Imam Reza was the eighth Imam of Shia and one of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad. He lived from 765 to 818 during Abbasid Caliphs (an Islamic steward). Al-Mammon had faced numerous problems. As Imam Reza was a popular figure in that time, Al-Mammon summoned Imam Reza to the capital city of Tus (the former name of Mashhad), to be his successor. Nevertheless, Imam Reza gained more popularity than the Caliphs. So, Al-Mammon decided to eliminate him by poisoning him. Imam Reza was buried in one of the villages near Tus, in Khorasan Province. Later, this village’s name was changed to Mashhad, which means “the place of martyrdom”. Today, Mashhad is one of the largest, most populated, and important cities in Iran.
The first sanctuary of Imam Reza was built in the Safavid era when Islamic art was at its peak. Also, Safavid kings who loved to develop art and Shia religion ordered to build numerous outstanding buildings near the holy shrine. Thus, this complex grew rapidly than ever before and became one of the main religious sites of Muslims.
The kings of the Afsharid and Qajar dynasty built new courtyards and halls. These places, like Azadi Courtyard, have breath-taking architecture and decoration (especially by gold). You can see Persian-Islamic art all over these places.
In the modern era (Pahlavi and contemporary), a new sanctuary replaced the old one and the golden bricks of the dome were renovated. Also, some of the largest courtyards and halls were constructed in these years.
Imam Reza’s holy shrine is the biggest, most important and prominent religious center of Iran that consists of the most features of Persian-Islamic architecture that many pilgrims from Iran and all around the world go to this place every year.
Imam Reza’s (PBUH) holy body buried in the Hamid Ebn Ghahbe garden beside the grave of Abbasid Khalife Harun with the martyrdom of Imam Reza in 203 AH in Tous and in fact, the first building of this holy shrine was the Harun Alrashid monument then the new holy shrine established on that wall and Tous changed to Mashhad-Al-Reza. Shrine means a square place which consists of the holy monument such as dome, shrine’s stone, holy shrine.
The Imam Reza’s holy shrine is a complex of Shrine, dome, finial, Ravagh, Bast, courtyards, porches, mosques, Saqakhaneh which are the most worthwhile of architectural decoration. Also, Astane Qods Razavi is a complex of holy shrine, systems, institutions, cultural, industrials, agricultural and therapeutic institutions which it’s administrative and management relied on pilgrims vows and endowments.
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