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Iran City Guides - Rey


  • historic city now almost a suburb of Tehran
  • 12km south of the capital
  • city damaged by the Mongols
  • home to Imamzadeh Shah-e Abdal-Azim

Located 12km south of Tehran, Rey, also known as Shahr-e Rey (lit. "The City of Rey") has a history going back some seven thousand years.

The city is mentioned in the Bible and its historic name, "Ragha", can be seen carved into the reliefs at Bisotun which date from 500BC.

Alexander the Great

Centuries later, Alexander the Great was to capture Rey during his conquest of the then known world. His, and the subsequent invasions of the Arabs and the Mongols all left their marks on this ancient and historically rich city. King Toghrol Beg of the Seljuks made Rey his capital in the 12th century and is said to be buried in the famous Toghrol Tower.

Toghrol Tower, Rey, Iran.

Toghrol Tower, Rey, Iran - tomb of King Toghrol Beg

The most important site in Rey is the Shrine of Abd al-Azim located in the heart of the city. Al-Azim, a descendent of Imam Hassan, was killed in Rey in 860 and he is buried here along with other important figures in Islamic history including Hamzeh, the brother of Emam Reza, and Taher, the son of Emam Saj'ad. Other graves adjacent to the main shrine include those of famous Islamic scientists and that of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar who was assassinated here after attending Friday prayers in 1896. The shrine is visited by more than 1 million pilgrims every year.

The shrine was originally constructed in the Seljuk Period. The brick facade of the mausoleum, on which can be see engravings in Kufic and Seljukid designs, is the oldest remaining structure dating back some 800 years. Extensions were added during the Safavid period and the paintings, mirror work and gilding date from the time of the Qajars. Renovation and expansion work continues to this day.

Access - getting to Rey

Take the subway Line 1 (Red Line) south from Tehran to Shahr-e Rey Station.

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