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Plaster tile from Old city of Nishapur
Mausoleum of Kamal-ol-Molk
Wooden Mosque of Nishapur
Cornice plaster from Old city of Nishapur
Official seal of Nishapur
Nishapur is located in Iran
Nishapur is located in West and Central Asia
Coordinates: 36°12′48″N 58°47′45″E / 36.21333°N 58.79583°E / 36.21333; 58.79583Coordinates: 36°12′48″N 58°47′45″E / 36.21333°N 58.79583°E / 36.21333; 58.79583
Country Iran
ProvinceRazavi Khorasan Province
CountyNishapur County
Foundation3rd century
Municipality of Nishapur1931
 • MayorAli Najafi
 • Governor of CountyAliReza Ghamati
1,250 m (4,100 ft)
 (2016 Census)
 • Urban
264,375 [2]
Time zoneUTC+03:30 (IRST)

Nishapur or Nishabur (Persian: About this soundنیشابور‎; also romanized as Nīshāpūr, Nišâpur, Nişapur, Nīshābūr, and Neyshābūr; from Middle Persian New-Shabuhr, meaning "New City of Shapur", "Fair Shapur",[3] or "Perfect built of Shapur")[4] is a city in Razavi Khorasan Province, capital of the Nishapur County and former capital of Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains. It had an estimated population of 239,185 as of 2011 and its county 433,105. Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.

The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I as a Sasanian satrapy capital. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830, and was later selected as the capital of Seljuk dynasty by Tughril in 1037. From the Abbasid era to the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran, the city evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center within the Islamic world. Nishapur, along with Merv, Herat and Balkh were one of the four great cities of Greater Khorasan and one of the greatest cities in the middle ages, a seat of governmental power in eastern of caliphate, a dwelling place for diverse ethnic and religious groups, a trading stop on commercial routes from Transoxiana and China, Iraq and Egypt.

Nishapur reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed and the entire population slaughtered by Mongols in 1221. This massacre, combined with subsequent earthquakes and other invasions are believed to have destroyed the pottery industry the city was known for.


Nishapur was founded during the Sasanian dynasty and in the 9th century it became the capital of the Tahirid dynasty and by the 10th century was under Samanid rule. The city became an important and properous administrative center under the Samanids. In 1037, it was conquered by the Seljuks. Despite being sacked by the Oghuz Turks in 1153 and suffering several earthquakes, Nishapur continued as an important urban center until it was destroyed by Genghis Khan and the Mongols in 1221.[5]

Pre-history and archaeology[edit]

Attar of Nishapur Mausoleum

Little archaeology has been done on this vast and complicated site. George Curzon remarked that Nishapur had been destroyed and rebuilt more times than any other city in history,[6] an evocative statement whether or not it is statistically true. The Metropolitan Museum of Art undertook excavations from 1935 that were interrupted in 1940. Searching largely for museum-worthy trophies that they shared with the government of the Shah, the Metropolitan's publications were limited to its own Nishapur ceramics. The site of Nishapur has been ransacked for half a century since World War II, to feed the international market demand for early Islamic works of art.

Shadiyakh ("Palace of Happiness") was one of the main palaces of old Nishapur up to the 9th century AD, which became more important and populated after that. Some notable people like Attar lived there. Attar's tomb is nowadays in that area. This palace was perhaps completely ruined in the 13th century.

Middle Ages[edit]

Nishapur occupies an important strategic position astride the old Silk Road that linked Anatolia and the Mediterranean Sea with China. On the Silk Road, Nishapur has often defined the flexible frontier between the Iranian plateau and Central Asia. The town derived its name from its reputed founder, the Sassanian king Shapur I, who is said to have established it in the 3rd century CE. Nearby are the turquoise mines that supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.

It became an important town in the Khorasan region but subsequently declined in significance until a revival in its fortunes in the 9th century under the Tahirid dynasty, when the glazed ceramics of Nishapur formed an important item of trade to the west. For a time Nishapur rivaled Baghdad or Cairo: Toghrül, the first ruler of the Seljuk dynasty, made Nishapur his residence in 1037 and proclaimed himself sultan there, but it declined thereafter, as Seljuk fortunes were concentrated in the west. In the year 1000 CE, it was among the ten largest cities on earth.[7]

The city was destroyed by Mongols in 1221, after the husband of Genghis Khan's daughter was killed at Nishapur. She requested the death of every resident of the city to avenge her husband's death, and over the course of 10 days Khan's troops killed, and beheaded the entire population. Their skulls were reputedly piled in pyramids by the Mongols.[8] After the massacre a much smaller settlement was established just north of the ancient town, and the once bustling metropolis lay underground—until a team of excavators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art arrived in the mid-20th century. They worked at Nishapur between 1935 and 1940, returning for a final season in the winter of 1947–48.[9] What remains of old Nishapur is a 3500-hectare "Kohandejh" area, south of the current city of Nishapur.

Umayyad Nishapur
Coin Nashaboor، 709 AD
Coin Nashaboor، 709 AD
Pottery Nishapur



The special Anthem of Nishapur was unveiled for the first time on April 14, 2011;[10] it has introduction and three parts, noted on three invasive and destructive in the history of Nishapur, delineated by frightening sounds of bells, along with sounds of percussion and wailing women represent the miseries caused by these attacks.[11][12]

Persian original Romanization English translation
ای پایتخت اول ایرانی من
ای آسمانت فرصتِ بارانی من
«فیروزه» ات نقش نگین مهربانی
اندیشه های مردمانت آسمانی
روییده در هر گوشه ات گل‌های احساس
خرداد «بینالود» تو سرشار «ریواس»
شرمنده از کردار خود «تاتار» و «چنگیز»
پاینده باشی ای «برشهر» هنرخیز
در کوچه باغت مانده رد پایی از ماه
گل کرده در چشمان تو نام «قدمگاه»
Ey pâyetaxt-e aval-e irâni-ye man
Ey asemânat forsat-e bârâni-ye man
Firuzeh at naqš-e negin-e mehrabâni
Andiše-hâ-ye mardomânat asemâni
Ruyiyedeh dar har guše at gol-hâ-ye ehsâs
Xordâd-e binâlud-e to saršâr-e rivâs
Šarmande az kerdâr-e xod tâtâr o Čangiz
Pâyandeh bâshi ey baršahr-e honar xiz
Dar kuče bâqat mânde rad-e pâyi az mâh
Gol kardeh dar češmân-e to nâmeh Qadamgâh
O my Iranian first capital
O your sky my rainy time
your Turquoise, pattern of kindness ring
Your People's thoughts Heavenly
Sprouting in your every corner flowers of love
Khordad of your Binalud full of rhubarb,
Tartar and Genghis ashamed of their actions
May you stand proud, you Art fertile land
The moon left footsteps in your gardens
Qadamgah's name has bloomed in your eyes

Popular culture[edit]

  • US band Santana released an instrumental track entitled "Incident at Neshabur" on their 1970 LP release, Abraxas. Carlos Santana says this was a reference to a place in Haiti.
  • Yo-Yo Ma released an instrumental track entitled "Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur" as part of the Silk Road Project.

Local and cultural days[edit]

Name Day Calendar
Farvardin 1 Nowruz Solar Hijri
Farvardin 13 Sizdah Be-dar, Day of Nature Solar Hijri
Farvardin 25 Respect day for Attar of Nishapur Solar Hijri
Ordibehesht 28 Respect day for Omar Khayyam Solar Hijri
Tir 10 Remembrance day for Imam Ali al-Ridha Solar Hijri
Mordad 2 Sympathy day for the victims of Boozhan flood Solar Hijri
Azar 30 Night of Yalda Solar Hijri
Bahman 29 Sympathy day the victims of Nishapur train disaster Solar Hijri
Last Wednesday of Esfand Chaharshanbe Suri Festival Solar Hijri
Esfand 29 Celebrate the end of winter Solar Hijri
Muharram 10 Remembrance of Muharram Lunar Hijri
Safar 20 Arba'een Lunar Hijri
Rabi' al-awwal 17 Mawlid Lunar Hijri
Rajab 25 Respect day for Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, death of Musa al-Kadhim Lunar Hijri
Sha'aban 14 Borat Nights (3 nights) Lunar Hijri
Shawwal 1 Eid al-Fitr Lunar Hijri
Dhu al-Hijjah 18 Eid of Ghadir, Day of Visiting Sadaat Lunar Hijri


About the arts in Nishapur or Old Nishapur:


Bowl painted on slip under transparent glaze (polychrome), Nishabur, 9th or 10th century. National Museum of Iran, Tehran.

Nishapur during the Islamic Golden Age, especially the 9th and 10th centuries, was one of the great centers of pottery and related arts.[13] Most of the Ceramic artifacts discovered in Nishapur are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museums in Tehran and Mashhad. Ceramics produced at Nishapur showed links with Sassanid art and Central Asian.[14] Nowadays there are 4 Pottery workshop in Nishapur.[15]


Weaving carpets and rugs common in the more than 470 villages in Nishapur County, the most important carpet Workshop located in the villages of: Shafi' Abad, Garineh Darrud Baghshan Kharv Bozghan Sayyed Abad Sar Chah Suleymani Sultan Abad and Eshgh Abad. Nishapur Carpet workshops weaved the biggest Carpets in the world, like carpets of: Sheikh Zayed Mosque,[16] Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque,[17] Armenian Presidential Palace, Embassy of Finland in Tehran, Mohammed Al-Ameen Mosque in Oman.[18]

Modern art of carpet in Nishapur began in 1946 after inauguration of a carpet-weaving workshop in a caravansary.

Turquoise masonry[edit]

Cutting and grinding Nishapur turquoise in Mashhad, Iran, 1973

For at least 2,000 years, Iran, known before as Persia, has remained an important source of turquoise, which was named by Iranians initially "pirouzeh" meaning "victory" and later after Arab invasion "firouzeh".[citation needed] In Iranian architecture, the blue turquoise was used to cover the domes of the Iranian palaces because its intense blue colour was also a symbol of heaven on earth.[citation needed]

This deposit, which is blue naturally, and turns green when heated due to dehydration, is restricted to a mine-riddled region in Nishapur, the 2,012-metre (6,601 ft) mountain peak of Ali-mersai, which is tens of kilometers from Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan province, Iran. A weathered and broken trachyte is host to the turquoise, which is found both in situ between layers of limonite and sandstone, and amongst the scree at the mountain's base. These workings, together with those of the Sinai Peninsula, are the oldest known.


In many important historical or modern monuments and buildings the art of Tiles are widely used in Nishapur,



Calligraphy Conference about Laylat al-Qadr in Nishapur, July 31, 2013


[Bowl with Arabic Inscription. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Statue of Kamal-ol-molk on his grave

Wall Painting[edit]

Members of Red Crescent in village of Shur Rud, painting walls



A hawza in Nishapur, a school that taught Arabic in religious studies courses. Other schools in Nishapur taught Arabic as historical and religious language

Most people speak Persian in Nishapur.


Islam has been the dominant religion through the Islamization of Iran and the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam was the first Madhab in Nishapur post-Arab Muslim control. Presently, the majority of follow Twelver Shiism.

Notable people[edit]

Sorted by date


Schools, universities and colleges[edit]

University of Neyshabur

Islamic Azad University of Nishapur is a main branch of Islamic Azad University. It was established in 1985 and has two faculties in IAUM, Agriculture, and Engineering faculty offers Bachelor, and master's degrees.


Al-Ghadir library:Moalem street


Nishapur has one professional football team, Jahan Electric Nishapur, who compete in Razavi Khorasan's Provincial Leagues.

Sport centers[edit]

Enghelab Sports Complex is an indoor arena in Nishapur. The arena houses Nishapur's basketball, volleyball, and futsal teams.


Nishapur train disaster[edit]

On 18 February 2004, runaway train wagons crashed into the village of Khayyam near Nishapur, causing an explosion and killing over 300 people. The entire village of Khayyam was destroyed.[citation needed]

Road 44[edit]

Road 44 is a highway that goes from Tehran to Mashhad and also passes Nishapur on the way.

Industry and economy[edit]

Foolad steel complex which is producing steel.


Nishapur is located at an elevation of 1213 metres on a wide fertile plain almost at the southwestern foot of Mount Binalud in northcentral Razavi Khorasan Province. The city is connected by both railroad and highways to Mashhad and Tehran and also to South Khorasan Province. Among its agricultural products are cereals and cotton. Making pottery and weaving carpets are among important crafts.


Nishapur has a generally Mediterranean climate with the rainy seasons mostly in the spring and winter. Towards the west of the city, however, the weather gradually changes to a cold semi-desert climate.


The city of Nishapur lies on a Holocene alluvial plain on top of the Pleistocene sediments in the southwestern part of the Binalud Mountains. The Binalud Range, running northwest–southeast, is made predominantly of Triassic and Jurassic rocks. On the southern side of the northwestern part of the range there is a section of Eocene rocks that are volcanic in origin. The well-known Nishabur turquoise comes from the weathered and broken trachytes and andesites of the Eocene volcanic rocks of this part of the mountain range. The main turquoise mines are situated about 50 kilometres northwest of the city of Nishapur in the foothills of the Binalud Range.[20]


Nishapur is located in a region with a rather high risk of earthquakes. Many earthquakes have seriously harmed the city; among the important ones are the historical earthquakes that ruined the city in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Mass media[edit]

Newspaper publishing[edit]

General publications in Nishapur includes the weekly and local newspapers. The first local newspaper of Khorasan province is Morning of Nishapur, published since 1989. Others include Shadiakh, published since 2000, Khayyam Nameh, since 2004, Nasim, since 2006, and Far reh Simorgh, since 2010.[21]


IRIB center of Mashhad covers news of Nishapur.


Two book publishers working in the city:Klidar & Abar Shahr.[22][23]


Left: Hadi Moslemi, former mayor of Nishapur ; right: Gholam-Hossein Mozaffari, currently Governor of Nishapur County.

Popular culture[edit]

US band Santana released an instrumental track entitled Incident at Neshabur on their 1970 LP release, Abraxas.

Recent incidents[edit]

  • On July 24, 1987, a flood in Boojan village killed over 1,000 people and destroyed some villages.
  • On February 18, 2004, in the Nishapur train disaster, a train carrying flammable goods derailed and caught fire near the town. Five hours later, during fire fighting and rescue work, a massive explosion destroyed the train and many nearby buildings. Around 300 people were said to have been killed, mainly fire and rescue workers but also the local governor and mayor and the heads of the fire and rail services.[24]


The most important Nishapur souvenirs include turquoise and rhubarb.

Neyshabur Turquoise has been used for more than 2000 years and for this turquoise it is sometimes called "the turquoise land". Neyshabur turquoise and jewellery made from it are sold as souvenirs in Neyshabur and Mashhad resorts.

Rhubarb (Persian rivaas or rivand), a sour vegetable, grows at the foot of the eponymous Rivand Mountains (more recently, Turkified as Mount Binalud). Soft drinks made from the stems of the plant, such as "Sharbate rivaas" (شربت ریواس) and "Khoshaabe rivaas" (خوشاب ریواس), are sold at some Nishapur resorts as souvenirs.

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Cambridge History of Iran – Volume 1 – Page 68
  2. ^
  3. ^ Honigmann, E.; Bosworth, C.E.. "Nīs̲h̲āpūr." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Brill Online, 2013. Reference. 31 December 2013
  4. ^ Nishapur can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3076915" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  5. ^ Allan, James W. (1982). Nishapur: Metalwork of the Early Islamic Period. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0870992716. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  6. ^ George N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, Vol. I, (Routledge, 2005), 262.
  7. ^ "Tres Fronteras: Where Colombia, Peru and Brazil Meet in the Amazon". TripSavvy. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  8. ^ Clark, Josh (14 January 2008). "Did Genghis Khan really kill 1,748,000 people in one hour?". HowStuffWorks.
  9. ^ Sardar, Author: Marika. "The Metropolitan Museum's Excavations at Nishapur | Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art". The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  10. ^ "روزنامه كيهان90/2/1: سرود ويژه نيشابور ساخته شد". Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  11. ^ روزنه, شرکت مهندسی. "پایتخت اول ایرانی من؛ سرود نیشابور – روزنه". Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2013-11-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period, Wilkinson, Charles K. (1973)
  14. ^ "Nishapur pottery". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Iran weaves world's largest carpet". Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Muscat
  19. ^ bam. "Nawabs of Oudh & Their Secularism". Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  20. ^ Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 271. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  21. ^[dead link]
  22. ^ "کلبه کتاب کلیدر". Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  23. ^[dead link]
  24. ^ "Iran train blast kills hundreds". 2004-02-18. Retrieved 2018-02-10.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Capital of Seljuq Empire (Persia)
Succeeded by