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Khorasan-Razavi

Khorassan-Razavi

05/25/13

Geography and History

The province of Khorassan Razavi, located in the northeast of Iran covering  an area of 125,832 sq. km., is one the most important provinces of the country. The townships of this province are Bardeskan, Taibad , Torbat Jaam , Torbat Heydarieh , Chenaran , Khaaf , Daregaz , Sabzevar , Sarakhs , Shirvan , Tabas , Ferdows , Fariman, Quchan , Kashmar , Gonabad , Mashad and Nayshabur. Mashad being the capital city, where the shrine of his Holiness Imam Reza (AS) the eighth Imam of the Shiite sect is situated.In 2006 about  5,500,000  people resided in Khorassan Razavi of which approximately 68.15% resided in urban areas and 31.84% in rural areas, the remaining were non-residents or migratory tribes. This province can be divided into two sections regarding its natural features: The northern section which has a mountainous terrain, though its lower plains are suitable for agricultural purpose and animal husbandry .The southern section comprises of low hills and plains with poor vegetation.

Climate

Climatically this province is variable in weather. Located in a north temperate zone, the temperature increases from north to south but the annual rainfall decreases. For example Hezarmasjed and Binalood heights experience cold and mountainous weather, whereas in some parts of Mashad, Quchan, southern Binalood and Hezarmasjed Mountains a temperate, mountainous climate exists. Qaenat and mountain side areas have a mild, semi-arid climate while the southern zones are warm, dry and arid.

History and Culture

In the past history of Iran, the province of Khorassan Razavi has been a constant witness to the rise and fall of powers and governments. Various tribes and clans, both from inside and outside of the country, such as Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Turkemen, Qajar and Afqans have accounted for much unaccountable events in this wide territory. The ancient geographers of Iran had devided Iran (Iran Shahr ) into eight segments, of which the most flourishing and largest was territory of Khorassan. During the Sassanide (Sassanian) Dynasty the province was governed by a Espahbod (Lieutenant General) called “Padgoosban” and four margraves, each commander of one of the four parts of the province.Khorassan was divided into four parts during the Islamic period and each section was named after the four large cities, such as Nayshabur , Marve, Harat and Balkh. In the year 31 AH, the Arabs came to Khorassan and it was at this time that the inhabitants accepted the religion of Islam.Till the year 205 AH, this territory was in the hands of the Bani-Abbas clan, followed by the rule of the Taherian clan in the year 283 AH, and there after in 287 AH the Samanian Dynasty came to the scene as rulers. Sultan Mohmood Qaznavi conquered Khorassan in 384 AH and in the year 429 AH Toqrol, the first of the Saljuqian Dynasty conquered Nayshabur. Mahmood Qaznavi retaliated against the invaders several times, and finally the Qaznavi Turks defeated Soltan Sanjar Saljuqi. But there was more to come, as in the year 552 AH. Khorassan was conquered by Kharazm Shahian and because of simultaneous attacks by the Mongols, Khorassan was annexed to the territories of the Mongol Ilkhanan. In the 8th century AH, a flag of independence was hoisted by the Sarbedaran movement in Sabzevar and in the year 873 AH, Khorassan came into the hands of Amir Teimoor Goorkani and the city of Harat was declared as capital. In the year 913 AH Khorassan was occupied by the Ozbekans.After the death of Nader Shah Afshar in 1160 AH, Khorassan was occupied by the Afqans. During Qajar period, Britain supported Afqans as they were responsible for guarding the Indian Borders. Finally, the Paris Treaty was concluded (1903) and Iran was compelled not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afqanistan. At this time Khorassan was divided into two: the eastern part, which was the most densely populated region came under Britain’s protection, and the other western section remained under the occupation of Iran. But in spite of all these upheavals Khorassan is one of the most fertile and flourishing provinces of Iran.This province envelopes many natural attractions, such as mineral water springs , small lakes , recreational areas , caves and protected regions , heights and summits surmount its attractions despite its acute water resources shortage.Besides these, Khorassan Razavi encompasses numerous religious buildings and places of pilgrimage, including the shrine of his Holiness Imam Reza (AS) and many other mausoleums and Imamzadehs which attract visitors to this province.

Khorassan Razavi Province Townships

Chenaran, Daregaz, Fariman, Ferdows, Gonabad, Kashmar, Khaaf, Mashad, Nayshabur, Quchan, Sabzevar, Sarakhs, Taibad, Torbat Heydarieh, Torbat Jaam.

Chenaran

Chenaran lies between the Binalood Heights in the south and Radkan Mountains in the north. Its climate is cold and mountainous. The history of this city is intermingled with that of Mashad.

Daregaz

Daregaz is located in the north of the province of Khorassan and is 910 km. from Tehran . It has a relatively tropical climate, and being adjacent to the borders of Iran and Turkmenistan it holds an important military position. Historical evidences here are from the Afsharieh era. The city of Kalat was occupied and plundered by Amir Teimoor at the end of the 8th century AH. Thereafter Nader Shah took advantage of conditions and Kalat was renamed ‘Kalat-e-Nadery’. After the death of Nader Shah Klat was governed by a successor who claimed to be one of the government of Iran. Daregaz today is one of the most flourishing cities of the province.

Fariman

Fariman came under one of the townships of Mashad in the near past. Fariman is renowned for its sugar factory which has been recently reconstructed.

Ferdows

This city lies on he slopes of the Kalat Mountains. The salt desert is situated to the west and north of Ferdows and has a changeable climate. In ancient times it was called ‘Toom’ and was founded in the pre-Islamic era. Ferdows lies 1,158 km. from Tehran and today is a thriving city.

Gonabad

Gonabad is a town located in the plains some 1,091 km. from Tehran. Mountain ranges stretch from the west to the east of this land. The city enjoys a warm climate. Gonabad is one of the ancient cities of Iran, the building of which dates back to the Achaemenian era. This city was a center of conflicts between the Safavid and Ozbekans, when the Safavid first came to power. In the beginning of the 13th century AH, the Sheibani tribe, opponent to the Qajars, seized the place. So Gonabad suffered severe destruction but was reconstructed later. The historical sites prevailing date back to the 7th century AH.

Kashmar

Kashmar is situated west of the province of Khorassan and lies 926 km. from Tehran. The river Sish Taraz which flows by Kashmar has the famous historical Shahi Dyke spanning its waters. Due to influences of the desert the southern part of Kashmar is warm, and in the northern areas a temperate climate prevails. In older times Kashmar was known as “Torshiz”. In the year 520 AH, the city was plundered by Sultan Sanjar Saljuqi, after which it became an important centre of the Esmailieh sect. After their defeat the city thrived again, only to be ruined by Amir Teymour Goorkani. Historical monuments of the region date back to the 7th and 8th century AH.

Khaaf

Khaaf is one of the towns located east of this province and its natural landscape consists of mountains and plains. The Khaaf Plain is subject to the 120 day Sistan winds. The history of Khaaf mingles with that of Torbat Heydarieh and historical monuments exist from the 7th century AH.

Mashad

The city of Mashad is situated 909 km. from Tehran in a plain between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar Masjed . Mashad enjoys a temperate, mountainous climate. In the year 202 AH, after the martyrdom of Imam Reza (AS) in a place around Toos called Sanabad which came to be known as Mashad-e-Reza (Place of Martyrdom) the main nucleus of todays or the present Mashad came into existence. Sultan Mahmood Qaznavi built a mausoleum on the shrine. Due to the destruction of the city of Toos in the 7th century AH, people flocked to the city of Mashad. At first, the area of Toos was inhabited by non-Aryans and some parts of it was conquered by the Arabs during the reign of the Caliph Osman. It was annexed to the Islamic territory in the time of Caliph Omar. The city of Toos was one of the first to be plundered and destroyed like the other cities of Khorassan by the Mongols.The city of Toos due to its delicate and sensitive position was subject to upheavals during the Teymourian and Ilkhanan period. Being passed through, hand to hand between different governments, people were massacred. Ultimately in the year 807 AH, Shahrokh, the son of Amir Teymour ascended the throne and since then Toos has developed and thrived, and from the second half of the 9th century AH, it came to stand as a suburb of Mashad. Ruins of the old city of Toos have come to remain. But the present day Toos has guarded its importance due to the fact that the tomb of the great Iranian poet Ferdowsi is located there.
However, today Mashad has a unbreakable link with the history of ancient Toos and annually hosts thousands of pilgrims and visitors and is one of the focal points of pilgrims for the Shiite.

Nayshabur

The city of Nayshabur lies in a level plain and is 768 km. from Tehran . The Binalood heights are to the north, and other heights run northwest of the city. The railroad of Tehran – Mashad passes through Nayshabur. In the year 31 AH, it was seized by the Ottomans (Osmani) and during the Islamic era held its own as one of the four important cities in the province. The city was so vast that it was called Omol-Belad (mother of cities).In the Islamic period, this city was of such importance that on their minted coins the names of the ‘Omavi’ Caliphate could be noted. During the reign of the Qaznavian and Saljuqian, Nayshabur was one of the most important cities of Khorassan. In the year (618 AH) Nayshabur was destroyed during the Mongol attack and it was close to Mongol reign that Nayshabur was annexed to the territory of the Sarbedaran rulers. This city has played an important role in attributing to the fields of Iranian art, civilization and philosophy. Moreover this city had a position in the path or route of the Silk Road besides many historical sites.

Quchan

Quchan is located in the north of the province and in the neighborhood of the Republic of Turkmenistan. Due to its strategic position it controls commercial traffic in the way of custom regulations as well as passengers within its common border with the Republic of Turkmenistan. The Aladaq and Hezar Masjed heights bear influence on its climate, such that it has moderate summers and cold winters. In the medieval ages, Quchan was known as Khabooshan and Khoojan. This city was rebuilt during the time of Holakookhan. In order to prevent the Ozbak and Torkeman attacks to this vicinity, Shah Abbas I transferred the Kurd warriors to the region. In the year 1160 AH, Nader Shah was killed in a place called Tapeh Nader or (Nader’s Hill), close to the city. Historical remnants date back to 6th century AH here.

Sabzevar

Sabzevar comprises of two sections – one part in the plains which experiences a warm climate and the other in the mountainous regions which enjoys a temperate climate. This city is located 654 km. from Tehran . In the Islamic era this region was known as the “Bayhaq” state, which had two cities called Sabzevar and Khosrowgerd.This city was completely destroyed during the Mongol rampage. In the year 737 AH Sabzevar gave refuge to the Sarbedaran movement, won a name of ‘Darolmomenin’ and became the capital city. During the attack of the Ozbeks, this city was destroyed, but once again regained development during the Safavid era. In the last decade Sabzevar has flourished considerably.

Sarakhs

Sarakhs is situated in the far northeastern part of Khorassan province. Being under the influence of the Qaraqom Sandy region it experiences cold winters and dry-warm summers. Its ancient history dates back to the Sassanian period. During the Mongol attack in the year 617 AH, Sarakhs was plundered and destroyed. Nearing the end of the Qajar period, Sarakhs was governed by a feudal system. It was also attacked by the Turkemens. This city in the past housed many libraries and was on the path of the Silk Road.

Taibad

Taibad is composed of two sections – one in the plains and the other in mountainous regions. Taibad has an arid to semi-arid and dry climate, though in its southern areas the winters are cold and summers are temperate. Taibad is so called because of its attribution to cleanliness and goodness.

Torbat Heydarieh

The city of Torbat-e-Haydarieh is located on the mountain slopes and has variable weather in various parts. This city is 1005 km. from Tehran . In the ancient times this city was called ‘Zaveh’, and according to a narrator in the 7th century AH, Sheikh Haydar a famous Gnostic resided there. Thereby the changes of name from Zaveh to Torbat-e-Heydarieh being related to the lie and resting place (tomb) of this great man. Cultural and historical evidences in this area relate to the Sassanian era 7th century AH.

Torbat Jaam

Torbat-e-Jaam is located 996 km. from Tehran, and is situated on the plains having a temperate mountainous climate. Its present name is after a learned personality known as Sheikh Jaam who is buried here. There are many historical evidences in this region from the 8th and 9th century AH.

Historical Monuments

Akhenjan Tower, Mashad

The tower of Akhenjan is located 22 km. north of  Mashad and dates back to the Teimoorian era and the 9th century AH. The tower is octagonal in shape, the brick work of which is fancy and adds to its beauty.

 

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Ali Abad Tower, Kashmar

This tower is located in the village of Ali Abad 42 km. from the city of Kashmar . The tower has been erected on the fort and the minaret of which resembles a tower, and its facade comprises of decorative brick inlaying. The dome stands 18 m. tall, the interior of which is octagon. This tower is registered  historical monument.

 

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Firooz Abad Minaret, Kashmar

This minaret is constructed of brick and has ‘Kufi’ inscriptions on it, dating back to the late 7th century AH. Though the construction of this minaret is of plain brick – the bricks are laid in a zigzag pattern enhancing its beauty. Inside the minaret a remnant of a stair case can be observed and on minaret some holes are encarved. At present this minaret stands 18 m. in height.

 

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Ferdowsi Tomb, Toos

The tomb of the great poet Abolqassem Ferdowsi, can be accounted for a place of ‘worship’ so to be called by the lovers of Farsi Literature. This renowned historical site has brought fame for the city of Toos. The construction of this tomb began in the year 1928 and work came to an end in 1934. In the year 1964 a few changes were made in the structure. The internal walls of the tomb are adorned with sculptures depicting scenes from the ‘Shahnameh’. Each side wall of the building is approximately 30 m. x 30 m. and each of the four sides have stairways lead up to it. The lenght of each side of the main buildings foundation is about 16 m., worked with marble it is adorned by verses from the Shahnameh in the Nasta’liq script. Above the southern stone, a symbol of the Ahuramazda embossment, a replica from Achaemenian buildings is in sight. At the vicinity of the tomb of this great Iranian poet, is the resting place of a contemporary poet Mehdi Akhvan Saless.

 

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Hakim Omar Khayam Nayshaburi Tomb, Nayshabur

One of the eye-catching sites is the garden which envelopes the resting place of the great scholar, mathematician, philosopher and poet, Hakim Omar Khayam. The said garden belonged to him. The exact date of his death have not been specified and it is known to be within the years 506 – 530 AH. Later another monument was erected about 100 m. north of the tomb to commemorate this renowned personality. This structure is a high tomb made of iron and stone, consisting of ten bases, which have geometrical shapes and are connected to each other.

 

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Imam Mohammad Qazali (Haroonieh) Tomb, Toos

This structure is known as the tomb of Haroon-al-Rashid, “Naqareh-Khaneh” i.e.(a place where drums are beaten at specified intervals) and also is known as Masjed or mosque. This place is situated between Mashad and Toos and is near the tomb of Ferdowsi . It is a square, brick made structure, containing porticos and windows with fine architectural finish. The dome and the ceiling of which boast of intricate craftsmanship. This structure is actually in three storeys and has been erected in the year 720 AH to commemorate this great scholar.

 

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Khajeh Rabi’ Tomb, Mashad

This famous and renowned tomb is situated 4 km. north of Mashad on the Khajeh Rabi’ Road. This mausoleum is octagonal in shape and houses many rooms, large halls and porticos styled in intricate and unique oriental architecture. The bi-covered dome is 18 m. high and has two, one with the  “Banai” script and the other with the “Tholth” script.
The interior of the mausoleum has interesting ornaments which includes two inscriptions written by Ali Reza Abbasi which dates back to 1026 and 1031 AH. The facade of this monument has many eye-catching and interesting architectural and decorative features. The construction of this mausoleum relates to the Safavid era and is located in a large, beautiful garden. Khajeh Rabi is well known for his endeavors in the way of Islam.

 

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Qotbedin Heydar Tomb, Torbat Heydarieh

This is located in the Qaem Maqam Avenue of Torbat Heydarieh and consists of a complex of buildings unique in oriental architecture. Qotbedin Heydar was a great Gnostic of his times and the axis of the Heydareih Sect 531 – 681 AH. The tomb has been renovated during the passage of time. In the middle of building there is a wooden inscriptions on which the date of 987 AH. can be read. In the portico there is an inscription on a stone written by Mohammad Yusef Al Hosseini, according to which the mosque of this tomb has been repaired in the year 1045 AH during the reign of Shah Safi and has been reconstructed again by Shah Abbas I. The construction of this unique complex dates back to the 9th century AH. This tomb is on historical record.

 

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Seyed Hassan Modares Tomb, Kashmar

Seyed Hassan Modares is one of the famous characters of the contemporary history of Iran. This personality was poisoned in the year 1317 AH during the reign of Pahlavi I. He was buried in the suburb of Kashmar , an area which was known as Tapeh Akhund at that time. This tomb has been since reconstructed several times and lately it was renewed by the Qods Razavi.

 

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Sheikh Attar Nayshaburi Tomb, Nayshabur

Faridodin Abu Hamed Mohammed-ebne-Abu Bakr Ebrahim Ben Issaq Attar Nayshaburi, the great poet and Gnostic of Iran was born around the year 540 AH and expired in 618 AH.The tomb of this famous poet is located 6 km. west of Nayshabur , near Imamzadeh Mahrooq and the tomb of Khayam. This structure is octagonal in shape with a tile worked onion shaped dome. It has 4 entrances, the northern one is the main entrance. This historical structure has been tastefully adorned with colored (green, yellow and blue) tiles and carvings. The interior site is covered by plaster and has four seats.The Mausoleum is located in a garden covering an area of about 119 sq. m. The grave of the well known painter Kamalol Molk is also situated in a part of this garden.

 

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Sheikh Tabarsi Tomb, Mashad

The tomb of Sheikh Aminedin Abu Ali Fazlebnel Hassan is located in Tabarsi avenue, Mashad and in Rezvan Garden (Paradise). This personality was a theologian of repute specially in the Shiite sect. This vicinity is also called “Mogsal-ol-Reza’ as after the martyrdom of His Holiness, Imam Reza ,this corpse was bathed here to be prepared for burial.There are many other mausoleums and tombs in the province of Khorassan , besides the above. To mention a few more: Tomb of Abasalat, Nader, Amir Qiasedin Malek Shah and Khajeh Morad Ravi in Mashad , Khajeh Azizollah, Mir Qiyasedin and Gonbad-e-Sabz or (Green Dome) tombs in Torbat Jaam , Kamalol Molk and Fazlebneh Shazan tombs in Nayshabur , Peer-e-Morad and Peerastir tombs in Sabzevar , Buzarjomehr and Sheikh Abol Mafakher tombs in Qaen, Sheikh Abolqasem tomb in Torbat Heydarieh , Shazdeh Qasem tomb in Taibad , Sepahsalar tomb in Tabas and Baba Tavakol tomb in Bojnurd.

 

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Kamal-Ol-Molk Tomb, Nayshabur

 

 

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Nader Shah Afshar Tomb

 

Bazeh Hoor Fire Temple, Mashad

There is a fire-temple in the village of Robat Sefid (Mashad) and most probably this square shaped structure dates back to the Sassanian Dynasty.

 

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Kalat-e-Nadery Complex, Kalat, Mashad

The walls of Kalat are 35 km. in length and 10 km. in width and located 180 km. north of Mashad . The remains of this area belong to the Nader Shah period. There are observation towers (constructed in the years 1155-1160 AH) around this city. Existing inscriptions are evident including one written in the Turkish language and Nasta’liq script.
The ancient entrance gate, Dahcheh gate, Choob Bast gate, Gashtaneh gate, Nafaqi gate located in Band-e-Arqavan Shah and Khorshid palace located in band-e-Nafaqi and Takhte-e-Dokhtar situated on a hill near the Nafaqi Gate which was built under the orders of Nader Shah are counted as the only monuments which have been remained.

 

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Engraving of Kalat-e-Nadery

 

Khorshid (Sun) Palace, Toos, Mashad

The Khorshid Palace is from the time of Nader Shah Afshar and had most probably been constructed so as to house the royal family. The façade of this palace is cylindrical, built of black marble. At present this palace stands 20 m. in height and contains 12 rooms decorated with paintings and ornamental works such as plaster moldings. In the center of this palace there is a tower enhanced with fire architectural design. This palace was built in the second half of the 12th century AH.

 

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Religious Monuments

Goharshad Mosque, Mashad

This mosque was constructed by Goharshad (the wife of Shahrokh Teimoori), in 821 AH. This mosque has a large courtyard in the center with four porticos. Beautiful inscriptions in Thulth script (the work of Shahrokh’s son) adorn the walls. The most important section of this mosque is its southern portico which boasts of arches and valuable inscriptions. Along side this portico stand solid minarets with thickness of 6 m., with the same height of the portico itself, which help in supporting the ceiling and prevent the roof from collapsing .
In bombardments of the Russian forces in 1330 AH, the main dome of this mosque which was 15m. in dia. sustained a loss. This dome was demolished in the year 1339 AH. The current dome has been constructed (in keeping with the former circumference) with concrete. This mosque has gone under repair once during the Safavid reign and the other in the Qajar era.

 

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Astan-e-Qods Razavi Aggregate, Mashad

This forms the axis of the holy city of Mashad and is one of the most important and greatest ‘aggregates’ in the world of Islam. Its importance is due to the presence of the shrine of His Holiness Imam Reza (AS), 148-203 AH, which contains valuable historical and artistic monuments from various centuries. In the year 203 AH, or as it is said, in the year 202 AH, after the martyrdom of His Holiness Imam Reza (AS), the sacred body was laid to rest on the tomb of Haroon-ol Rashid. It is said that Moqadasi was the first person to name the place Mashad (meaning the place of martyrdom). Ibn-e-Hogol has also called it ‘Mashad-ol-Reza’. In the years 366-387 AH the biased Sabkat Keen one of the rulers of the Qaznavi era, brought down the Holy Shrine to ruins and forbade pilgrimage to the sacred place. Thence, Abaidodowleh Fa’eq endeavored to complete the task of rebuilding the mausoleum and has made great efforts in making the city of Mashad flourish.Thereafter Sultan Mohammad Qaznavi built a brick wall on the former mud caked wall and erected a minaret as well.

 

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According to the inscription in the museum of the shrine it seems that the building was repaired again in 516 AH. In the year 548 AH, the mausoleum was heavily damaged due to the attack of the Qazhs. During the reign of Sultan Sanjar Saljuqi 552-511 AH, the Shrine was once more repaired, and a dome built for the same. The daughter of Sultan Sanjar, (whose name and date of contribution is on record on the inscriptions) was responsible for paving the area surrounding the Shrine in geometrical and star (hexa and octagonal) shaped tiles which added to their beauty. The reign of Kharazmshahian has also brought about various repairs and artistic measures in the mausoleum. In the year 612 AH, a beautiful embossed inscription on a caked tablet, fixed to the wall on both sides of the entrance to the Shrine, which is in the Tholth script indicates the names of ancestors of His Holiness Imam Reza (AS), originating from His Holiness Hazrat-e-Ali (PBUH). After the attack of ‘Towli’ the son of Changis, in the year 618 AH, the mausoleum of Razavi was shattered once again, and later on Qazan Khan and Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh Oljaito made efforts for repairs and artistic works of the Garden or (Baq) Razavi.

 

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In the year 734 AH, Ebn-e-Batooteh a reputed historian, had made special mention of the beautiful and tile worked edifice with the silver railed shrine in his records. In the 8th century the Astan-e-Qodes was composed of the shrine, the Balasar mosque, a few smaller buildings attached to northern wall of a school.

 

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During the reign of Shahrokh and his spouse Goharshad the aggregate made great progress and vast development was noted. The Goharshad mosque was erected to the direction of the kiblah of the shrine. Then buildings known as Darolhefaz, Darolsiadeh and Tahvil Khaneh (treasury) were erected. Three schools by the names of Parizad, Balasar and Dodar were also erected during this epoch. Due to the endeavors of Amir Alishir Navai the old courtyard, and the basis of the Evan-e-Tala or golden portico came into focus. Further more, in the period of Shah Abbas I it was extended to a great deal. Shah Tahmasb Safavid repaired the minaret near the dome which was then gold plated. But unfortunately due to the attack of the Ozbaks, these ingots of great value were plundered, an in the year 1010 AH, Shah Abbas ordered the repairs of this edifice.

 

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This decree is on one of the carvings by the famous calligrapher Ali Reza Abbasi. It should be brought to attention that the said mausoleum vastly expanded due to additions during the passage of time-such as the Ravaq or Porch of Towhid Khaneh (to the north of the shrine) is by the efforts of Molla Mohsen Faiz, Ravaq-e-Allahverdi Khan and Ravaq-e-Hatam Khani are likewise erected by Allahverdi Khan and Hatem Bek Ordubadi. Shah Abbas II was responsible for the repairs of the Attiq courtyard which was inlayed with tiles and Shah Soleiman gave orders for the repair of the dome of the holy shrine which had a crack due to an earthquake. In addition to which, many schools were built during his reign.

 

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In the period of Nader Shah Afshar areas of the mausoleum, such as the Golden Porch, the Attiq Courtyard and the minaret standing on it were repaired and gold plated.
Constitutions of the new courtyard were began in the reign of Fathali Shah Qajar and were completed in the reign of Naseredin Shah. According to the orders issued by Naseredin Shah, the walls were raised to the height of the Naseri portico, and the arched ceiling of which were covered with ingots. Mozafarudin Shah made his contributions in having the two courtyards repaired.In the year 1330 AH, the Russian forces brought about plenty of destruction to this aggregate, but in the year 1307 AH, vital changes were noted in this regard. The museum, library and the hall of protocol were constructed around the network. In the year 1350 AH, the old historical textures were demolished giving way to parks and greenery. Presently, changes and innovations are dominant in the area. The current aggregate consists of the shrine porticos, courtyard, schools, porches, dome, minarets, museum, library and other relative assets.

 

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Other important factors of this aggregate are the sacred shrine, its old courtyards, the Imam Khomeini courtyard, and various other courtyard such as the Qods and Jomhuri-e- Islami. Porches or Ravaqs such as Darolsiadeh, Darolziafeh, Darolzekr and Darolsoroor to name a few. Towhid Khaneh, Hatam Khani, Allahverdi Khan and the Balasar Mosque all come under this aggregate.

Imamzadeh Soltan Mohammad Abed, Gonabad

This tomb is located in a city called Kakhak, 24 km. south of Gonabad . This is the tomb of Mohammad Ben Jafar al Sadeq, the uncle of Imam Reza, which was reputedly known as “Mohammad Al Abed”. The structure was erected during the end of the Saljuqi era and was repaired during Teimoorian and Safavid eras. On northern entance an inscripion is observed, on which the date of 980 and name of Shah Esmail Safavid is encarved. In the year 1968 AD, the structure was damaged during an earthquake but thence was repaired.
The structure of mausoleum consists of a square hall with an entrance in each side, two tetragonal halls in west and east, a portico in the middle of northern section and two small porticos in either sides and an open area in front of the portico.

 

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Imamzadeh Yahya, Sabzevar

This Imamzadeh is situated at the cross roads between Asrar and Beyhaq Streets of Sabzevar . The aggregate of this Imamzadeh is compiled of the following:
The shrine, the large portico, with two minarets with the height of 29 m., two chambers in north and south of shrine. The shrine of the Imamzadeh has four halls. The internal walls are covered by marble. An inscription in Tholth script can also be observed the theme of which are verses of the Holy Qoran. This structure dates back to the 6th century AH. There is no ancestoral evidance for Imamzadeh Yahya and most probably the same does not belong to Yahyebne Zeidebne Imam Zeinol Abedin Ali Ebnel Hassan.

 

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Qadamgah Mausoleum, Mashad

This beautiful Mausoleum dates back to the 11th century AH and is octagonal shaped with tall porticos and two storeyed arches and decorated with seven colored tiles and plaster moldings. It is located in a large garden in the village of Qadamgah and has been erected by Shah Soleiman in the year 1091 AH. In this Mausoleum there is a stone tablet that bears the impression of the soles of two feet. It is said that these impressions belong to the feet of His Holiness Imam Reza (AS).

 

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The dome of this structure has been decorated with white and turquoise colored diamond shaped figures which surround the dome. An inscription which is written by Al Abd Mohammad Hossein in Thulth script can also be noted.

 

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Soltan Mausoleum, Gonabad

Soltan Mohammad Ben Heydar Mohammad, reputed as “Soltan Ali Shah” was the famed Gnostic and founder of “Gonabadi” dynasty of Dervishes. He was a scholar of the second half of 13th century and the first quarter of the 14th century AH.The present aggregate compiles of four paved courtyards, two ponds or pool with stony margin, the dome along with inscriptions from “Fath” verse of the Holy Qoran, along with the sentence of  “La Ellaha Ela Allah”. These inscriptions also include a list of the prophets and repetition of the sentence of‘ Mohammad Rasool Allah’. i.e. Mohammad is the messenger of God in four corners of the building.The other assets being the four minarets on four sides of the building, four anteriors, one clock tower, portico and chamber housing the tomb and four carved doors.The founder of this structure was Haj Soltan Hossein Tabandeh Reza Ali Shah and the mason of which was Haj Mohammad Ebrahim Bidokhti. In the center of the Mausoleum there are two tombstones – one belonging to Haj Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Saleh Ali Shah, and the other to the great Gnostic Soltan Mohammad Ali Shah. The tomb stone of Sultan Ali Shah was engraved by Ostad Abdolvali and the tombstone of Saleh Ali Shah by Qolam Hossein Esfahani.

 

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Torbat Sheikh Jaam Aggregate, Torbat Jaam

The pilgrimage site of Ahmad Bin Abol Hassan Sheikh Ahmad Jaam (441-536 AH.), is located in Mashad – Harat Road and consists of ten historical buildings which are placed around a vast courtyard. Sheikh Ahmad pilgrimage is one of the greatests pilgrimage centers in eastern Iran. The following belong to this aggregate:
Sheikh Jaam Nameqi Tomb: This tomb is made of brick and gypsum and pilgrims of Torbat Sheikh have special belief and faith in this imminent personality. The inscriptions carved on two white stones placed on either end of the tomb display Kufi and Nasta’liq scripts. Besides which fine oriental arts can be seen on the fringes of these tablets.
Gonbad Khaneh: The Gonbad and Gonbad Khaneh are situated in the heart of this aggregate and each of its four sides are covered by the surrounding buildings.
Atiq Mosque: This mosque is located to the southwest of Gonabad Khaneh and has a domed Shabestan like a mosque which encloses five porches. Unique architectural and artistic techniques can be observed here. Plaster works, brick encarvings on plaster with a type and quiality of tiles, belonging to the architectural method of the 8th century.Eivan (Portico): This ‘Eivan’ or portico is beautifully decorated with tiles and plaster work. It stands opposite the dome and reaches a height of approximately 30 m., the ceiling of which has semi-dome with an octamerous arch.

 

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Kermani Mosque: This mosque consists of halls on each side of the structure, and three rooms on the western and eastern side. Arches can be noted around these rooms, as well as arched plaster molding on the upper framework of the door of these rooms. There is a beautiful altar of plaster molding in the western hall which is intricately decorated wih floral and geometrical designs. These works of art are of great value. The facade of this mosque displays the beauty of fine art in keeping with its internal walls.
Gonbad Sefeed (White Dome): This is a small structure running parallel to the Kermani Mosque. This structure has two halls which displays beautiful arches. A few inscriptions exist in the Kufi script which are brown in color. A few graves are in this structure. Two of these graves belong to the daughters of Sheikh Jaam.
Amir Jalaledin Firooz Shah School (Gonbad Sabz): The Gonbad Sabz (Green Dome) of the Firooz Shah School is located in the northern courtyard of the tomb of Sheikh Jaam. This structure consists of a domed vestibule and a small room finished in tile work. The Gonabad Khaneh of the green dome is square shaped with a beautiful styled roof.
Masjed-e-No (New Mosque): This mosque is located to he east of the tomb of Sheikh Jaam and consists of interesting artistic and architectural techniques of that time.
Amir Shah Malek School: The school is the remnants of the first half of the 9th century AH and was formerly in the southern section of the aggregate. At present it is substituted by a new strucure which is considered to be a part of the mausoleum. The aggregate of the Torbat-e-Jaam with a registeration number of 174 has been registered in list of historical records of Iran.

 

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Tile Work of Sheikh Jaam Aggregate

 

Other mausoleums and Imamzadehs of Khorassan province includes: Imamzadeh Tabas, Mausoleum of Sheikh Abu Nasr Iravehei in Tabas , Mausoleum of Sheikh Rashidudin Mohammad in Shirvan , Mausoleum of Mohammad Rashidudin, Imamzadeh Ahmad Reza, Imamzadeh Shahzadeh Zeid and Imamzadeh Shahzadeh Jaffar in Esfarayen . Bibi Oliyeh Khatoon, Imamzadeh Sultan Hassan, Imamzadeh Sultan Hossein and Imamzadeh Ali Akbar in Sabzevar , Imamzadeh Seyed Abbas in Bojnurd , Imamzadeh Seyed Ebrahim in Nayshabur , Imamadeh Mohammad in Mashad , Imamzadeh Seyed Hamzeh and Imamzadeh Seyed Morteza in Kashmar.

 

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Imamzadeh Seyed Morteza, Kashmar

 

Natural Attractions

Alborz Mountain Ranges, in northestern Iran, is connected to Aladagh and Binalood moun6tains in Khorasan Razavi Province. Hezarmqasjed Mountains are also located in northern part of this province. General characteristics of these heights are as follows:

Binalood and Aladaq Mountains, Nayshabur 

These mountain ranges are the continuation of the Alborz Mountain Range. The Aladaq running 170 km. at a stretch, lies between the Koorkhod Mountains to the west, and Binalood Range to the east. From the north the Aladaq Range is limited by the Atrak Valley and to the south it stretches out towards Esfarayen and Jajrum. The highest peak of this range called Shah Jahan width is 3,032 m. in height and the distance between the two cities of Quchan and Sabzevar forms its utmost limits, that is, the Aladaq and Binalood Ranges.

 

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Aladaq Mountains

 

At this point the Binalood Mountains span a distance of 120 km. and separate the Kashaf Valley in the north from the plains of Nayshabur in the south. The Binalood peak with the height of 3,410 m. stands northwest of Nayshabur. To the south of Mashad city the hills of Fariman and Torbat Jaam stretch in continuation to The Binalood Ranges. In this area, the Binalood Mountains segregate the Kashaf Rood Valley from the Torbat-e-Jaam region and has a peak of 2,256 m. in height. In spring and summer this region forms an excellent spot, full of natural enhancements.

 

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Binalood Mountains

 

Hezar Masjed Mountains, Quchan

The direction of these ranges are from the north-west to the south-east and are a continuation of the Kapeh Daq and Balkhan Mountains situated in Tukemenistan. A part of the Hezar Masjed Mountains are known as Kapeh Daq. This range along the Daregaz – Quchan Road is called Allaho Akbar, the main peak of which stands 2,804 m. high. To the east of these mountains, are the peaks of Kamas and Kharposhteh and these are 2,410 m. in height. The Emarat Mountain is located to the east of Quchan city, and Atrak River originates from there. The highest peak,i.e., Hezar Masjed is 3,040 m. in height, and is located to the north-west of Mashad . Situated in the northern skirts of this area, the Kalat-e-Nadery region exists.The continuation of Hezar Masjed Ranges in the east, terminate to Qarah Daq and Mozduran Mountains. The altitude of these mountains does not exceed 1650 m. in the Qarah Daq and 1200 m. in Mozduran peaks.These ranges segregate the Sarakhs plains and Pakooh from the Kashaf Rood River. The continuation of the Hezar Masjed Range to the south of Sarakhs forms lower hills which are not more than 800 m. in height .The Harir Rood River or Tajan (at the borders of Iran and Turkemenistan) flows in these hillocks from south to north and forms altitudes 250 m. in height.

 

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Culture and Art

Astan-e-Qods Razavi Museum, Mashad

This museum was inaugurated in the year 1945. The collection of this mausoleum is relative to the Islamic period. The museum of Astan-e-Qods Razavi comprises of three museums that are Markazi, Malek Abad and Ganjineh-ye-Qoran Museums. In this museum an array of valuable and ancient Qoran, ancient books, and archaic samples from the pages of Qorans relative to the early period of Islam are on display. These are mostly in the Kufi script and are written on parchments of deer. Inscriptions in gold which are on display in this museum are in the ‘Thulth’ and ‘Nasta’liq’ scripts written by Ali Reza Abassi in Safavid era.
Other calligraphy materials by calligraphers such as Ostad Mir Emad, Ostad Ahmad Neyrizi and Ostad Kalhor, are present in the museum. Other Materials of interest in this museum are woven textiles which are of great value dating back to the 11-13th centuries AH. and carpets and rugs which belong to the Safavid era.

 

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Tile Work of Mashad

 

Ferdowsi Museum, Toos

The main building of this museum was built in the year 1968 and was originally a ‘traditional’ restaurant. In the year 1982 this structure with slight changes was renovated into a museum. But in the year 1988 bearing the name of the Toos Museum was converted to the museum of anthropology and archeology. The year 1369 (1990), was named as the “Millennium of Collection of the Shahnameh” by UNESCO. At the same time with presentation of materials belonging to Ferdowsi period, when the Exclusive Museum of Ferdowsi was inaugurated.This museum is affiliated and attached to the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

 

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Malek Abad Palace Museum, Mashad

The Palace of Malak Abad, with an area of 1,387 sq. m. was erected in the years 1354-1355 AH (1975-1976) in the garden of Malek Abad. This was utilized as the residence of the Shah during his trips to Mashad. The museum of this palace displays magnificent portraits, carpets and porcelains.

 

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Nader Tomb Museum, Mashad

The construction of this museum had begun in the year 1956 AH and finalized in the year 1961. This was erected on grounds having an area of 1448 sq. m. and was inaugurated in the year 1963. This structure comprises of the Central Library, main hall, sections used for official purposes which are in the surrounding area of the tomb. Samples of implements used in warfare during the period of Nader and a collection of objects relative to millenniums before the birth of Christ are displayed here. This museum is affiliated and attached to the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

 

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Qoran and Nafayes Treasure Museum, Mashad

This museum is located in the south east of the sacred Shrine of His Holiness Imam Reza (AS). This museum was inaugurated in the years 1360-1362 AH (1981-1983). This two storeyed structure was turned into a museum in the year 1985. Each storey of this museum has an area of 400 sq. m. which is fully utilized for exhibit purposes. The first floor displays artistic materials and calligraphy and the second floor displays a part of the Qoran treasury.

Universities

The Governmental universities in Khorassan-Razavi province

Ferdowsi University of Mashad, Mashad University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar University of Tarbiat Moallem, Khorassan Comprehensive University of Applied and Practical Sciences, Imam Reza University, Bahar Institute of Higher Education, Sadjad Institute of Higher Education, Payame Noor University of Mashad, Payame Noor University of Bardaskan, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences.

The Islamic Azad universities in Khorassan-Razavi province

Islamic Azad University of Mashad, Islamic Azad University of Bardaskan, Islamic Azad University of Torbat e Jaam, Islamic Azad University of Sabzevar, Islamic Azad University of Nayshabur, Islamic Azad University of Quchan, Islamic Azad University of Torbat Heydarieh, Islamic Azad University of Gonabad.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, Khorassan Razavi

The important and various types of Khorassan handicrafts are: Carpet weaving, Silk production, She’rbafi, Felt carpet, Wool making, sculptured work on stone, Turquoise stone, Ceramic work and Pipe weaving. Other hand made articles are: Kilim, Giveh, Charoq, Wooden and Metal products, Paintings on leather, etc.

 

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Miniature

 

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Designer,Nashabur

 

Local and Regional Foods, Khorassan Razavi

Various cities and villages of Khorassan province have a variety of local foods such as many types of ‘Aash’. ‘Ishkkeneh’ and other dishes.
Types of Aash: Joosh Pareh, Mahali, lekhshak, Blqur-e-Torsh, Qaliyeh, Balqur-e-sheer, Anar, Omaj, Gooshvareh. borsch, dooqeh and Qeimeh Aash.
Type of Abgoosht: Boz Baash, Kashk, Gandom and Balqoor Abgoosht.
Types of Eshkaneh: Khenjak, Zereshk, Tokhm-e-Morq (Egg), Qorooti, Owjij, Gowjeh (Tomato), Sibzamini (Potato) and Ard-e-Beriyoon Eshkaneh.
Besides these there are other dishes such as Corn Soup, Kabab Narejaki, Qatqab, Polani, Halim, Polow Zireh, Arzeh Polow, Reshteh Farangi Polow, along with different Khoreshts like Kangar, Bamiyeh, Kado Halva and Gojeh farangi Khoreshts.

Local Music and Dances, Khorassan Razavi

The music of Khorassan is one of the oldest Iranian music which is reflected in different songs and melodies of the people of Khorassan. The musical language and dialect of people of Khorassan although having common bases are of different kinds. Out of which mention can be made about the music of Torbat Jaam and Torbat Heydarieh regions (in eastern and southern part of Khrassan), the music of Bojnurd and Quchan in northern and western regions of Khorassan. The basic musical instruments of Khorassan are “Tar”, “Dotar” and “Daff”.