Tag Archives: Razavi Khorasan Province

Photo Series: Autumn in Iran – Mashhad

Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the north east of the country close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its population is 3,131,586. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is also well-known and respected for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam.

Sources: Tasnim News, Wikipedia | Mashhad

Iran’s Radkan (East) Tower a sophisticated instrument for studying the stars built in AD 1261

Radkan (East) Tower or Mil-i Sharq Radkan lies near Radkan Village, 25km away of Chenaran in Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran. According to Iranian archaeo-astronomer Manoochehr Arian, it was actually a highly sophisticated instrument for studying the stars built in AD 1261 by astronomers led by Nasruddin Tusi (Nasir Al-Tusi; 1201–74).

The round, conical-topped brick tower was designed so that the sun shines directly through its doors and niches on solstice and equinox days. It was possibly with data collected here and at his more famous observatory at Maraqeh that Tusi managed to calculate the earth’s diameter and explain discrepancies between Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s theories of planetary movement.

Based on epigraphic remnants, German archaeologist and Iranologist Ernst Herzfeld, has argued that the tomb tower belongs to Amir Arghun Khan, a residence of Radkan who died in 1274. The tomb is cylindrical, with an octagonal burial chamber crowned by a conical dome. It is entered from two axial entrances facing southeast and northwest.

The thirty-six engaged columns enveloping its exterior between the base and the dome give the tomb a wavy outline. A spiraling stair encased within the monument’s walls gives access to the inner dome, of which only the base remains. The double dome construction of the roof has a long history in the tomb towers built in Iran during the Seljuk period (roughly 1050-1150) and before. Gunbad-i Qabus in Gorgan is the first example of a monumental tomb structure that employs a double dome construction with an outer conical roof covering an inner hemispherical one.

Sources: Lonely Planet | Radkan, Iran, ArchNet | Mil-i Sharq Radkan, Mehr News Agency, Facebook.com | Ariana Ahangary, citypedia.ir, The best travelled | Witold Repetowicz

Iran’s Razavi Khorasan Province: Mashhad’s Spring Flower Festival (Photos)

Each year, the city of Mashhad celebrates spring with a Flower Festival. More than eight million bulbous flowers (e.g. tulips) are being planted in parks and streets and can be enjoyed until mid-May.

Razavi Khorasan, Iran - Mashhad - MapMashhad (Persian: مشهد‎) with 3.150.000 inhabitants is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.

The city is located in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns. It is only about 250km (160 mi) away from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Long a center of secular and religious learning, Mashhad has been a center for the arts and for the sciences. The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the Madrassa of Ayatollah Al-Khoei, originally built in the seventeenth century, and the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, founded in 1984, are located here.

Mashhad is also home to one of the oldest libraries of the Middle-East with a history of over six centuries. The Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum, which is part of the Astan-e Quds Razavi Complex, is home to over 70,000 rare manuscripts from various historical eras. There are some six million historical documents in the foundation’s central library.

Apart from Imam Reza shrine, there are a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nadir Shah, Kooh Sangi park and the Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex.

Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, the tomb of Khajeh Rabi’ where there are some inscriptions by the renowned Safavid calligrapher Reza Abbasi and the tomb of Khajeh Abasalt. In Tus, 24km away from Mashhad, is the tomb of Ferdowsi. The summer resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh, Akhlamad, Zoshk and Shandiz are also nearby.

The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.

Other articles about Razavi Khorasan Province: The other Iran | Razavi Khorasan Province

Sources: IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Mashhad, Tasnim News Agency | Photos

Iran’s Ancient City Nishapur in Razavi Khorasan Province

Nishapur or Nishabur from Middle Persian “New-Shabuhr” (meaning New City of Shapur, Fair Shapur, or Perfect built of Shapur) is a city in the Razavi Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Mount Binalud. It has an estimated population of 239.000 (as of 2011). Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.

The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830. In 1037 it was selected as the capital of Seljuq dynasty by Tughril.

It reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed by Mongols in 1221, and further ruined by other invasions and earthquakes in the 13th century.

After that time, a much smaller settlement was established just north of the ancient town, and the once bustling metropolis lay underground—until a team of excavators from the Metropolitan Museum arrived in the mid-twentieth century. They worked at Nishapur between 1935 and 1940, returning for a final season in the winter of 1947–48.

The excavators had been drawn to the city because of its fame in the medieval period, when it flourished as a regional capital and was home to many religious scholars. It was also known as an economic center—Nishapur was located on the Silk Road.

The city was an important center for the manufacture of glass, metal, and stone vessels. The distinctive ceramics produced in Nishapur were traded around the region, and have been found at Herat, Merv, and Samarqand.

In addition, Nishapur was a source of turquoise and a center for growing cotton, producing cotton textiles as well as several types of fabric incorporating silk. One of the most unusual products of Nishapur, however, was its edible earth, which was believed to have curative properties.

Images of some artefacts found in Nishapur during the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations there

Sources: Wikipedia | Nishapur, Mehr News Agency, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo Series: Autumn in Iran – Sabzevar, Razavi Khorasan Province

Sabzevar is a city of 200.000 inhabitants in Razavi Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran. It is the commercial center for an agricultural region producing grapes and raisins. There is some small-scale industry, for food processing, cooperware and electric motors. Through the old bazaar of Sabzevar fresh, dried, and preserved fruits and vegetables are exported.

In ancient times it was called Beihagh (Beyhaq). The history of Sabzevar goes back to the 1st millennium BC. Ancient remains include fire-temple ‘Azar Barzin’ which is still visible. Mil-e Khosrow Gerd (meaning “The brick tower of king Khosrau) is the highest brick tower in the city. This ancient brick tower dates back to 6th century and was part of city that no longer exists. This brick tower served as a travel guide for caravans traveling from Nishapur to Rey. Near Sabzevar are also remainings of yakhchals (ice houses or ice pits).

Sources: Wikipedia | Sabzevar, adayinlife.org, Mehr News

1001 Libraries to see before you die!

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Public Libraries Section together with the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section launched in Lyon at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress a project called 1001 libraries to see before you die.

This online initiative aims to bring together best practice examples of public library buildings and spaces from around the world. The libraries can be nominated for different criteria – the library building, the location, the innovative programs or the community engagement.

Currently the list is holding two Iranian libraries: the Astan Quds Razavi Library in Mashhad and the Bazar Library in Tehran.

Mashhad’s Astan Quds Razavi Library has been selected by the Open Education Database (OEDB) among the 20 Libraries that have changed the world in 2012 and three of the collections preserved in the central library are registered in the list of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

Tehran’s Bazar Library was chosen for its historical building which belonged to a relative of Naseruddin Shah dating back to 150 years.

More information: https://1001libraries.wordpress.com/category/iran/

Iran’s Razavi Khorasan Province: Shamkhal Canyon

Somewhere not far from the border between Iran and Turkmenistan there is a huge and unbelievably beautiful valley called Shamkhal. The name comes from a village near that. It is located in west northern of Quchan. It is about 18 km long; going through many springs and falls within rocky walls which in some parts are 200 meters high.

Source: Irpedia | Photos of Iran | Shamkhal Valley