Astane Square


The city’s main square is paved with marble and pedestrianised, offering a grand vista of the Hazrat-e Masumeh. The square takes on a carnivalesque quality in the evening when robed clerics hurry by while pilgrims and scholars congregate to enjoy the open space, stroll the length of the square between the shrine and the glorious blue-domed Imam Hassan Mosque, and browse among the Islamic bookshops. Catering to more worldly appetites, the souvenir shops flanking the square sell delicious local sweets.

A favourite confection of Qom is sohan, a sinfully sweet brittle made with pistachio, almond, saffron and cardamom. Buying a tin of these from one of the shops (IR100,000) and a glass of tea from the square’s tea stand is part of the local experience.

Astane Sq spills into a neighbouring pedestrianised plaza in front of the Imam Hassan Mosque. A huge multistorey underground car park under this plaza is handy for those driving to Qom.

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1. Hazrat-e Masumeh

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The physical and spiritual centre of Qom, this magnificent shrine is the burial place of Imam Reza’s sister Fatemeh, who died here in the 9th century…

2. Imam Hassan Mosque


The beautiful dome of this enormous, symmetrical mosque provides a fine counterpoint to the more organic shrine complex at the other end of Astane Sq.

3. Old Bazar

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This lovely old bazaar in the heart of Qom, a short stroll from Astane Sq, is worth a visit as one of the most authentic covered markets in Iran. With a…