Mashhad city, the capital of Razavi Khorasan province, is 970 m above sea level and at a distance of 925 km from Tehran. Mashhad is one of the most important and largest cities of Iran. The meaning of Mashhad is “the place of martyrdom”. In 817 A.D., Imam Reza (peace be upon him), the 8th Imam of the Shias, was martyred in this city. Since Shias feel great respect and love for their imams, Mashhad developed into a large and prominent city. At first Mashhad was one of the dependencies of the city of Toos, which was subjected to invasion by different aggressors. The Mongol invasion turned it into ruins, and its people gradually moved to the region.
Razavi Khorasan province is the most important and the main biological center in eastern part of Iran. The province is considered as center of social, economic and cultural activities of the country. Razavi Khorasan enjoys prominence and credit among other parts of Iran regarding comprising one of the main Shiite’s Holy centers, Razavi Holy shrine and neighboring countries including Turkmenistan, Afghanistan & also its religious kind of tourism, business and expanding strategic issues. It is surrounded by the Republic of Turkmenistan on the north, Afghanistan on the east, Iranian provinces of North Khorasan and Semnan and South Khorasan in the south. Regarding its old dependencies on North & South Khorasan provinces, Razavi Khorasan has still preserved its social & economic centrality in comparison with the mentioned provinces. Also, enjoying 834 kilometer joint borders with its two neighboring countries results in situation in which the province can perform its cultural & social relations among tree neighboring countries. Cultural, governmental & ethnical blending in some courses of history in border regions and existence of common languages, rituals and customs among the local people have led to their prolonged cooperation. Although, some political changes have led to people’s disconnection in border line people’s relationships in recent decades, however, the province enjoys required economic ties and old-aged border lines such as Dogharoon in Afghanistan’s border and Lotf Abad & Bajgiran on Turkmenistan border can lead to reach economic relations among the countries and Khorasan province. Because it’s large-scale agriculture, Khorasan occupies the first rank in terms of agriculture in Iran. The major agricultural products of this province are: wheat, grains, cotton, saffron, and sugar beet. The saffron that grows in this province is world renowned for its quality. The major industries of Khorasan are those of minerals, foodstuffs, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronics, textiles, and other industries related to agriculture.This province is cold and relatively rainy, in the northern parts; temperate, in the central parts; and dry and warm, in the southern parts. And in the center of the province the weather is of moderate climate type. Most of the highlands of Khorasan stand in northern parts. The average temperature of Mashhad is 17.5°C in spring, 24°C in summer, 10.2°C in autumn and 3°C in winter. The average temperature of Mashhad over the past 30 years has been 13.9°C; average relative humidity at 06:30 hours, 70%, and at 12:30, 41% average annual rainfall, 269.5 mm; maximum amount of rainfall per day, 47mm; average number of days with the temperature below 0°C, 93.3; number of hours of sunshine over the year, 2,841.2; and the maximum wind speed, 21.5 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 300°.
Culture and literature
Khorasan has always been one of the centers of Persian language and culture. It has raised a large number of poets and writers, who have played significant roles in the cultural richness of iran. Ferdowsi, the great epic poet; Hakim Omar Khayyam, whose “rubaiyats” have become famous throughout the world; Attar Neyshabouri, one of the greatest Iranian Sufis; Haj Mola Hadi sabzevari, an Islamic philosopher; Imam Mohammad Ghazali the great philosopher; Mehdi akhavan Saless, a contemporary poet; Dr.Mohamad Reza shafie Kadkani, an outstanding contemporary poet and researcher, and many others scientists, poets, Sufis, etc… are among those who emerged in Khorasan and who have contributed to the development of Iranian-Islamic culture.
Major Geographical Features
Major rivers: Atrak, 500 km long, is one of the longest rivers of Iran. It originates from mountains around Ghoochan, runs westwards, passes over a long distance and finally ends in the Caspian Sea. Its average width is 4 m, and its depth, one m. The area of the basin of this river is 28,500 km. at certain points along the River, the banks of the river provide excellent opportunities for recreation. Other major rivers of this province are Ghare Sou River, 255km, and Kashfrood River, 300km long.
Bazangan Lake: This is the only lake in this province. It is 12 m deep in average, and 80 hectares in area which situated in south part of Hezar Masjed Mountains.
Hot ware springs(the major hot water of this province are): Shahan Garmab which lies on the Mashhad-Sarakhs road; Taleghan Kouh spring water, 8 km from Sabzevar-Neyshabour road; and Quchan Garmab spring, on Shirvan-Quchan road.
Major natural sights
The valleys that lie close to Atrak and Kashfrood Rivers provide great opportunities for recreation. Kouh Sangi promenade bordering on Mashhad and Oghaz region in Shirvan are among natural promenades in this province.
The highest peaks of this province are the peak of Hezar Masjed, with a height of 3,250 m, located between Quchan and Dargaz, and the peak of Binalood, 3150 m
Name: The Holy Shrine Of Imam Reza (peace be upon him)
Type: A Tomb and Shrine complex with related building. Description: A grand collection of buildings constructed in the Islamic era around the holy shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam,: Among innocent Shia Imam; Imam Reza is the only one Imam whose tomb is situated in Iran, so Iranians feel great affection and respect for him. Each year thousands of pilgrims travel to Khorasan province to see his Shrine from the farthest parts of Iran and from other Islamic countries. This complex consists of the shrine of Imam Reza, numerous courtyards and portals, Gohar Shad Mosque, a library, the University Islamic Sciences, a museum and other buildings all of which have taken a long time to build next to each other and have created this current complex. In addition to its religious and spiritual values, this collection is considered as one of the most significant monuments of Iran as regard architectural and decorative arts. Its golden dome, the holy shrine and minarets around it, draw many visitors. Every year, on several occasions of major religious festival, high ranking religious and state officials of country, with the cooperation of the custodianship of the sacred shrine, remove dust from the holy shrine of Imam Reza and wash it with pure Iranian rose-water. This ritual has a special glory and spirituality.
Name: Gohar Shad Mosque
Type: Mosque. Description: This mosque is situated south of the holy shrine of Imam Reza. Its tile-work, decorations and inscriptions, enjoy great religious and historical significance.
Name: Torbate Sheikh Jam
Type: Shrine. Description: The Tomb of Sheikh Ahmad Jam Nameghi is one of the famous Sufis of Khorasan, through several years, multiple domes, mosques, Khanegah and schools was constructed around it, and it has become a significant shrine and historical complex.
Name: Ardakan Tower
Type: tower and Tomb. Description: In spite of the passage of more than thousand years, this tower which has a height of 35 m, is still considered as one of the most remarkable monuments, as regards architectural style.
Name: The Tomb of Khaje Rabi
Type: Tomb. Description: This glorious and remarkable monument is the tomb of a devout Moslem of the first century H.G. (7th century A.D.) who is very much respected by Iranians. The current monument was constructed in the Safavid era.
Name: Khorshidi palace
Type: palace. Description: this monuments was once the residence of the royal family. It is decorated is located in the middle of it.
Name: The Tomb of Ferdowsi
Type: Tomb. Description: This monument is the tomb of the Iranian epic poet, the creator of Shahnameh, Hakim Abolghasem Ferdowsi. In this monument some Ferdowsi’s poem are depicted in form of cravings. Ferdowsi is considered equal to the Greek epic poet, Homer.
Type: Mosque. Description: The dome and minarets of this mosque display exquisite tile work.
Name: The Tomb Of Sheikh Attar Neyshabouri
Type: Tomb. Description: This monument, located 6 km east of Neyshabour, is the tomb of one of the greatest Iranian Sufis, Sheikh Farideddin Attar. He lived about 800 years ago, and has been an elder and a leader for a large number of mystic followers, in his time and since. Today a great, number of mystic followers also go on pilgrimage to his tomb.
Name: The Tomb of Khayyam Type: Tomb. Description: This tomb belongs to the great Iranian poet, mathematician and astrologer, Omar Khayam whose “robaiyats” only have become famous throughout the world.
Museum of Astane Ghodse Razavi (related to the Sacred Shrine of Imam Reza (peace be upon him): Articles related to Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (peace of upon him), including the first stone of the Imam’s tomb and other historic items are put on display in this museum.
Stamp Museum of Astane Ghodse Razavi: Old Iranian and foreign stamps, including the first Iranian postage stamp, are kept in this museum.
Museum of Mashhad’s History: About 100 pictures of Mashhad and its outstanding personalities are displayed in this museum.
Toos Museum: Museum of archeology and anthropology.
Carpet Museum: Museum of old and new carpets.
Koran Museum: Museum of handwritten and precious Korans.
Museum of presents offer by the leader: Exquisite and handwritten Korans have been put on display in this museum.
Musem of Khashmar’s Martyrs: photographs, testaments, diaries and personal belongings of the martyrs are put on display in this museum.
Quchan museum: Museum of anthropology.
Tomb and Museum of Nadershah’s Treasures: Museum of implements and equipment of war related to Nader Shah and also Ghajar period.
Neyshabour Museum: Museum of ancient monuments.
Mashhad: Tomb of Khaje Morad, Imam Zade Yahya, Gonbad Sabz, Imam Reza Bazaar, Tom of Pire Palandooz, Dome of Haruniye, Navab School
Neyshabour: Tomb of Gadamgah, Emamzade Mahrough, Tomb of Kamalolmolk
Sabzevar: Mosque of Chashm, Tomb of Pir Morad, Fakhriye School, Imam Zade Seyied Ali Akbar
Torbat Hydariye: Sheikh Heydar, Tomb of Shah Sanjan
The province of Khorasan enjoys special fame for its handicrafts. The most significant handicraft of Khorasan is carpet weaving, pottery, stone-work, turquoise cutting, felt making and hand weaving.