Located 125 kilometres southwest of Tehran, Qom is a perfect city to visit for a day trip. Many visitors tend to skip it because of its reputation to be quite conservative, yet Qom has a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere which is worth the trip. It is the second holiest city in Iran, after Mashhad, and a centre for religious studies. Many pilgrims come all over the year to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Fatima Masumeh Shrine.
This shrine is the main attraction of Qom, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. This is the burial place of Fatemeh, the sister of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam, himself buried in Mashhad's shrine. The monument was built under the Safavid Dynasty in the 16th century. Its architecture is an extensive demonstration of the refinement of Persian and Islamic arts, lavishly decorated with multicoloured tile work, calligraphy, mirror work, and stucco. Numerous Muslim pilgrims come here to pray, seek cures and forgiveness, as the shrine is known for fulfilling wishes and miracles. In any case, it's a perfect place to take the time to appreciate the peaceful atmosphere.
The ancient Bazaar of Qom is one of the country's most authentic covered markets, where life goes on as it was the case hundreds of years ago. The oldest part dates back from the Safavid era and the bazaar is mostly famous for its stunning Timcheh. This enclosed area has an astonishing 15 meters high ceiling, with delicate carvings and with three massive domes pierced by lightwells. Qom Bazaar is filled with lovely handicrafts shops and is ideal to shop some delightful souvenirs, such as Sohan, a typical sweet from Qom.
Astane Square is the main plaza of Qom, elegantly paved with marble. It faces Fatima Masumeh Holy Shrine, while also hosting the delicate Imam Hasan Mosque. At night, Qom's central square is buzzing with life, crowded with people, families, and clerics, just passing by or coming there to enjoy the place, as the lights over the blue domes give it a pleasant and unique atmosphere.
In the southeast of the city is another beautiful and impressive mosque constructed under the Safavid. The Jamkaran Mosque has remarkable brickwork iwans, decorated with colourful tiles and calligraphy. This huge religious ensemble is another important pilgrimage centre of the city. It was built to honour the holy Imam Mahdi, which is believed to visit the mosque himself every Tuesday night. This place is thus extremely popular each Tuesday evening, as people gather and pray all over the mosque.
Wandering in the eastern part of the city, visitors can stumble upon a surprising small garden. Inside, there are three tower-like buildings dating back from the 13th century. Their singular conic turquoise domes catch the eyes. Stucco decorations, intricate brickwork, gliding, and calligraphy painting add to their beauty. These towers are actually burial places for clerics members of the House of Safi, who once ruled over Qom.
Qom is famous for a specific and beautiful kind of ceramic beads called "Kharmohre" (Qom technique). The city is the last production centre of this six-thousand-old handicraft. Known as the "Persian blue seed", or "Iranian blue bead", it is associated with good luck throughout all Middle-Eastern cultures. This traditional small and delicate pottery is entirely made here, in the factory of the Saadatmand family, where visitors can attend pottery workshops to create their own pieces from fresh clay, using traditional ovens, and learn the process of glazing.
Located 100 kilometres east of Qom, this salt ("namak") lake is one of the most interesting natural attractions of the region. Several millennia ago, the lake was part of the same sea as the Caspian Sea and Urmia Lake are remnants from. Over the 1800 square kilometres of the lake, only one square kilometre has still water, leaving the rest with a thick layer of white salt. It created incredible landscapes of pure white ground under the hot sun of the desert.
About 40 kilometres north of Qom is another splendid natural attraction of Qom, the Howz Soltan Lake. Over 240 square of perfectly quiet waters and polished surface, the lake creates an astonishing natural mirror reflecting the sky. Several rivers enter the lake, carrying the salt from the fields nearby, and giving birth to an important wetland that is home to many animal and plants species. It's a perfect place for nature enthusiasts and birdwatching experience, as many migrating birds stop by this lake during their migration.
In the maze of the only symmetric salt dome in the world, A magic salt lake surrounded by red hills all around. Qom salt dome has a very beautiful lake inside it amongst a very thick surface of salt crystals that looks like ice bulk from distance.
the high concentration of water prevents sinking in the lake.
Standing in the middle close to the lake, the erosion sounds can be heard nonstop. The extraordinary salt dome and its salt lake are located west of Qom city, Jafariyeh town.