irman3 Mashad

The provincial capital of Khorassan, Iran's largest province, is itselfThe nations second largest city. It is also Iranís holiest city and a place of pilgrimage For Shi'ite Moslems from all over the world.  Khorassan, one of Iran's most important provinces both geographically and historically,once included parts of Afghanistan,Tadjikestan, Turkomanistan and Uzbakistanunder the entity of the Greater Khorassan. Itis also the cradle of the Persian (Farsi)language and the civilization of eastern Iran,and the homeland of many great Iranian poets, writers and scholars.Khorassan s most recent history is associated with the Afshar Dynasty and its founder Nader Shah Afshar. A number of edificesincluding the Qasr-e-Khorshid (Sun Palace), scattered along the Kalat-e-Naderi, where Nader Shah kept his headquarters, date from this period (1736-1747). Nader is buried in Mashad in a modern mausoleum.Imam Reza, the eight Shiite Imam, died in 818 AD. in the small village of Sanabad in Khorassan, and was buried next to Abbasid Caliph, Harun-al-Rashid. The Shi'ite believethat he was murdered, and his tomb came to be known as Mashad, or the place of martyrdom.

Iran, Mashad, Bagh-Nader

Today pilgrims pass through chambers of glittering mirror work and tiles to reach the tomb of Imam Reza. The chambers are always filled with hundreds of people praying and reciting the Koran. Among Iranian kings whocontributed to the building and decoration of the Imam Reza Shrine is Shah Abbas I, who walked to Mashad from Isfahan, further Demonstrating his devotion by covering thedome over the tomb chamber with sheets of gilded copper in 1607.The mosque of Gowhar Shad stands to the south, and to the left is the entrance portal to the old court also built by Shah Abbas, capped by a small pavilion called the Naghareh Khaneh or Drum Tower, where drums and trumpets daily salute the rising and setting sun. The mosque built during the reign of Timurid monarch Shahrokh, by his pious wife, Gowhar Shad between 1405 and 1418 is one of the finest in Iran.The Imam Reza Shrine complex including one of the richest libraries of manuscripts and hand written books, is truly one of the most magnificent religious centers anywhere in the world.

: Iranís greatest epic poet Ferdowsi, is buried at Toos, near Mashad where his statue also stands.Iran, Mashad, Imam Reza Holyplace Almost every Iranian can recite part of the Shahnameh or Book of Kings, composed in 994 ND., in which Ferdowsi recounted in 60,000 verses the early history of Persia.TORBAT-E-JAM: Sheikh Ahmad-ibn-Jami was a Sufi theologian and poet who spent most of his life in the small town of Torbat-e-Jam, in eastern Khorassan named after the saint. After his death in 1142, the shrine expanded around the humble unroofed tomb of the Sheikh with the addition of a tall portal and mosque built in 1440.

: The border crossing point from Afghanistan into northern Iran which contains one of the finest Timurid structures in the country. The Maulana Mosque and Shrine were built in the early 15th century, probably under Shahrokh, the fourth son ofTamerlane, to honour the remains of Sheikh Aain-al-Din, a local mystic who died several centuries before.

: One of the oldest and most elaborate caravanserais, a masterpiece of Seljuq architecture, built about 1120 AD. The trade routes of the twelfth century have shifted, leaving the splendid structure standing alone among low hills north east of Mashad. The complexity of Robat-e-Sharaf suggests that it may have been used by the Seljuq rulers as a temporary residence.

: The villagers of southern Khorassan have developed through the centuries an efficient device for harnessing the desert wind to grind their grain into flour. Khwaf was an important center during the 10th century A.D., famous for its fruits and silk. Besides the wind mill, another place of interest in Khwaf is the Khargerd Madrasseh built during the reign of Shahrokh about 1444-45, still retaining some fine tilework.

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