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Imām Rezā shrine (Persian: حرم امام رضا) in Mashhad, Iran is a complex which contains the mausoleum of Imām Ridhā, the eighth Imām of Twelver Shi'ites. Also contained within the complex include: the Goharshad Mosque, a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, a dining hall for pilgrims, vast prayer halls, and other buildings.
This complex is the center of tourism in Iran, visited by 15 to 20 million pilgrims every year. The shrine itself covers an area of 267,079m2 while the seven courtyards which surround it cover an area of 331,578m2 - totaling 598,657 m2 (6,443,890 sq ft).
In 818 Imam Reza was allegedly martyred by Al-Ma'mun and was buried beside the grave of Harun. After this event this place was called as Mashhad al-Rida (the place of martyrdom of Ali al-Rida). Shias and sunnis started visiting there for pilgrimage of his grave. By the end of the 9th century a dome was built on the grave and many buildings and Bazaars sprang up around it. During more than a millennium it has been devastated and reconstructed several times. 
In 993 the holy shrine was ruined by Saboktakin, a Ghaznavid king. However in 1009 his son Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi ordered the shrine to be repaired and expanded. About 1150 Sultan Sanjar, a Seljuq king, renovated the sanctuary and added new buildings after miraculous healing of his son in the shrine. Later Sultan Muhammad Khodabande, an Ilkhanate king, who converted to Shiism renovated the holy shrine about 1310. The celebrated Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta visited Mashhad in 1333 and reported that it was a large town with abundant fruit trees, streams and mills. A great dome of elegant construction surmounts the noble mausoleum, the walls being decorated with colored tiles. Opposite the tomb of the Imam is the tomb of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, which is surmounted by a platform bearing chandeliers.
Later on, in the 1400s during the Shahrokh era, it became one of the main cities of the Timurid dynasty. In 1418 his wife Goharshad funded the construction of an outstanding mosque beside the shrine, which is known as the Goharshad Mosque.
The complex contains a total of seven courtyards, which cover an area of 331,578 m2 (3,569,080 sq ft):
- Sahn Inqilab - Revolution Courtyard
- Sahn Azadi - Freedom Courtyard
- Sahn Imam Khomeini
- Sahn Gowharshad Mosque
- Sahn Quds
- Sahn Jumhuri Islami - Islamic Republic Courtyard
- Sahn Jameh Razavi - The Razavi Grand Courtyard
From the courtyards, external hallways named after scholars lead to the inner areas of the mosque. They are referred to as Bast (Sanctuary), since they were meant to be a safeguard for the shrine areas:
- Bast Shaykh Toosi - leads to the Central Library
- Bast Shaykh Tabarsi
- Bast Shaykh Hur Ameli
- Bast Shaykh Baha'i
The Bast hallways lead towards a total of 21 internal halls (Riwaq) which surround the burial chamber of Ali al-Ridha. Adjacent to the burial chamber is also a mosque dating back to the 10th century known as, Bala-e-Sar Mosque.
- Imam Ridha
- Holiest sites in Islam (Shia)
- Fatimah al-Ma'sūmah Mosque
- Shāh Abdol Azīm Mosque
- Astan Quds Razavi
- Goharshad Mosque
- ↑ "The Islamic Seminaries At The Holy Shrine". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=12. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Sacred Sites: Mashhad, Iran". sacredsites.com. http://www.sacredsites.com/middle_east/iran/mashad.htm. Retrieved 2006-03-13.
- ↑ "Religious Tourism Potentials Rich". Iran Daily. http://www.iran-daily.com/1383/2211/html/panorama.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- ↑ "The Glory of the Islamic World". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1073. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- ↑ Zabeth (1999) pp. 12-16
- ↑ Zabeth (1999) pp. 13-15
- ↑ Zabeth (1999) p. 15
- ↑ Central Bank of Iran. Banknotes & Coins: 100 Rials. – Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
- ↑ "Sahn(Courtyards) Around the Holy Shrine". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=8. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ "Minarets". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=5. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ "Saqqah Khaneh". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=10. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ "The Bast (Sanctuaries) Around the Holy Shrine". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=9. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ "Riwaq (Porch)". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=7. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ↑ "The Bala-Sar Mosque of the Holy Shrine". Imam Reza (A.S.) Network. http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=1077&page=6. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- Zabeth, Hyder Reza (1999). Landmarks of Mashhad. Alhoda UK. ISBN 9644442210.
- Mashhad, Iran
- 3D Holy Shrine of Imam Reza
- ArchNet,Imam Reza Shrine Complex
- E-pilgrFile: Imam Reza Calling You!
- The Holiest of Shrines: The Astan Quds Razavi; Report of an American tourist
- Square Kufic decoration on the Imām Ridhā shrine