Persian: مشهد ‹Mašhad›
Nickname(s): Mashhad Motto: City of paradise (Shahre behesht) Iran Coordinates: Coordinates: Country Iran Province Razavi Khorasan County Mashhad Bakhsh Central Mashhad-Sanabad-Toos 818 AD (Martyrdom Of Imam Reza) Government - Mayor (Ŝahrdār) Mohammad Pejman Area - City 458 km2 (176.8 sq mi) - Metro 3,946 km2 (1,523.6 sq mi) Elevation 985 m (3,232 ft) Population (2006) - City 2,907,316 - Population Rank in Iran 2nd Over 20 million pilgrims and tourists per year Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30) - Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30) Website http://www.mashhad.ir
Mashhad (Persian: مشهد Mashhad, Arabic: مشهد Mašhad, English: The Place of Martyrdom), 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. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
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.
Geography and demographics
Mashhad (Mašhad) Climate chart (explanation) J F M A M J J A S O N D337−5369−352142492182627123321613418133151291011225161612710−3 Average max. and min. temperatures in °C Precipitation totals in mm Imperial conversion J F M A M J J A S O N D1.345231.44827257361.97046181540.190610936409159084500.472410.661341.15027 Average max. and min. temperatures in °F Precipitation totals in inches
The city is located at 36.20º 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.
Mashhad consists mainly of people of Iranian descent(primarily Persian, Tajik, Hazara, Kurdish and Turkmen ethnic groups). Among the non-Iranians, there are sizable population of Afghanistani, Iraqi, Pakistani,as well as small population of Kuwaiti, Bahraini and (Chechen and Dagestani from Russia). In the 19th century and early 20th century, Mashhad was home to a sizable population of Azerbaijani, Armenian, Dagestani, Taleshi, Russian, Bokharan, Khivan, Afghan, Herati, Mervi, Kashmiri, and Indian.
There are also over 20 million pilgrims who visit the city every year.
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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. It remained the capital of the Afsharid dynasty until Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar conquered the then larger region of Khorasan in 1796. In 1749 Ahmad Shah Durrani (The Duranni Pashtun Empire) took possession of Herat, which was ruled by Nadir Shah's grandson, Shah Rukh. Herat fell to Ahmad after almost a year of siege and bloody conflict, Afterwards Mashhad(in present-day Iran) was taken by the The Durrani Empire aswell.
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
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) 24
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
21.1 Average low °C (°F) −3.8
7.1 Record low °C (°F) −27
Precipitation mm (inches) 33
Sunshine hours 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 Source: 
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. It is thought that over 20 million Muslims a year make the pilgrimage to Mashhad.
Long a center of secular as well as of 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 talaban, or "Molah" 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.
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).
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 the major trade center of saffron in Iran.
Many beautiful handicraft products are sold in Shandiz and Torghabeh.
Haruniyeh Dome in Tous
Mashhad is served by the Mashhad International Airport which handles domestic flights to Iranian cities and international flights, mostly to neighboring, Arab countries.
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 the national company R.A.J.A. and all trains are operated by R.A.I., Rah-Ahan Iran, the national railway company.
Colleges and universities
- Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM)
- Khavaran Institute of Higher Education
- Mashhad University of Medical Sciences
- Mashhad Institute Of Technology(MIT)
- Islamic Azad University of Mashhad
- Payame Noor University of Mashhad
- Sadjad Institute of Higher Education
- Khayyam University of Mashhad
- Imam Reza University
- Razavi University of Islamic Sciences
- Salman Institute of Higher Education
- Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research, Mashhad Branch (Jahad Daneshgahi of Mashhad)
- 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
Major sport teams
Club League Sport Venue Established Championships FC Aboomoslem Azadegan League soccer Samen Stadium 1970 0 Siah Jamegan Khorasan F.C. 2nd Division soccer Samen Stadium and Takhti Stadium (Mashhad) 2011 0 Elmo Adab Mashhad FSC Iranian Futsal Super League Futsal Rahahan Khorasan W.C. Iranian Premier Wrestling League freestyle wrestling Mohammad Ali Sahraei Hall Ferdowsi Club beach soccer Mojhaye Abi swimming Takhti Stadium (Mashhad) Persepolis Khorasan Iranian Volleyball Super League volleyball Shahid Beheshti Sport Complex Basketball Khorasan Razavi Iranian Basketball Super League basketball Mehran Hall
Mashhad as capital of Persia and Independent Khorasan
The following Shahanshahs had Mashhad as their capital:
- Malek Mahmoud Sistani 1722–1726
Mahmoud Asgari, 16, (Persian: محمود عسگري) and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, (Persian: عياض مرهوني) were Iranian teenagers from the province of Khorasan who were publicly hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in Mashhad, northeast Iran, on July 19, 2005. They were executed after being convicted by the court of having raped a 13-year old boy. The case attracted international media attention. A British group alleged that the teenagers were executed for consensual homosexual acts and not rape.
Famous people from Mashhad and Tus
- Religious and political figures
- Shaykh Tusi, 385–460 A.H.; prominent Persian scholar of the Shi'a Twelver Islamic belief
- Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, born February 1201 in Tūs, Khorasan – 26 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 Iraq. He is one of the oppositions of current Iranian government.
- Nizam al-Mulk, 1018 – 14 October 1092; celebrated Persian scholar and vizier of the Seljuq Empire
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili, Shia scholar and muhaddith
- Al-Ghazali, 1058–1111; 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
- Mohammad-Kazem Khorasani, 1839–1911; Twelver Shi'a Marja, Persian (Iranian) politician, philosopher, reformer
- Hossein Vahid Khorasani, born in 1924; Iranian Twelver Shi'a Marja
- Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, born January 27, 1958; former Vice President of Iran and a close associate of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami
- Abu Muslim Khorasani, c. 700–755; Abu Muslim Abd al-Rahman ibn Muslim al-Khorasani, Abbasid general of Persian origin
- Manouchehr Eghbal, October 14, 1909 – November 25, 1977, a Prime Minister of Iran
- Shah Rukh (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
- Hadi Khamenei, b. 1947; mid-ranking cleric who is a member of the reformist Association of Combatant Clerics
- Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, current major general, 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
- Ferdowsi, 935–1020 in Tus; a Persian poet
- Abu-Mansur Daqiqi, 935/942–976/980
- Abolfazl Beyhaqi, 995–1077; a Persian historian and author
- Nasir Khusraw, 1004–1088; Persian poet, philosopher, Isma'ili scholar and traveler
- 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, 1126–1189, one of the greatest Persian poets
- Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, 1928, Mashhad, Iran – 1990, 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
- Emad Khorasani
- Gholam Hosein Yousefi
- Abū Ja'far al-Khāzin, 900–971; Persian astronomer and mathematician from Khorasan
- Abū al-Wafā' Būzjānī, 10 June 940 – 1 July 998; Persian mathematician and astronomer
- Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, 1135–1213; 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
- Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, born September 23, 1940 in Mashhad, Iran; internationally and critically acclaimed Persian traditional singer, composer and Master (Ostad) of Persian music
- Homayoun Shajarian, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian's son, born May 21, 1975; renowned Persian classical music vocalist, as well as a Tombak and Kamancheh player
- Kayvan Saket, born in 1960 in Mashhad, Iran; Iranian composer, Radif-preserver, researcher, teacher, and excellent Tar and Setar instrumentalist and improvisor
- Noureddin Zarrinkelk, born 1937 in Mashhad, Iran; renowned Iranian animator, concept artist, editor, graphic designer, illustrator, layout artist, photographer, script writer and sculptor
- Reza Kianian, born July 17, 1951 in Mashhad, Iran, Iranian actor
- Hamid Motebassem, born 1958 in Mashhad, Iranian musician and tar and setar player
- Reza Attaran, born 31 March 1968 in Mashhad; Iranian actor and director
- Hamed Behdad, born 17 November 1973 in Mashhad, Iran; Iranian 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
- 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
- Ovanes Ohanian, ?–1961 Tehran; Armenian-Iranian filmmaker who established the first film school in Iran
- Valy, Afghan Singer
- Abū al-Wafā' al-Būzjānī, 10 June 940 – 1 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
- Sports figures
- 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
- Mohsen Ghahramani, Iranain football refree
- Mohsen Torki, Iranian football refree
- Seyed Ali Akbarian, known as "father of Iran's mountaineering". Notorious for having ate human flesh while stranded on a hike in Zagros Mountains. Currently owns a Kabob restaurant in Westwood
- Amir Reza Khadem, born February 10, 1970 in Mashhad
- Rasoul Khadem, born February 17, 1972 in Mashhad
- Mohammad Khadem
- Amir Tavakkolian
- Abbas Golmakani, World's wrestling champion during the 1950s
- Ayaz Marhoni, Ahwazi Arab youth (18) legally lynched on partially falsified charges of homosexuality and rape
- Mahmoud Asgari, Ahwazi Arab youth (16) legally lynched on partially falsified charges of homosexuality and rape
- 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).
- United Kingdom: British Consulate-General (1889–1947)
- Russia: Russian Consulate-General (1889–1917)
- USSR: Soviet Consulate-General (1917–1979?)
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- Municipality of Mashhad Official website (in Persian)
- Astan Quds Razavi
- e-Mashhad Mashhad Portal Official website (in Persian)
- Imam Reza Network
Razavi Khorasan Province CapitalMashhad Counties (A-R) and CitiesBajestan CountyBajestan • YunesiBakharz CountyBardaskan • Anabad • ShahrabadFariman • Farhadgerd • Qalandarabad • Sefid SangFiruzeh CountyFiruzeh • HemmatabadGonabad • Bidokht • KakhkJoghatai CountyJoghataiJowayin CountyKalat • Shahr-e ZowKashmar • RivashKhalilabad • KondorKhoshab CountySoltanabadKhvaf CountyKhvaf • Nashtifan • Qasemabad • Salami • SanganFeyzabad • ShadmehrMashhad • Malekabad • RazaviyehQuchan • BajgiranRashtkhvar CountyRashtkhvar • Jangal Counties (S-Z) and CitiesTorbat-e Heydarieh • Bayg • Kadkan • Robat-e SangTorqabeh e Shandiz CountyTorqabeh • ShandizZave County LandmarksImam Reza shrine · Goharshad Mosque · Tus citadel · Kooh Sangi · Akhlamad · Mount Binalud · Zist-e Khavar · Kian Center · Azar Barzin Mehr fire temple,Sabzevar · Ferdowsi's mausoleum in Tus · Haruniyeh Dome in Tus · Tomb of Farid ad-Din Attar,Nishapur · Kohandezh, Nishapur · Tomb of Omar Khayyám, Nishapur · Architecture of Iran Styles Elements Notable traditional cities Theory and Analysis Lists
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