Astan-e-Qods Razavi Central Museum

Location: the Holy Shrine, the entrance is in Imam Khomeini Courtyard

Date Inaugurated: 1387 AP/2008 CE

Brief Description: This museum has been dedicated to the memory of the holy family of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), including Imam Reza (pbuh). This museum is in a four level building with eight collections.

The Lower Floor

On this floor a collection of stamps and treasury bills are kept in an area of 400 m2. The museum holds in its possession 300,050 stamps, while only 50,000 Iranian and foreign stamps are on display. The first world stamp and the first Iranian stamp is a part of this interesting collection. Treasury bills from different eras of Iran are held there, as well as contemporary bills from 50 foreign countries, although 10,000 bills and 6,000 coins are in the museum’s possession.

On the Ground Floor

On the ground floor is the collection of the history of Mashhad in an area of 837 m2. Many historical artifacts that were once used in the Holy Shrine are displayed, such as the oldest gravestone belonging to Imam Reza (pbuh), a golden prayer niche or mihrab-e-zareen fām, golden wooden doors, the original wooden case-like grave marker, a burial chamber or za’ri from Fath Ali Shah era (1797–1834 CE), old locks and keys, and light fixtures, etc... This is considered the best collection of the museum. The other collection on this level is of coins and medals. This includes coins from ancient Persia (Alexander the Great 323 BCE, the Parthian dynasty ca. 247 BCE-224 CE, Sassanid dynasty, ca. 224-651 CE, and the start of the Islamic era in Iran) to modern times. Also, displayed are medals of various Iranian champions and athletes, such as the famous Olympian wrestler Gholamreza Takh’ti (1930-1968 CE).

On the First Floor

The first floor is 970 m2 and has a marine collection with 1282 artifacts. This collection was donated to the museum in 1985 by a Syrian citizen named Mohammad Saied Fo’ād. Also a collection of paintings by famous Iranian and European painters, such as the master artists Kamāl ol-Molk (see the section on Nayshaboor for more information) and Mahmud Farshchiyan (see the section on Haram/Farshchiyan), Ali Ashraf Vāli, and William James are on display.

On the Second Floor

This floor is also 970 m2 and a weapons collection with a variety of guns, bow and arrows, swords, daggers, battle-axes and chainmail is held on this floor. An astronomy and clock and watch collection is on this floor as well. Also, on this floor is a porcelain and crystal collection with some objects dating back to 8th to 13th century AH/1398 to 1883 CE.

Quran Museum

Location: the Holy Shrine, the entrance is in Imam Khomeini Courtyard, next to the Central Museum

Admission Cost: Free admission

Time and Days Open: opened daily, 8 AM to noon prayer

Brief Description: On ground level is the collection of gifts donated to the museum by the Supreme Leader.

On the first floor is a magnificent collection of antique handwritten Qurans that span over ten centuries. There are five Qurans in Kufi script attributed to the Holy Imams, Ali Abi Talib, his two sons, Hassan and Hossain, Ali ibn Hossain, and Ali ibn Mosa (pbut). The largest Quran on display was inscribed by the grandson of Tamerlame, Baysungur Mirza (see the section on the Haram/Calligraphy for more information). Other Qurans including one inscribed by Yaqut Mostasemi the famous calligrapher of the Abbasid period, and the Baberi Quran that showcases a rare calligraphic style invented by Zahirudin Mohamad Baber (Founder of the Mongul Dynasty in India).

Carpet Museum

Location: the Holy Shrine, the entrance is in Imam Khomeini Courtyard, next to the Central Museum

Admission Cost: Free admission

Time and Days Open: Open daily, 8 AM until the noon prayer.

A variety of exquisite and precious carpets and needlework with a wide spectrum of designs and techniques are showcased in this gallery. Since carpets and other works of art made of silk, wool, and cotton do not keep very long, the oldest item dates back to 500 years ago. The most fascinating carpet belongs to the Safavid era, the Four Seasons, which is made with 100% silk.

Great Khorasan Razavi Museum

Location: Kooh Sangi Park

Date Inauguration: 1382 AP/2004 CE

Brief Description: Through support of the municipality of Mashhad, this museum was established to preserve national and local identity, and the cultural, historical, and religious heritage of the holy city of Mashhad. In turn the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization of Khorasan Razavi has undertaken this project. This museum covers 4,900 m2 and its floor plan is divided For centuries, architectural art of ancient Iran has greatly impacted the lives and beliefs of this region. The same can be said for the architects of this museum’s building that was inspired by the designs of the ancient buildings of Harouniyeh al-Rashid and the Sun Palace. See the section on Surrounding Cities of Mashhad for more information and these two buildings.

The Museum of Ferdowsi and the Shah Nameh or Epic of Kings

Location: Toos city, in the garden of Ferdowsi’s Mausoleum

Date Inauguration: 1968 CE

Brief Description: The main building of this museum was built at the same time of the most recent mausoleum of Ferdowsi, and was originally a traditional restaurant that was renovated into a museum. Artifacts on display are native to Toos and from the era of Ferdowsi, such as old coatings of warriors, old copies of the Shanameh, coffee house paintings, clay dishes, coins, bow and arrows, and so on. See the section on Toos for more information.

Nader Shah Afshar Museum

Location: on the intersection of Shirazi St. and Azadi St., this intersection is also known as Chahar Rah Shohadah

Brief Description: The building that holds the museum of Nader Shah is distinctly marked with a large statue of him on a horse with three soldiers in pursuit; one is a horn blower, the next is a flag bearer, and the third is an arms bearer. Since Nader Shah was not a scientist or artist, but a warrior, the artifacts in the museum are weapons, armor and other items related to war and some paintings of the Shah dating back to the Afshar and Qajar era. See the section in the Haram about Nader Shah Garden, Mausoleum, and Museum for more information.

Mehdi Gholi Beik Bath-Anthropology Museum

Location: on the western side of the Haram at 13th Andarzgou St.

Date: during the reign of Shah Abbas I (reign 1587–1629 CE)

Brief Description: According to historical documents, in 1027 AH/1615 CE, this bath was donated to Astan-e-Quds Razavi by Mehdi Gholi Beyk, the head of the Royal Stable of Shah Abbas I. After being renovated in 2007, it was changed into an anthropology museum. Artifacts on display in this museum are accessories people used in the old times for bathing, an assortment of old Samovars, dishes, and a photo exhibition of Mashhad in the past.