• Mashhad At a Glance

         

        Mashhad

         
        Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Its population is 3,131,586 . It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
         
        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.
         
        Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian literary figures and artists such as Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, the famous contemporary poet, and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, the traditional Iranian singer and composer. Ferdowsi and Akhavan Sales are both buried in Tus, an ancient city that is considered to be the main origin of the current city of Mashhad.
         
        Geography and demographics
         
        The city is located at 36.20º North latitude and 59.35º East longitude, in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns. It is only about 250 km (160 mi) from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
         
        The city is the administrative center of Mashhad County (or the Shahrestan of Mashhad) as well as the somewhat smaller district (Bakhsh) of Mashhad. The city itself, excluding parts of the surrounding Bakhsh and Shahrestan, is divided into 13 smaller administrative units, with a total population of more than 3 million.[1]
         
        The vast majority of Mashhadi people are ethnic Persians, who form over 95% of the city's population. Other ethnic groups include Kurdish and Turkmen people who have emigrated recently to the city from the North Khorasan province. The people of Mashhad who look like Asians are of Turkmen or Hazara descent.
         
        Among the non-Iranians, there are immigrant population of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The Afghan immigrants have several neighborhoods around the city. One of the districts inhabited by Afghan immigrants is Golshahr.
         
        There are also over 20 million pilgrims who visit the city every year.
         
        Economy
         
         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. Among the major industries in the city, there is nutrition industries, clothing, leather, textiles, chemicals, steel and non-metallic mineral industries, construction materials factories, handicraft industry and metal industries. With more than 55% of hotels in Iran, Mashhad is the hub of tourism in Iran. In the geography of tourism, religious places known as the most powerful hub to attract travelers around the world, every year 20 to 30 million pilgrims from Iran and more than 2 million pilgrims and tourists from around the world come to Mashhad. Mashhad is one of the main producers of leather products in the region. The city's International Exhibition Center is the second most active exhibition center after Tehran, which due to proximity to Central Asian countries hosts dozens of international exhibitions each year. Companies such as Smart-innovators in Mashhad are pioneers in electrical and computer technology.
         
        According to Mashhad Municipality about the economy in this city, numerous large and medium industrial parks are situated throughout the province, the largest being in Mashhad. The main industries range from mining, such as precious turquoise stone, marble, granite, cement, ceramic tiles, textiles, leather, copper, metals, wood, carpets, fruit, food products, especially canned goods, and the most valuable being high quality Saffron, which dominates about 90% of the total world production.(See section on Local Souvenirs of Mashhad). Furthermore, based on the annual rate of pilgrims visiting this city the Mashhad economy is said to be service economy. Statistically 50 percent of the Iran’s hotel capacity lies in this region.
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