A new exhibition at Semnan Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, aka Pahneh Museum, is showing old photos of the mausoleum of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth Shia imam, in Mashhad.

On display are 25 photos, all of which were taken during Qajar rule (1785-1925). The photos will be on display till Friday.

The northeastern city of Mashhad owes its status and significance to the Imam’s shrine which attracts millions of Iranian and foreign pilgrims every year.

In the Qajar era special attention was paid to the holy site. The third ‘Zarih’ (an ornate, usually gilded, lattice structure that encloses a grave in a mosque or Muslim shrine) was installed over the Imam’s tomb in 1823 at the time of Fath-Ali Shah, the second Qajar ruler, Shamstoos.ir reported.  

The zarih was moved to the Astan Quds Razavi Museum in 1959 because over the decades it had dilapidated at the lower end, and another zarih was installed instead.

The current zarih of the shrine (the fifth one) was designed by acclaimed miniature painter Mahmoud Farshchian.

Imam Reza’s shrine is located in a sprawling complex that also is home to the famous Goharshad Mosque, a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, a special dining hall for pilgrims, large prayer halls and admin buildings.

The complex contains a total of seven courtyards covering an area of over 331,000 square meters. Each courtyard contains a total of 14 minarets, and three fountains.

Pahneh Museum was originally a bathhouse built on an area of 1,000 square meters. It is a Timurid era (1370–1507) structure that is at least 600 years old. After renovation in 1994 the bathhouse was turned into what is now Semnan Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

Artifacts from the 1st and 2nd millennia BC as well as Islamic and modern eras are kept in the museum in Semnan city, 215km east of Tehran. Pahneh Bathhouse was registered as a National Heritage Site in 1974.

Source: Financial Tribune