Khorasan and Semnan
Khorasan province, located at northeast of Iran, covering an area of 313,000 square kilometers, is the largest province of the country. Khorasan was a known name, which in last centuries, encompassed wide cultural realm of which a great part presently exists in countries of Afghanistan, Tajikestan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Khorasan province is one of the great historical and cultural centers of Iran which the cities of Meshed, Nayshabour, Birjand, Sabzevar, and famous city of Tabas on the desert margin, are located in its boundaries.
Until 2nd century AH (9th century AD), in the present location of Meshed there was a small village called Sanabad. After the martyrdom of His Holiness Imam Reza in this place, this city was called Meshed Moghadas (Sacred Meshed). Since then, his tomb became the place of pilgrimage for Iranian Siites, so it gained an ever-increasing importance. Today, the Shrine of His Holiness Imam Reza, which has passed many ups and downs along history, is one of the most important and valuable samples of the Islamic art of architecture. Imam Reza Museum in Meshed City is one of the largest cultural and artistic treasuries, especially for its handwritten manuscripts and paintings.
Goharshad mosque, Sabz (green) dome, Khajeh Rabii mausoleum, Arsalan Jazeb mausoleum, Robat (caravansary) Sharaf, Kalat Naderi, and Kooh Sangi are amongst other historical places of Meshed City.
Traditional Bazaar of Meshed, a magnificent one and the place for supplying different goods, is another eye-catching place in this city. New Bazaar, which is named Bazaar Reza, is the place for supplying different handicrafts of Khorasan.
Toos City is located 28 km. far from Meshed northwest to it on the road to Shirvan-Gorgan. Toos once was one of the large cities of Khorasan, of which today does not exist anything except the remains of an old wall of the city. The tomb of Ferdowsi, the great poet of Iran, is located in this city, which is annually visited by thousands of Iranians.
Nayshabour City 110 km. southwest of Meshed is on the way of Sabzevar. This city, one of the important cities of Iran, was Capital City of Saljooghis in 5th century AH for some times, but today from its past magnificence there have remained only a few vestiges in the old part of the city. The tomb of Khayam, whose Rubaiats (Quatrains) are recited eagerly all around the world and also the tombs of some great Iranian men of letters and arts, like Sheik Attar and Kamal-ol-Molk are located in this city.
Tabas City is one of the most famous cities of Kavir (desert) margins, situated in southeast to Meshed. The wall and old part of the city, which were badly damaged by earthquake, are more or less remained. Tabas is one of the worth-seeing cities of Iran's arid and desert regions. Tabas Guest House, with suitable accommodation facilities, entertains the tourists in an acceptable level.
Semnan Province is located in the east of Khorasan province having different desert and mountain slope nature. In past times, this province has been passed by Silk Road and many monuments belonging to that time have remained in this province. The Gnostic poets of this province like Bayazid Bastami, Sheikh A. Kharaghani, and Ebn-Yamin have global fame.