The city is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid is also buried within the shrine.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.
Today, the holy shrine and its museum hold one of the most extensive cultural and artistic treasuries of Iran, in particular manuscript books and paintings.
Mashhad is Iran's second largest automobile production hub. The city’s economy is based mainly on dry fruits, salted nuts, saffron, Iranian sweets like gaz and sohaan, precious stones like agates, turquoise, intricately designed silver jewelry studded with rubies and emeralds, eighteen carat gold jewelry, perfumes, religious souvenirs, trench coats, scarves, termeh, carpets and rugs.
With more than 55% of hotels in Iran, Mashhad is the hub of tourism in Iran
Mashhad active galleries include: Mirak Gallery, Parse Gallery, Rezvan Gallery, Soroush Gallery, and the Narvan Gallery.
Mashhad is proud on behalf of ISESCO was chosen as the capital of the Islamic culture in 2017 (December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2016).
Mashhad, from ancient times until now, has been city of educated and kind people, hosting pilgrims and tourists, scholars, and excelled in fostering the development of Islamic Sciences and Culture, numerous cultural events, artistic and educational, as well as a pioneer in the development of communication technology, worthy of a the title has also become a hub of cultural industries in the future, terminal of the Islamic tourism, health tourism destination as well as a global production center of Humanities.
Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, along the road to Tehran; the tomb of Khajeh Rabi' located 6 kilometers north of the city where there are some inscriptions Among the other sights are the tomb of the poet Ferdowsi in Tus, 24 kilometers distance, and the summer resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh,Akhlamad, Zoshk, and Shandiz.
The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.
Mashhad is twinned with:
• Karachi, Pakistan (May 2012)
• Lahore, Pakistan (2006)
• Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2006)
• Ürümqi, China
• Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan
• Istanbul, Turkey