Spiritual Capital of Iran
Holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) is located in the central region of the city of Mashhad which in turn is situated in the center of Khorasan Razavi Province in northeast Iran. It covers 270 square kilometers located in a height around 980 meters above the high sea levels. It has a population of approximately 2,500,000 people and is the second most populated city of Iran, following Tehran. The Kashf-Rood River flows through this city from the northwest towards the east. Mashhad al-Reza extends to the Turkmenistan Republic from the north, to Dargaz and Chenrana from the northwest, while it connects to the towns of Neishabour and Fariman from the west and east and shares borders with Sarakhs and Torbat-e Jaam from southeast and east. Mashhad includes four cities, 4 districts, 15 rural territories and 1190 villages. Regarding the climate, the weather varies depending on the area, but it is mostly moderate and inclined to cold and dry weather. As for the summers, they are hot and dry, while the winters are usually cold and damp.
Historical Background of
Archeologists and evidence both indicate that this city is approximately 800,000 years old and Khorasan is among the oldest centers of civilization within history. The land of Khorasan was considered among the four largest territories of Iran during the Parthians and Sassanid dynasties. Several prominent cultural, political and literary figures come from this part of the country. For instance during the Islamic eras the Abbasside dynasty invited Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (AS) to Mashhad to accept becoming the successor of Ma’amun al-Abbassi, where Imam Reza was later on martyred. Meanwhile, after the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the city of Mashhad proceeded and developed in diverse scientific, cultural and religious grounds and was therefore recognized throughout the world as a religious, mystical and scientific pole.
Mashhad as a Concept
Mashahd literally means intuition, presence and place of martyrdom. During the third century, the term Mashhad referred to the gravestone of the prominent spiritual and religious figures. When Ali ibn Musa al-Reza was martyred by Ma’amun, he was buried in the Haruni Sanabad Tomb. After that, the mentioned tomb was called the Mashahd al-Reza and as time passed, Mashhad as a name became the permanent name of this city. Soltan Mahmoud Qaznavi was the person who attributed this name, Mashhad, to this city for the very first time. The holy city of Mashhad is the second largest religious city in the world since centuries ago. The blessed body of Imam Reza has brought about significant graces in this city just as a glowing gem in the Shiite world, manifesting a religious foundation there.
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