Another famous city in Iran with a long history is Mashhad .It is located in the northeast of the country, and is around 328 km2 area. It is the second most populous city of Iran after Tehran . Based on the census in 2011, the population of Mashhad is 2,766,258. It is along the famous Silk Road and the main Shia center in Iran.
What has brought this city such a reputation is none other than Imam Reza. He is the 8th Shia Imam who was martyred by the Abbasian governor (al-Ma’mun ) in 818. In that time, Mashhad was just a small city called Mashhad al-Ridha that means the place of martyrdom of Imam reza (al-Ridha) . Now it is the second largest holy city of the world and was chosen by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) as the capital of Islamic culture in 2017.
Although Mashhad in comparison to famous cities like Isfahan and Shiraz, has no historical highlights it is worth visiting because:
- It is the home of 8th Shia Imam .I.e. Imam reza
- It was the largest oasis along the Silk Road
- Mashhad is also known because it is the buried place of Ferdowsi who is the author of Shahnameh, the longest epic poem in the world.
In Iran you can hardly find someone who has not traveled to Mashhad. This is probably because of the religious roots that the Iranians have, but if you do not have these religious roots, nevertheless it does not reduce the attractions of Mashhad, and certainly this city can surprise you like the rest of the cities of Iran.