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, is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province.
It is located in the northeast of the country, bordering with Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
There was a summer palace of Humayd ibn Qahtaba, the governor of Khurasan.
In 808, when Harun al-Rashid, Abbasid caliph, was passing through there to quell the insurrection of Rafi ibn al-Layth in Transoxania, he became ill and died.
During more than a millennium it has been devastated and reconstructed several times.
It was not considered a great city until Mongol raids in 1220, which caused the destruction of many large cities in Khurasan, leaving Mashhad relatively intact in the hands of Mongolian commanders because of the cemetery of Ali Al-Rezza and Harun al-Rashid (the latter was stolen).
The only well-known food in Mashhad, "sholeh Mashhadi" (شله مشهدی) or "Sholeh", dates back to the era of the Mongolian invasion when it is thought to be cooked with any food available (the main ingredients are meat, grains and abundant spices) and be a Mongolian word.
Due to this historical event, the Dar al-Imarah was known as the Mausoleum of Haruniyyeh.The mosque remains relatively intact to this date, its great size an indicator to the status the city held in the 15th century.Shah Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty, conquered Mashhad after the death of Husayn Bayqarah and the decline of the Timurid dynasty.The city is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian literary figures and artists, such as the poet Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, the traditional Iranian singer and composer.Ferdowsi and Akhavan Sales are both buried in Tus, an ancient city that is considered to be the main origin of the current city of Mashhad.