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Almost everything about Mashhad has to do with its role as the holiest city in Iran, even its name (literally: burial place of martyrs). As the capital of Khorasan Province, Iran, Mashhad’s cool year-round temperatures and mesmerizing view of the Shia heartland have much to offer visitors.

Mashhad began life in Sanabad, a village stopover for caravans to Turkmenistan. But in the ninth century, the eighth Shiite Imam Ali Bin Moosa Al Reza, great-grandson of Imam Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad was poisoned by the jealous king of the time. Imam Reza is buried in Mashhad, and his shrine has become one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims after Saint Kaaba in Saudi Arabia and Karbala in Iraq. Over the next thousand years, the temple complex was razed, ransacked, and rebuilt several times depending on the ruling army. Today, the temple is the most important site in the city and in all of Iran. The dress code for women is strict, as is the case in any part of Iran, but a selfish woman is not a necessity for women in public in the city. For women, a simple scarf or roosari, with a jacket and trousers is perfect. Men are also not allowed to wear shorts. These rules are the same for all towns and villages in Iran; it is national law. Photography is not allowed inside the sacred shrine as all visitors will be searched at different doors leading to the shrine. There are separate entrances for women and men.

Imam Raza’s Shrine

The Imam Reza temple complex is also the eighth Imam mausoleum of Shia Islam. The complex includes a library and a Ghoharshad mosque. It is the second largest mosque in the world in terms of size and capacity. Bags and cameras need to be left on outside luggage, only photos and videos can be taken with mobile phones inside the complex. If you enter through the main gate, you will be assigned an English-speaking guide who will show you around for free and give you interesting information. reserves, all for free. If you dress modestly and try to enter through the side door, you can pass and then freely enter the center of the temple, where non-Muslims are generally not allowed, just be careful when they close when it’s time to pray.

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