8 Most Amazing Religious Buildings around Tehran
Religious Sites in Tehran
Tehran is much older than many people realise. In recent years discoveries by archaeologists date Greater Tehran back several thousand years. One such find in recent years is the skeletal remains of a woman buried in the Molavi area of city forcing historians to rewrite their history books.
Best Religious Sites in Tehran
The Iranian capital is home to several religions including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians as well as smaller community of Sikhs.
Imam Khomeini Shrine
The grand mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is the first religious site you will see after landing at the airport. The tomb houses the Islamic Republic’s founder, wife Khadijeh Saqafi and his second son Ahmad Khomeini. Other eminent figures from the post 1979 era are also buried in the central tomb including Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former vice president Hassan Habibi to name some.
Although no older than 40 years old, the tomb and its surrounding buildings are a great example of Persianate architecture.
Imamzadeh Abdullah, Rey
Situated in the City of Rey to the south of Tehran, Imamzadeh Abdullah is one of the best preserved and least visited religious sites around Tehran. The Imamzadeh is the resting place of the descendent of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), called Abdullah and burial site of several musicians, merchants, politicians, poets and Qajar royalty.
The religious site, unlike the much larger Shah Abdul Azim Shrine, is a peaceful gem to visit, with original undisturbed courtyard and original 19th Tehran architectural features of the surrounding mausoleums.
Shah Abdul Azim Shrine
Another site in Rey is the huge Shah Abdul Azim Shrine, which is one of the oldest continuous religious sites in the mentropolitan area. The shrine is the burial location of the fifth generation descedent of the second Shia Imam, Hassan Bin Ali. Originally constructed in the ninth century the structure has several courtyards and is surrounded by Tehran’s oldest surviving bazaar.
The mirrorwork around the tomb is one of the best in Tehran.
There are two shrines named Imamzadeh Hamzeh (brother of the 8th Shia Imam Reza) and Imamzadeh Tahir (son of the 4th Shia Imam Sajjad) near the Shah Abdol Azim Shrine. Qajar kings, religious scholars and prominent figures have been interred in Shah Abdul Azim Shrine. The site was also the burial place of the first Pahlavi era king before his remains were removed before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Bahram Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Situated on the hills around the ancient part of Rey is the Bahram Fire Temple dates back to the pre-Islamic days of Iran. The two main arches of the construction remain intact after more than 2,000 years. Tickets are available on the outside of the complex. The Iranian government is currently restoring much of the site to raise interest.
Tughrul Tower (Seljuk Tomb)
One of the least known architectural sites in the southern Rey district is the resting place of the Seljuk Empire’s ruler Tughrul Beg, buried in 1063. The unique 20 metres tall tower, now without a roof due to previous earthquakes, is a mathematically-inspired shape which has stood for over 1,000 years.
Interestingly the inside the tube shape of the tower one can experience the splender of acoustic precision.
Tughrul was the son of Mikail ibn Seljuq; on the death of his father, Tughrul and his brother Chaghri were raised by their grandfather Seljuk, who had other sons named Musa Yabghu and Arslan Isra’il, whom Tughrul would later accompany into the Iranian plateau during his later life. Tughril ascended to power in 1016.
Imamzadeh Qassem in the most northern part Tehran is a mausoleum and pilgrimage site, which dates back to the 10th century. According to local legend the head of Qassem son of second Shia Imam Hasan, who was killed in Karbala is buried here. During the Safavid era in the 16th century, a wooden chest was placed over the tomb to protect the contents.
This brick structure was expanded during the Qajar era (1700s) and an iwan (a rectangular hall walled on three sides and open on one side) was added along with a tiled dome with Kufic decorations.
Bibi Shahbanu Mauseluem (Female Shrine)
Bibi Shahrbanou is a mausoleum with an enamel dome situated on a mountain top outside the Rey, accessible by car.
According to legend, Shahrbanou was the daughter of the Sassanid Yazdegerd III (590-651 CE) and the mother of the fourth Shia Imam Ali ibn Husayn al-Sajjad (PBUH)(659-713), being the one first points of fusion between Persian culture and the future Islamic country.
Other ancient stories say the site is the former home of ancient Persian religion praising the Persian Goddess of water Ananhita.
Adorian Fire Temple
The Adorian Fire Temple in central Tehran was built at the end of the Qajar period on 30 Tir Street in the centre of the city. The story goes that the fire which burns constantly at the location was brought from the Yazd Fire Temple which has been burning for 1,500 years constantly. In design, the Zoroastrian fire temple resembles the one in Yazd. Visitors are free to see the site.
If you are interested in finding out more about Tehran’s great locations and historical venunes, check out our city guide section.