An American visitor in 1911

"The present edifice, serves as the saint's (Imamzadah Muhammad Mahruk's)  mortuary shrine, appears to have been erected in the seventeenth century, probably to supplant a dilapidated building, and it is a place of pious pilgrimage for the faithful of Islam."

"... All this time, as we drove along, the turquoise dome of the Mosque of the Imamzadah Mahruk...had been glancing ever nearer on the view. The delicate greenish blue of its vaulted dome, encircled by arabesque scrolls in yellow and white, had come out clearer and clearer to the eye." 


From Constantinople to the home of OMAR KHAYYAM (New York, MACMILLAN, I9II, chapter i8, pp. 240-45). 

History of Nishapur

This was one of the greatest cities in medieval Iran.

9th century becomes the capital of the Tahirid dynasty.

820 Tahir ibn al-Husain becomes the Caliph al-Mamun's governor. His capital is at Merv.

828-845 Abdallah ibn Tahor builds his palace in a suburb of Nayshapur, Shadyakh. He spends 1 million dirhams of his own money in building qanats.

50 years later the Tahirid dynasty is replaced by the Saffarids. In this period, the Samanids were ruling Transoxiana and were also appointed by al-Mamun. 

10th century Samanids defeated the Saffarids and captured Khurasan. In this period Nayshapur became an international trading centre.

end 10th century - Samanids give way to the Buyids.

1037 - Nishapur retains its importance under the Seljuqs.

1153 - Sacked by the Ghuzz.

1221 - utter destruction  by the Mongols.

16th century Safavid rulers promote Mashhad as a place of pilgrimage and this helps accelerate the loss of importance of Nishapur..

1825 onwards there are attacks by Turkoman hordes.

1911 Yusuf Khan of Herat declares independence


Historical Background

One of the greatest cities in medieval Iran was Nishapur, located in the eastern province of Khurasan. Founded during the Sasanian dynasty (and given the title of New Shapur) the city became the capital of the Tahirid dynasty in the 9th century and reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, when it served as the seat of the governor and commander in chief of the province.

Nishapur retained its importance under the Seljuqs, after its occupation  by the first sultan of this Turkic dynasty in 1037. It was sacked by the Ghuzz in 1153 and damaged in a series of earthquakes in the 12th and 13th centuries, yet it remained an active urban centre until its itter destruction by the Mongols in 1221.

Omar Khayyam

The great poet and mathematician 'Umar Ibn Ibrahim Al-Khayyam was born in or near Nishapur at an unknown date, but he was already famous as a mathematician in I074, when MALIK SHAH invited him to reform the Iranian calendar. He seems to have spent most of his life in Nishapur and he died there; the most probable date of his death is 526.

Nishapur Ceramics (Images)

Bowls including bold black inscriptions in the so-called kufic angular calligraphy were apparently produced in the important ceramic centers of Nishapur in eastern Iran, and Afrasiyab, or Old Samarqand, in present-day Uzbekistan. The text often contains a proverb in Arabic or, as in this case, a series of wishes: "Blessing, happiness, prosperity, good health, and success."



All information provided in good faith, please check as appropriate before you travel (c) 2009