Mashhad is a city in northeast Iran, known as a place of religious pilgrimage. Covering an area of 318 square km, Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Khorasan Razavi Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
Regarding its special value in the Islamic world, every year, millions of pilgrims travel to Mashhad to visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza, but Mashhad is also home to some natural and historical sites such as: The tomb of Nader shah and Kooh-Sangi and some other that are mentioned below:
Imam Reza holy shrine
The Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, Iran is a complex which contains the mausoleum of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Twelver Shiites. It is the largest mosque in the world by area. Also contained within the complex are the Goharshad Mosque, a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, a dining hall for pilgrims, vast prayer halls, and other buildings.
The complex is one of the tourism centers in Iran and has been described as “the heart of the Shia Iran” with millions of Iranian and non-Iranian Shias visiting the shrine each year.
The shrine itself covers an area of 267,079m2 while the seven courtyards which surround it cover an area of 331,578m2 – totaling 598,657 m2 (6,443,890 Sq. ft).
The grand dome and the Zarih were first built in the 11th century, during the Ghaznavid and Seljuq dynasties. From the beginning of the 16th century A.D. to the present day there have been five Zarihs placed around the grave of Imam Reza. The present Zarih dates from 2001, it took eight years to construct and is made of iron and wood. It is covered with silver and gold plates.
The Goharshad Mosque, situated in the southern part of the shrine, is one of the beautiful and glorious mosques in the world. This mosque is situated between the Bast Sheikh Baha’i and Sahn Imam Khomeini.
It was built in 9th century, Timurid dynasty, on the orders of Goharshad Bano, wife of Shahrukh Mirza, the Timurid Sultan.
The Goharshad Mosque enjoys a particular spiritual reputation among the Islamic mosques in the world. In addition to receiving many pilgrims of Imam Reza during the year, this mosque has been a center of learning and teaching the Islamic Sciences since last six centuries. The high-ranking Ulama lecture Islamic Sciences in this mosque and in the Shabistans (prayer halls) of the mentioned mosque.
Goharshad mosque has a foreground with an area of 2800 square meters and 9400 square meters infrastructure. Mosque building contains 8 spacious porches and seven yards. Dome height is about 41 meters. Its outer surface is decorated glazed brick and a Kufic inscription.
Tile mosque is an example of the masterpieces of the Timurid era. Arches of mosque with minarets and features special decorations and Mogharnas style are excellent. This ancient building can be considered as a full of prominent Iranian art that it is used all the characteristics of traditional architecture.
Name of Goharshad, founder of the mosque, is written on mosaic tiles in yellow in the north porch.
Tomb of Ferdowsi, Toos
About 40 kilometres outside of Mashhad is the small town of Toos, which is synonymous with the burial site of Iran’s national poet, Ferdowsi. The author of the epic poem, the Shahnameh (the Persian Book of Kings), Ferdowsi died in 1020 A.D, and his remains have rested in Toos ever since. The mausoleum’s current form, a massive stone structure that imitates Achaemenid architecture, was developed in the 1960s, and is the centrepiece of a surrounding park.
Tomb of Omar Khayyam, Neishabur
The quatrains of the 12th-century astronomer-poet Omar Khayyam are perhaps Khorasan’s most famous export around the globe. Popularised by Edward Fitzgerald’s 19th-century translation, Khayyam is beloved for his pithy musings on life, death, and love. The present-day mausoleum is another unique modernist structure, built in 1963. Located in Neishabur, just over an hour outside of Mashhad, the town also houses the tomb of Attar, a Persian Sufi poet, for those wanting to tick off every box on the poetry tour.
Rural Khorasan has many off-the-beaten track delights to discover, often hard to access by public transport, but worth the effort of hiring a private taxi. The quaint village of Kang, about an hour’s drive from Mashhad, is one particularly charming example. Filled with mud-brick houses, stacked along the foothills of the mountains, here is a wonderful opportunity to explore one of the few communities that still practice such an authentically traditional way of life.
The best Water Park in Mashhad:
– Water Waves Land
The sport-cultural complex of the water park called Water Waves Land is considered as the largest indoor water park across the Middle East and in terms of expanse, being roofed and equipped with facilities, it is among the most perfect water parks of the world. Different parts of the water park are the wave pool, the waterfall, raging rivers, slow and fast slides, the black hole, the space hole, the sauna and Jacuzzi. This water park in terms of Islamic principles also is the first water park in the world where women can use the facilities in separate and special way in couple days.
– Aftab (Sunshine) Coast Park
Aftab (Sunshine) Coast Park as the second largest water park in Mashhad was put into operation in summer 2011 on a land area of 4,000 square meters and 15,000 square meters of infrastructure. This complex has 7 floors and is among the world’s largest stratiform water parks in terms of the number of stories and the infrastructure. Roaring Waterfall with a height of over 18 m, speed slides, twin slides, twisting slide and 6 giant circles, unroofed slide and space hole slide, dining pool, Sputa salt pool with health and peeling skin benefits, and sand sauna are examples of attraction in the Aftab Coast Park.