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Iran Ziyarat Guide: Shrines in Iran
To level up and see the world beyond all the materialistic, worldly point of view when you get lost in the darkness is all that helps: a personal, spiritual experience in which you get to see things and matters clearer and you get to deal with them easier than ever. Iran’s full of aesthetic landscapes, with a multiplicity of different types of jewelry scattered all over the grand heart of this land. Although, history and the culture of this country is of great importance and can be the shelter you’re looking for, it is through religion and it merging into the culture that Persian people could create such magical atmosphere, culture and architecture. A great part of this architecture evolved by the time when the best architects of Iran were held in charge of building mosques and shrines and restoring them through the time to honor the spiritual position of Imams.
Ziyarat which means visiting the religious and holy sites related to holy figures like the descendants of the prophet Muhammad. Being an important element in Islamic culture, the tradition of Ziarat is of high value in Persian culture and many Muslims as well go to Iran to observe this particular aspect of Persian culture and experience the same. Not only are you provided with an authentic, unique experience of spiritual elevation in a pilgrimage to Iran, but you’ll get to discover all the history behind the building, all the stories being told in the praying rooms and learn about the Ziyarat culture which has formed an important part of Persian people lives. Holy shrines in Iran are a must-visit for the tourists who have no idea what they will experience in a place that is both spiritually rich and religiously impressive. What would be more surprising to the eyes of the visitor are the picturesque scenes, astonishing tiling on the walls and mesmerizing mirror works inside the prayer rooms. The gilded dome of the shrines grasp your soul and take you to the faraway horizons you’ve never noticed before: it’s a journey into the very self and bringing peace about to the soul.
Where are the main Ziyarat sites and holy places in Iran?
For many years Iran has been a perfect destination for Muslims from all around the world having housed some of the most beautiful, stunning shrines in its chest accompanying special events that are worth experiencing. There are 6 main holy shrines in different cities of Iran which are shining among all the hundreds of holy places in this country. The cities of Mashhad, Tehran, and Qom are among the top places to go to Ziyarat in Iran.
Imam Reza Holy Shrine in Mashhad; The Heart of Shia
Step into this great complex, and by each step, invite yourself to an otherworldly place. You’ll see tears in the eyes of the pilgrims and Zuwaars, People who came to visit their honored Imam from faraway distances to talk him through their great troubles and ask for his help. In the main building, the glorious shrine of Imam Reza shines even through the blurry gaze of his visitors. The faith you feel they have for the eighth Shia Imam is adorable; they believe that he hears them and grants them miracles in their lives. Your experience in this complex is not what you can describe through words like delightful, melancholic or impressing; it goes beyond words and tales. Here, you get to meet Muslims coming from different countries who get along very well and share their particular moment of reflection in a place that has developed through hundreds of years.
This impressive complex includes many mosques such as the famous Goharshad Mosque with various interior designs and architectures. All the glory and grandeur lies in the mixture of Islam with the ancient, unique architecture of Iranians which leads to the current Muqarnas entrances and domes, Qashani tilework, Quran calligraphy and amazing mirror work. The exceptional architecture goes hand in hand with the spiritual value of this religious site and form such unified and inseparable heritage that everyone finds worth visiting. Interesting museums, a splendid library, seminaries, and the Razavi Islamic sciences University are a small part of this considerably extensive complex.
Fatima Masumeh Shrine in the Religious city of Iran, Qom
Qom is believed to be the religious center of Iran and the city with the most pilgrims after Mashhad. The magnetic, holy gem shining brightly at the center of this city is the Fatima Masumeh Shrine. The intricate tilework and the picture of golden dome accompanied by the azure blue and turquoise color on the minarets absorb the soul of the prayers and grants them an unbelievably level of calmness and tranquility. Fatima Masumeh is the sister of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam whose shrine is located in Mashhad. Many believers go all the way to Qom to honor the pure body of this noticeable lady whose blessed soul hears and endows her guests with miracles.
Fatima Masumeh Shrine catches everyone’s attention when it comes to architectural beauty and staggering design of patterns. The floral motifs under the alcoves and the impressive calligraphy and inscriptions in perfect harmony with the spirit of the place mesmerize you and paralyze your muscles. However, once you’re fed with the delight of the beauty surrounding you in the courtyard, it is the murmuring charm of the shrine itself that calls upon you. Discover the hidden elegance in every inch of this religious site and enjoy a relaxing time calling on the sacred lady who intercedes for the entrance of Shias to heaven on the Day of Judgement.
Shah Abdol-Azim Shrine in the Historical Rey County
Enfolding three main shrines in its bosom, Shahr-e Rey is one of the top Ziyarat destinations in Iran and Tehran; therefore, many pilgrims visit this sacred site each year. The main Shrine belongs to Hazrat Abdol Azim, the son of Imam Hasan, and the other two belong to Imamzadeh Hamzeh, Imam Reza’s brother, and Imamzadeh Taher, Imam Sajjad’s son. Pilgrims come from different areas to ask for help from these great persons and find peace deep in their chests. This holy complex has gone under restorations and the evolution of its structure and architecture includes many heritages of different dynasties such as the Kufic inscriptions of the Seljuq and the Iwans remarking the Safavid touch on the site. Many religious scholars and royalties such as Naser al-Din Shah Qajar are buried in this remarkable complex. The more breathtaking feature of the interior part of the structure is the exquisite mirror work which boasts to be one of the most beautiful of the type and invites the spirit of the believers to devotion and piety.
Shah Cheragh Shrine
Located among the treasures of the city of flowers and nightingales, Shiraz, Shah Cheragh Shrine is one of the most important Ziarat destinations which is also very popular among the tourists. Referred to as the shrine of “the King of Light”, this holy shrine has housed two brothers of Imam Reza in its serene and sacred core. One legend has it that Ayatollah Dastghaib discovered the exact place of this tomb by seeing a light emitting from the ground in a graveyard. Although we don’t know for sure it that is true. The enchanting spiritual power of this holy site multiplies as you step in the interior part of the shrine where the light of great chandeliers among the main halls are absorbed and reflected through the alluring glasses and mirrors that have covered all the ceiling. The beauty and magnificence levitating in this holy shrine grabs your soul and takes it far away from the chaotic thoughts of everyday life. Visiting this holy shrine in Iran is a must-do. However, note that for traveling to Shiraz you need to get a tourist visa. With your Pilgrimage Visa (Type C) you can only travel through Tehran, Mashhad and Qom. You can find more information about Iran Pilgrimage Visa and its requirements here: Iran Pilgrimage Visa
Imamzadeh Saleh Shrine above the Highlands of Tehran
The azure blue dome atop Valiasr Street signs off the epic mosque nestling there right below the snow-capped mountains of Alborz. The magnified floral motifs on the dome and stunning turquoise Patterns on the minarets has turned this mosque into a center of attraction both for local and foreign pilgrims. Under the astonishing dome of this Shrine lies the body and spirit of Saleh, the son of the seventh Shia Imam whose blessedness has always been a shelter for the Muslims. It is both the mixing architecture of the Safavid and Qajar dynasty and the religious strength floating in the atmosphere that induces everyone to visit this holy place in Iran. This sacred site is the calmness injection to the heart of Tehran’s bustling city. Close to this epic mosque stretches one of the old parts of the city of Tehran with its catchy, appealing fabric. Why not spend some time in Tajrish Bazaar after Ziyarat in Imamzadeh Saleh Shrine and do some shopping and buy some souvenirs from the small stores lined up next to each other?
Imam Khomeini Shrine
The tomb of the founder of Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the respected places in Iran which has been at the center of attention of many Muslims in the great capital of Iran. Due to the fact that this complex was built around 40 years ago, both the interior and exterior space are modernly and luxuriously designed. The whole complex includes the tomb of Imam Khomeini’s wife, his second son, and the former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. However, it is the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini that catches the eyes of the visitor at the very center of the main hall. The golden dome above the zarih is embellished by 72 tulips symbolizing the 72 followers of Imam Husayn who were martyred in Karbala and can be seen on your left as your plane lands in Tehran IKA Airport. This shrine in located right next to Behesht-e Zahra which is the largest cemetery in Iran and visited by most people who honor the dead and the martyrs of Islam in their hearts.
How to Perform Ziyarat
The very concept of Ziyarat refers to pilgrimages and visiting the holy shrines related to the prophet Muhammad and his descendants. There are customs and traditions that great religious figures and Imams have invited us to commit while performing Ziyarat. Committing to these rituals is both a sign of our acknowledgement and respect towards the sacred body of the buried. The ordinary rituals contain reading Ziyarat prayers (Ziyarat Nāmeh), reading Dua and Quran. Although the beauty of these shrines are spellbinding, you won’t find Muslims taking pictures or photographing; rather you see them grasping to this beauty and grandeur as a tool to get closer to God and opening up their heart to Allah.
Wearing chador (a type of cloak worn by Muslim women) while performing Ziyarat is one of the tips on Ziyarat Culture in Iran; however, do not worry if you don’t have your chador with yourself. At the entrance of all the holy shrines in Iran, you will be provided with beautifully floral chadors. In Iran, people have their own way of making promises and they define signs for what they do in return for what they sincerely ask; women usually tie green fabrics as they touch the zarih and think of their resolutions and many families distribute free food among the people.