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Tehran's largest neighbor with an area of 10,743 square km on a low plain and 930 meters above sea level, Its population according to the latest census amounts to more than 1,200,000 inhabitants. It can be conveniently visited in a day from Tehran.

With an average annual rainfall of 14 mm according to the meteorological reports of he last 20 years, It lies in a hot sandy hollow between the mountains of Kashan and the Great Salt Desert, and thus, it belongs in climate, scenery and architecture to the desert rather than to the Alborz region; here you see the first bad-girs (wind-towers) and aab-anbaars (water-storage buildings), and a few kilometers further on the first palm trees.

Qum has always been a leading center of Shi`ism. The lat Imam Khomeini and countless other religious figures studied and thought theology here, and the town played a particularly strong role in the anti-Shah movement, as well as throughout the Islamic Revolution. It is a major pilgrimage site (with more than 300 Imamzadehs buried therein), and aspirant mullahs come here from all over Iran and other countries of the world for training in numerous seminaries of Howzeh-ye Elmieh, consisting of many mosques and schools.

Sights to See

  • Shrine of Hazrat-e Ma`sumeh
    The daughter of the seventh Imam and the sister of Imam Reza was buried here and her tomb, as was natural, became a revered place of pilgrimage. So it remains today, and Qum, after Mashhad, is the foremost Shi`ite shrine in the country.

  • Other Sanctuaries
    1. Imamzadeh Ali ibn-e JA`far (1339), where Ali ibn JA`far and Mohammad ibn-e Mussa Kazem are buried.
    2. Imamzadeh Ahmad ibn-e Qassem, who is said to be the son of Imam Mussa in one source and of Imam Sadegh in another.

  • Museum of the Holy Sanctuary
    Museum of the Holy Sanctuary Originally established in 1935, and houses a variety of highly valuable Korans, manuscripts, ancient ware, textiles, brocades, etc. Collection of rugs and Joshaghan carpets dedicated by the Safavid kings can be seen here.

  • Bazaar
    The main attraction for tourists, rather than decoration or architecture, lies in the behavior of the crowd of humble pilgrims for whom the journey is the achievement of the dream of a whole life, that of the dignified mullahs with their black and white turbans and fine linen clothes, that finally of small merchants who sell thousands of candles and prayer-beads, prayer-rugs and small tablets of compressed earth (mohr) used in Muslim prayers, colored earthenware animals, piles of pomegranates and delicious local sweets, particularly sohan.