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Qom, home of the magnificent Fatima Masumeh Shrine, is a holy city between Tehran and Esfahan and it’s the second holiest city in the whole country, after Mashad.

Discreet behavior is particularly needed when walking around the Fatima Masumeh Shrine. There are a lot of senior ranking clerics of Shia Islam living in Qom, and its schools were once revered as the best in the country, including the largest Theology school in Iran. If you’re not a Muslim you can’t enter the shrine without a guide.

Just by walking the streets you can understand how religious this city is.

The streets of Qom.

I visited Qom on a day trip from Tehran. There are frequent buses from the south terminal and it should take ~2 hours. The bus station in Qom is very central, so you’ll be able to walk everywhere.

Only in Qom I felt how religious this country can be. The vibe is totally different here from the rest of the touristy parts of the country. Keep in mind that you really need to have wear clothes, especially if you’re a woman. Upon entering the holy shrine you’ll be inspected and a Chador will be given to the women to dress up. A guide will meet you and show you around. It’s completely free though.

Heading to the holy shrine.
The Fatima Masumeh Shrine.
The women's entrance to the shrine.
The shrine in all it's glory.

It’s really easy to get back to Tehran, just head to where you were left off and get into any bus that stops heading north. If they’ve available space they’ll take you to the south bus station in Tehran, where you can get the metro.

How to get there and away

  • Local bus from the Tehran's south bus station to Qom.
  • Any local bus that stops in Qom and is headed to Tehran.

What to do/see

  • Fatima Masumeh Shrine.

Where to sleep

  • N/A, I came here as a day trip from Tehran.