Shirazi Street leading to the Shrine of Imam Raza in Mashhad - locally this complex is known as Harm-e Mutahar

Shirazi Street leading to the Shrine of Imam Raza in Mashhad - locally this complex is known as Harm-e Mutahar

A very busy parking area close to the Shrine of Imam Raza - the city is strongly associated with this 8th Shia Imam and hence it's name Mashhad al-Raza suggests

A very busy parking area close to the Shrine of Imam Raza - the city is strongly associated with this 8th Shia Imam and hence it's name Mashhad al-Raza suggests

A large roundabout in front of the entrance to the shrine in Mashhad (Khorasan province) -  this province is in the North East of Iran, at the altitude of 985 meters

A large roundabout in front of the entrance to the shrine in Mashhad (Khorasan province) - this province is in the North East of Iran, at the altitude of 985 meters

Dome and minarets of the Goharshad Mosque can be seen behind the wall in this photo

Dome and minarets of the Goharshad Mosque can be seen behind the wall in this photo

Buses bring pilgrims to this holy site and it is one of the most visited place in Iran and it gets very busy on Fridays

Buses bring pilgrims to this holy site and it is one of the most visited place in Iran and it gets very busy on Fridays

Wall to the left is entrance to the Shrine of Imam Raza which then leads into a courtyrad followed by another courtyard

Wall to the left is entrance to the Shrine of Imam Raza which then leads into a courtyrad followed by another courtyard

Imam Ali Raza was son of Imam Musa al-Kazim (7th Shia Imam)

Imam Ali Raza was son of Imam Musa al-Kazim (7th Shia Imam)

Imam Raza was poisoned by the orders of Abbasid Caliph al-Mamum on 26 May, 818

Imam Raza was poisoned by the orders of Abbasid Caliph al-Mamum on 26 May, 818

Initially, Imam Raza was named as a successor to al-Mamun but later he changed his mind and ended up taking the life of this holy man

Initially, Imam Raza was named as a successor to al-Mamun but later he changed his mind and ended up taking the life of this holy man

This shrine has many entrances and each entrance has separate doors for men and women and people will be allowed after a short search

This shrine has many entrances and each entrance has separate doors for men and women and people will be allowed after a short search

Pilgrims passing in front of the entrance to the shrine

Pilgrims passing in front of the entrance to the shrine

Motifs a above the entry door - Here I was informed that cameras were not allowed inside the shrine but it was ok to take photos from here

Motifs a above the entry door - Here I was informed that cameras were not allowed inside the shrine but it was ok to take photos from here

This is the minaret from the inner courtyard of the shrine - I used telephoto lens to take this photo ( the closest I could get)

This is the minaret from the inner courtyard of the shrine - I used telephoto lens to take this photo ( the closest I could get)

Shrine of Imam al-Raza (A.S.) is a massive building complex and it offers array of free services to it's visitors

Shrine of Imam al-Raza (A.S.) is a massive building complex and it offers array of free services to it's visitors

The shrine complex includes nine courtyards (Sahn), twenty-six porches (Riwaq), the Gowhar shad Mosque, Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, Islamic Research Foundation, Museums, the Central Library Complex, Offices, Hospital, Inn and the buildings for performing ablutions

The shrine complex includes nine courtyards (Sahn), twenty-six porches (Riwaq), the Gowhar shad Mosque, Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, Islamic Research Foundation, Museums, the Central Library Complex, Offices, Hospital, Inn and the buildings for performing ablutions

This door is between the inner and outer courtyard - it is decorated with the Persian tiles

This door is between the inner and outer courtyard - it is decorated with the Persian tiles

Golden minarets of the Imam Ali Raza's Shrine - the Mongol invaders destroyed this shrine but it was rebuilt once more

Golden minarets of the Imam Ali Raza's Shrine - the Mongol invaders destroyed this shrine but it was rebuilt once more

During the reign of Shahrukh Mirza ( son of Tamerlane) paid much attention to this site and prosperity returned to this city once again

During the reign of Shahrukh Mirza ( son of Tamerlane) paid much attention to this site and prosperity returned to this city once again

A tourist office on a street leading to the Shrine of Imam Raza (A.S.)

A tourist office on a street leading to the Shrine of Imam Raza (A.S.)

A smaller entrance to the shrine was located towards the museum side of the complex

A smaller entrance to the shrine was located towards the museum side of the complex

This is one of the six museums built inside (or attached) to the Holy Shrine

This is one of the six museums built inside (or attached) to the Holy Shrine

Upon coming to the front door of the musueum, it turned out that it was closed on that day

Upon coming to the front door of the musueum, it turned out that it was closed on that day

And then, it started to snow with a strong wind and things got very cold

And then, it started to snow with a strong wind and things got very cold

It was raining earlier in the day but now snow and wind made my wondering around in the city cut short

It was raining earlier in the day but now snow and wind made my wondering around in the city cut short