Mashhad)|
|Mizan Khorasan VC||Volleyball||Shahid Beheshti Sport Complex|
|Farsh Ara Mashhad FSC||Futsal||Shahid Beheshti Sport Complex|
|Ferdosi Mashhad FSC||Futsal||Shahid Beheshti Sport Complex|
|Rahahan Khorasan W.C.||Freestyle wrestling||Mohammad Ali Sahraei Hall|
Mashhad as capital of Persia and Independent Khorasan
The following Shahanshahs had Mashhad as their capital:
- Kianid Dynasty
- Malek Mahmoud Sistani 1722–۱۷۲۶
- Afsharid dynasty
- Nadir Shah
- Adil Shah
- Ebrahim Afshar
- Shah Rukh of Persia
- Nadir Mirza of Khorasan
- Safavid Dynasty
- Soleyman II
- Autonomous Government of Khorasan
- Colonel Mohammad Taghi Khan Pessyan
- Famous people from Mashhad and Tus
See also: Category:People from Mashhad
- Religious and political figures
- Seyyed Ali Khamenei, born 17 July 1939; former president and current supreme leader of Iran
Shaykh Tusi, 385–۴۶۰ A.H.; prominent Persian scholar of the Shi’a Twelver Islamic belief
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, born February 1201 in Tūs, Khorasan – ۲۶ June 1274 in al-Kāżimiyyah near Baghdad; Persian of the Ismaili and subsequently Twelver Shī‘ah Islamic belief
Seyyed Ali Khamenei, born 17 July 1939; former president and current supreme leader of Iran
Sheikh Ali Tehrani, brother-in-law of Seyyed Ali Khamenei, currently living in Iran. He is one of the oppositions of current Iranian government.
Nizam al-Mulk, 1018 – ۱۴ October 1092; celebrated Persian scholar and vizier of the Seljuq Empire
Al-Hurr al-Aamili, Shia scholar and muhaddith
Al-Ghazali, 1058–۱۱۱۱; Islamic theologian, jurist, philosopher, cosmologist, psychologist and mystic of Persian origin
Timur Shah Durrani, Emir of Afghanistan 1772-1793
Ali al-Sistani, born approximately August 4, 1930; Twelver Shi’a marja residing in Iraq since 1951
Hossein Vahid Khorasani, born in 1924; Iranian Twelver Shi’a Marja
Abu Muslim Khorasani, c. 700–۷۵۵; Abu Muslim Abd al-Rahman ibn Muslim al-Khorasani, Abbasid general of Persian origin
Shahrukh (Timurid dynasty), August 20, 1377 – March 12, 1447; ruler of the eastern portion of the empire established by the Central Asian warlord Timur (Tamerlane)
Goharshad, Persian noble and wife of Shāh Rukh, the emperor of the Timurid Dynasty of Herāt
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, born August 23, 1961 in Torghabeh, near Mashhad; the current Mayor of Tehran, Iran
Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, Conservative political strategist and popular television personality in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Saeed Jalili, born 1965 in Mashhad; Iranian politician and the present secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council
- Writers and scientists
- Abu-Mansur Daqiqi, 935/942–۹۷۶/۹۸۰
Abolfazl Beyhaqi, 995–۱۰۷۷; a Persian historian and author
Abusa’id Abolkhayr, December 7, 967 – January 12, 1049 / Muharram ul Haram 1, 357 – Sha’aban 4, 440 AH; famous Persian Sufi who contributed extensively to the evolution of Sufi tradition
Anvari, 1126–۱۱۸۹, one of the greatest Persian poets
Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, 1928, Mashhad, Iran – ۱۹۹۰, Tehran, Iran; a Persian poet
Mohammad-Taghi Bahar, November 6, 1884, Mashhad, Iran – April 22, 1951; Tehran, Iran
Asadi Tusi, born in Tus, Iranian province of Khorasan, died 1072 Tabriz, Iran; Persian poet of Iranian national epics
Abū Ja’far al-Khāzin, 900–۹۷۱; Persian astronomer and mathematician from Khorasan
Abū al-Wafā’ Būzjānī, ۱۰ June 940 – ۱ July 998; Persian mathematician and astronomer
Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, ۱۱۳۵–۱۲۱۳; Persian mathematician and astronomer of the Islamic Golden Age (during the Middle Ages)
Jābir ibn Hayyān, c. 721 in Tus – c. 815 in Kufa; prominent polymath: a chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer, geologist, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician
Reza Kianian, born July 17, 1951 in Mashhad, Iran, Iranian actor
Ovanes Ohanian, ?–۱۹۶۱ Tehran; Armenian-Iranian filmmaker who established the first film school in Iran
Homayoun Shajarian, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian’s son, born May 21, 1975; renowned Persian classical music vocalist, as well as a Tombak and Kamancheh player
Hamid Motebassem, born 1958 in Mashhad, Iranian musician and tar and setar player
Noureddin Zarrinkelk, born 1937 in Mashhad, Iran; renowned Iranian animator, concept artist, editor, graphic designer, illustrator, layout artist, photographer, script writer and sculptor
Dariush Arjmand, Iranian actor Reza Attaran, born 31 March 1968 in Mashhad; Iranian actor and director
Hamed Behdad, born 17 November 1973 in Mashhad, Iran; Iranian actor
Marshall Manesh, born 16 August 1950 in Mashhad; Iranian-American actor
Navid Negahban, born 2 June 1968 in Mashhad; Iranian-American actor
Mahdi Bemani Naeini, born November 3, 1968; Iranian film director, cinematographer, TV cameraman and photographer
Rafi Pitts, born 1967 in Mashhad, Iran; internationally acclaimed Iranian film director
Javad Jalali, born 30 May 1977 in Mashhad, Iranian Photographer and Cinematographer
Iran Darroudi, born September 2, 1936 in Mashhad; Iranian artist
Mohsen Namjoo, born 1976 in Torbat-e-Jaam; Iranian singer-songwriter, author, musician, and setar player
Mitra Hajjar, born February 4, 1977; Iranian actress
- Abū al-Wafā’ al-Būzjānī, ۱۰ June 940 – ۱ July 998; Persian mathematician and astronomer
Anousheh Ansari, born 12 September 1966; the Iranian-American co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, Inc and a spaceflight participant with the Russian space program
- Heshmat Mohajerani, born January, 1936 in Mashhad, Iran; Iranian football coach, manager, and former player
Khodadad Azizi, born June 22, 1971 in Mashhad, Iran; retired professional football striker
Alireza Vahedi Nikbakht, born June 30, 1980 in Mashhad; Iranian professional football player
Hossein Badamaki, Iranian professional football player
Mohammad Mansouri, Iranian professional football player
Reza Enayati, Iranian professional football player
Reza Ghoochannejhad, Iranian-Dutch professional football player
Kia Zolgharnain, Iranian-American former Futsaler/Indoor soccer player
Mohsen Ghahramani, Iranian football referee
Mohsen Torki, Iranian football referee
Hasan Kamranifar, Iranian football referee
Hossein Sokhandan, Iranian football referee
Amir Reza Khadem, born February 10, 1970 in Mashhad, wrestler
Rasoul Khadem, born February 17, 1972 in Mashhad, wrestler
Mohammad Khadem, wrestler
Amir Tavakkolian, wrestler
Majid Khodaei, wrestler
Ali Baghbanbashi, athlete
Maryam Sedarati, athlete, Iran record holder in women high jump for three decades
Abolfazl Safavi, Iran professional football player for Aboumoslem team in Takhte Jamshid League; He was later executed in prison by the Iranian regime in 1982 for his affiliation with Iranian opposition, the MEK
Abbas Golmakani, World’s wrestling champion during the 1950s
Hamed Afagh, basketballer
Masoud Haji Akhondzadeh, judoka
Javad Mahjoub, judoka
Amir Ghaseminejad, judoka
Hamid Reza Mobarez, swimmer
- Ali Akbar Fayyaz, a renowned historian of early Islam and literary critic, founder of the School of Letters and Humanities at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
- Mahmoud Khayami, born 1930 in Mashhad, Iran; Iranian born industrialist and philanthropist, of French nationality
- Hossein Sabet, Iranian businessman and Persian carpet dealer who owns Sabet International Trading Co.
- Hesam Kolahan, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015)|
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