Visit holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) online

April 11, 2020 - 23:42

TEHRAN – COVID-19, the novel coronavirus disease, might stop you from traveling, but there are still ways to see historic and religious sites in nearly every corner of the globe.

Located in Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi province, the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) has long been by far the most visited religious destination in Iran, attracting millions of domestic and international visitors each year.  

Religious sites in the country have never been closed, however, they along with hundreds of tourist destinations and museums were shut early in March to combat the spread of the virus, which is infecting millions across the globe. 

Over the past couple of weeks, online visits to the holy shrine have been facilitated for the faithful, potential pilgrims, and avid sightseers. There are several outlets offering virtual visits for free as you are sheltering in place or merely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus pandemic.

Visiting the holy shrine and its complex is a pure and celestial journey for the Muslims. The complex includes the 15th-century Goharshad mosque, a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, a dining hall for pilgrims, vast prayer halls, amongst other buildings. The complex is one of the tourism centers in the country and has been described as “the heart of the Shia Iran”.

The shrine is enveloped in a vast series of sacred precincts collectively known as the Haram-e Razavi, or Haram for short. This magical city-within-a-city sprouts dazzling clusters of domes and minarets in blue and pure gold behind fountain-cooled courtyards and magnificent arched arcades. It’s one of the marvels of the Islamic world, and it's worth savoring its moods and glories more than once by visiting at different times of day.

The great mosque of Goharshad is a remarkable Islamic structure due to its age, architectural characteristics and rich tile decorations. Made of brick and plaster in the 15th century, it used to be served as a free standing mosque and currently serves as one of the prayer halls within the splendid Imam Reza Shrine Complex in Mashhad. On the margins of the main veranda’s entrance, there is an old inscription carved by calligrapher Baysunqur Mirza.

Every single day, Mashhad plays host to thousands of travelers and pilgrims who come from various Iranian cities, neighboring countries and even across the globe to visit the imposing, massive holy shrine complex of the Imam.

Some 37 million visits registered to Mashhad during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (stated March 21, 2019) as about eight million came by road, six million by rail, 3.8 million by air, and 18 million by private cars, Mehr reported.

The worldwide death toll of the novel coronavirus disease is now more than 103,000, and the virus has infected more than 1,700,000 people. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellations, quarantines, and other breakdowns in movement.

AFM/MG

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