Shrine in Qom
The physical and spiritual center of Qom, this magnificent shrine is the burial place of Imam Reza’s sister Fatemeh, who died here in the 9th century. Imam Reza was the eighth of the 12 imams who descended from Prophet Mohammed; as the only one of the 12 to be buried in Iran (in Mashhad), his sister's burial site has a special resonance as a place of pilgrimage.
Much of what can be seen today was built under Shah Abbas I and the other Safavid kings in the 16th century. Anxious to establish their Shiite credentials and prove they could match the sect’s shrines at Karbala and Najaf (in modern-day Iraq), they lavished the site with courtyards of brilliant tile work. For visitors, however, it is the great golden cupola that distinguishes Hazrat-e Masumeh; this was an embellishment added by the Qajar ruler Fath Ali Shah in the early 19th century. Not to be outdone by their predecessors, successive rulers have lavished various embellishments on the shrine complex over the years with the latest addition – the construction of a grand plaza next to Astane Sq – being contributed by today's Ayatollahs of Qom.