Qum (Qom, Ghom)
- Qum is in Markazi province located 96 mi (155 klm) south of Tehran. Qum is a holy city and theological center. It is considered to be the center of Shi'ite Islam with a high population of mullahs. Because of this it is important for foreigners and non-Moslems to be respectful and to dress appropriately in Qum.
- Qum was attacked by the Mongols and again by Timur. It was rebuilt under the Safavids, who made Shi'ism the official faith of Iran.
- The main attraction is the Hazrat-e Masumeh shrine, the burial place of Masumeh who died in 816 AD and is the sister of Imam Reza (see Mashad).
Masumeh Mosque Complex
- The extensive complex was built under the Safavid kings, started by Shah Abbas I, and his three successors are also buried there. Non-Moslems need to check with local authorities regarding visiting the shrine.
- No other place in Iran has so many shrines, many built for the relatives of the Shi'ite Imams. The Jomeh Mosque (Safavid Friday Mosque) is also in Qum.
- There is the Museum of the Holy Sanctuary located in Astaneh Square. It contains collections of Korans, manuscripts, ceramics, textiles, and fine rugs.
- Qum has many religious and sweet (candy) shops. Qum is famous for it's "sohan," a flat sweet biscuit made of pistachios and saffron, similar to peanut brittle. Gaz, a nouget candy is also available. Qum is also known for unique and beautiful handmade silk rugs.
Carpetmakers in Qum