Mashhad northeastern city of Iran is the capital of Khorasan Razavi province. Mashhad means a place of martyrdom and it was Imam Reza (PBUH), a descendent of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&F), who was martyred and buried here in 818 CE.
In Persian, khor means sun and san means place; together it means the place where the sun rises.
Today, the sun is rising high in Mashhad as it has been named the religious capital of Iran and annually it hosts over 20 million pilgrims and tourists from around Iran and the world. In the past, Khorasan was a crossroad for the Silk Road and presently, all major air, rail, and roadways connect Mashhad to the rest of the nation as well as the world; thus, restoring a part of this historic roadway.
The official language spoken is Persian or Farsi. However, a good portion of the youth and shopkeepers can understand and speak some English and around the Holy Shrine some can speak Arabic.
Mashhad is a city that suits the taste of everyone. There is a variety of shopping centers and traditional bazaars selling traditional and religious items; in addition to trendy clothing, household items, and high tech goods.
Perhaps the most popular souvenir of Mashhad is saffron. It is sold in traditional measurements called mesghal.
Other popular items are precious turquoise stones and semi-precious stones, as well as silver and 18 karat gold jewelry.
Foodstuffs include traditional-handmade rock candy (nabat), zeresk (barberries), mixed-hand roasted nuts and seeds (ajeel), dried sour cherries, plums, peaches and golden raisins and fruit rolls.
Traditional stone carving and wood cutouts reflecting Iran’s ancient culture and religious background are popular items to buy as well.
Carpets and kilims are another popular purchase.
Prayer beads made from semi-precious stones, glass, wood, and plastic, in various sizes and colors are perhaps the most popular.
The Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH)
The Religious Complex of Imam Reza consists of a very vast space that encompasses a variety of elements and monuments including the Shrine itself, a museum, a number of vast porches for mass prayer ceremonies and rituals and a number of some other constructs that are rooted in the Islamic architectural style. The most beautiful and sublime Iranian arts, say, mirrorwork, muqarnas-work, tile-work, are applied in the ornamentation and decoration of the Complex.
The weather in Mashhad is mountainous and mild. Nevertheless, it is possible that its cold and arid winters strike those visitors and travelers who come to this city from more humid regions of the globe as unpleasant.
The citizens of Mashhad are people known for their high economically-minded intelligence and since, from old days to the present time, having interaction with tourists has been an inseparable part of their life, can be considered as very apt hosts. The external outlook of the city is more or less religious. So, addressing and respecting the religious norms and beliefs is one of those issues that the tourists visiting the city are advised to bear in mind. You can review the norms in question here on this very website in the section related to Mashhad's attractions.
Mashhad is considered as one of the major pivots of Iran's agriculture and economy and thus a central artery of the nation's economy in general. Carpet-weaving, turquoise accessories and leather industry are among the most profitable and popular handicraft industries in this area of Iran. Moreover, this is the area in which saffron cultivation, suggestively known as the "Red Gold," comes first throughout the country and over 94% of the saffron produced in the entire world is the product of this area alone.
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