A Guide to Qom

The city of Qom is within 140 kilometers south of the capital of Iran, Tehran. This city is located on a low plain beside the central desert of Iran, Dasht-e Kavir. This city is the second religious center in Iran after Mashhad. This is for the reason that Fatima Masoumeh, the sister of the 8th Shia Imam, Imam Reza is buried there. Notably, Qom is also one of the main centers of theological studies. Aside from its religious attractions, there are couple of things that have caught the interest of its visitors. In this post, we will look more into Qom as a possible travel destination in Iran. We will also talk about the history, Local Food, special souvenirs, and other points of interest.

Qom bazaar
Old Qom

The Story of Qom

The death of Fatima Masoumeh, the sister of the 8th Shia Imam in 8th century marks the history of Qom. Since around that time, up until now, the city has been one of the main centers of Shia Islam practices. In 17th century, the Safavid Dynasty gained the power in Iran. The kings of Safavid were the followers of Shia Branch of Islam. That is why, Qom officially became a place of pilgrimage during the Safavid era. Accordingly, the Safavid kings ordered the construction of a shrine over the tomb of Fatima Masoumeh. As the years passed by, this city also became the center for studying Islamic Law. Notably, Qom was one of the leading cities in forming the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Today, this city, for being close to Tehran, has much industrial importance. Distribution of petroleum products, oil, and natural gas have extensively helped Qom’s economic growth.

What Makes Qom Exceptional?

For being one of the most significant destinations of pilgrimage, thousands of people travel to Qom every year. Fatima Masoumeh Holy Shrine and Jamkaran Mosque are two of the main religious attractions in Qom. There are other notable attractions around Qom that we will be introducing further in this post. Qom is also one of the most notable centers of Silk Carpet in Iran. This city is also the center of Sohan Production. Actually, Sohan is one of the most famous Iranian sweet and edible Souvenir. We will now be talking about the history, points of interest, signature dishes, and traditions in Qom.

Need to Know

People & the cultural customs of Qom

The people of Qom speak Persian with Qomi dialect. Most of the locals of Qom are followers of Shia branch of Islam. For that reasons, many of the traditions and customs of Qom have a close connection to Islamic rituals. Celebrating the memorial day of Fatima Masoumeh arrival in Qom is one of their main ceremonies. On this day which is 24th of Rabi Aval on Islamic Calendar, the locals visit her holy shrine. They also hold special ceremonies during the Islamic months of Muharram and Ramadan.

What is the best time to travel to Qom?

Qom, due to its location has a desert and semi-desert climate. The rainy and cold days of Qom are during December, January, and February. During June, July, and August the summer weather prevails. That said, the best time to travel to Qom is during March, April, May, September, and October.

What is the best way to get to Qom?

The nearest airports to Qom are Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad International Airports in Tehran. You can then have a ride to Qom since it is located only 140 Kilometers away from Tehran. Also, Qom is in the midway of the most visited touristic cities in Iran. On your way from Tehran to the southern cities in Iran such as Isfahan and Yazd, you can visit Qom.  Besides driving to Qom, you can use the train and intercity bus services. If you need a private guide, driver or simply if you need to book domestic flights, trains or intercity buses, you can get the best deals through Travelopersia.

How to get around Qom

The bus services are available through the city of Qom. Taxi stations and online Taxi apps are also available in Qom. That said, the best way to get around the city is by taking a Taxi or simply using the available Online Taxi Apps.  Also, if you are looking for car rentals for your trips you can rent a car through Travelopersia.

Jamkaran mosque

The City Map

Trip Ideas

To help you make the most out of your trip, we are going to introduce its touristic highlights. The attractions of Qom range from natural wonders to historic mountains, houses, Theology Schools, Bazaars, and many holy shrines. You can find more information on these attractions by checking out our Blog’s posts. We will be first introducing the natural attractions around Qom.

The Natural Attractions

  • Desert National Park and Wildlife
  • Hozeh Soltan Salt Lake which is famous for being a vast natural mirror reflecting the sky above. This perfect reflection of the sky is for its polished surface.
  • Palang Darreh Protected Area ( within 50 km of Qom)
  • Siyah Rood (Qarah Chay) River ( within 76 km of Qom)
  • Palangabi Mountain with a height of about 3,154 m ( within 48 km of Qom)
  • Larha Mountain with a height of about 3,109 m ( within 51 km of Qom)
  • Kehak Cave ( within 30 km of Qom)
  • Veshnavah Cave and village ( within 60 km of Qom)

Fatima Masoumeh Holy Shrine

The main attraction of Qom, as we mentioned before, is the Fatima Masoumeh Holy Shrine. Fatimah Masoumeh is one of the most respected saints of Islam. Her shrine has much religious and also historic importance. The golden dome and beautiful tilework of its vaults are some of its main points of interests. This Shrine Complex has many parts aside from the tomb of Fatima Masoumeh.

Attractions inside Fatima Masoumeh Holy Shrine

  • Borujerdi or Azam Mosque
  • Balasar Mosque
  • The historic Feyziyeh Theology School
  • Museum of Hazrat Masoumeh
  • The Tomb of Safavid Kings: Shah Safi (6th king of Safavids), Shah Abbas the Second, Shah Suleiman the First, and the last king of Safavids, Shah Sultan Hossein
  • The Tomb of Qajar Kings: Fath-Ali Shah ( the second king of Qajars) and Mohammad Shah of Qajar
  • The tomb of several important courtiers of Qajar era
  • The Tomb of Parvin E’tesami, the famous 20th century Persian poet
  • The tomb of some major Ulamas and Ayatollahs

The Jamkaran Mosque

The second most notable attraction of Qom is the Jamkaran Mosque. This mosque is in the Jamkaran Village which is within 6 kilometers of Qom. The importance of this mosque is that it was built by the request of the last Imam of Shia. The Shia Muslims await the return of Imam Zaman, the Last Shia Imam every day. Jamkaran Mosque also has a special architectural design with its turquoise and green domes.

Other touristic attractions

  • Qom new and old Bazaar
  • The mystic Khezr-e Nabi Cave and mosque on a hill
  • The 14th century Bagh-e Gonbad-e Sabz ( Green Dome Garden)
  • Qom Jameh Mosque, the central ancient mosque in Qom
  • Imam Khomeini House
  • Historical House and anthropology museum of Zand
  • Yazdan Panah House
  • Azam Mosque of Qom
  • Imam Hasan Asgari Mosque
  • Jahangir Khan School
  • Haj Qoli Khan House
  • Mulla Sadra Brick House

The many Imamzadehs

Imamzadehs are the shrines of the decedents of the Shia Imams. Most of these shrines are either in Qom or in its vicinity.  Below is the list of most notable Imamzadehs around Qom:

  • Shah Hamzeh
  • Soltan Mohammad Sharif
  • Soleiman
  • Shahzadeh Zakaria
  • Shahzadeh Ahmad Qasem
  • Abu Ahmad
  • Shah Ebrahim
  • Moosa Mobarqeh
  • Ma’soomeh
  • Esmaeil
  • Ahmad-ebne Eshaq

Local Food & Signature Dishes

Like any other city in Iran, there are several signature dishes that originate from Qom. Some of these dishes are no longer among the usual local dishes in Qom. Interestingly, most of these dishes are different kinds of stews.

The most popular Signature dishes are:

  • Qonbid Stew with Kohlrabi vegetable as one of its main ingredients
  • Havij Barq-e Stew which is a stew with a mixture of yellow carrots, meat, and red beans
  • Qonbid Pottage which has a variety of vegetables in it
  • Mash Mashak which is a low calorie and healthy meal

You can try the main Iranian dishes and some local dishes in Qazvin’s restaurants around the city. You can find a list of hand-picked Restaurants and Cafes in Qom in our Blog’s Posts. However, what makes Qom famous among other cities in Iran is its edible souvenir.

The edible souvenirs

The world famous edible souvenir of Qom is Sohan. As we mentioned earlier, Qom is one of the centers of Sohan Production in Iran. Sohan is a kind of candy which is made with Wheat buds, Saffron, and butter. You can find Sohan in many other cities around Iran. But, Qom is one of the centers of high quality Sohan. Other edible souvenirs of Qom are:

  • Gaz
  • Qasm-e Bread
  • Kohlrabi vegetable

Handicraft & Souvenirs

Silk Carpets are the most famous handicraft of Qom. The Qomi Silk Carpets are a mixture of Isfahani and Kashan Carpets. The antiquity of Qom’s Carpet only dates back to 100 years ago. You can find a variety of these silk carpets with different patterns in the Carpet section of Qom’s Bazaar. Other notable handicrafts are:

  • Kharmohre Ceramic Works with turquoise blue stones. The antiquity of this work of art dates back to 5000 years ago. Qom is the only center of Kharmohre Ceramic Works.
  • Prayer Rugs and Misbaha
  • Wickerwork with a special type of Wicker known as Marvar

Explore The City