The holy burial chamber is connected to a network of twenty one Riwaqs (porches) covering an area of 5638 square meters. Riwaqs are the roofed buildings with different heights and designs built around the holy burial chamber during various phases of one thousand and two hundred years long history of the holy shrine.
The names and location of these Riwaqs are as follows:
The historical and the magnificent Dar-al-Siyadah Riwaq on the west of the holy shrine, the old and historical Dar al-Huffaz on the south of the holy shrine, Gunbad-e- Hatam Khani and Dar al-Sa'adah porches on the east, Dar al-Faiz and Tawheed Khana porches on the north. On the south-eastern side of the holy shrine the following Riwaqs are located: Dar al-Salaam, Dar al-Izzat, Dar al-Suroor, Dar al-Zikr, Dar al-Zuhd, Shaykh Baha'i Riwaq and Dar al-Ibadah. Two Riwaqs, Gunbad-e- Allahverdikhan and Dar al-Ziyafah are located on north- eastern side and four other porches Dar al-Shukr, Dar al-Sharaf, Dar al-Ikhlas and Dar al-Vilayah are located on north- western side of the holy shrine. Two newly built porches Dar al-Hidayah and the Dar al-Rahmah are situated on south- western side of the holy shrine.
I- Dar al-Siyadah:
It is the glorious and one of the oldest porches of the holy shrine and located on the western side of the holy shrine running parallel to Bala Sar Mosque and Dar al-Huffaz porch from north to south. This historical building was built in 821 A.H. / 1418 under the orders of Gowharshad Agha, the renowned wife of Timurid Sultan, Shahrukh Mirza, son of Tamerlane.
Its length is 32.86 meters and different breadth and 20.87 meters height and on the two parts of the porch five terraces are located which had created different breadth for the porch.
On the eastern side of this porch there is a silver window from where the burial chamber of the Holy Imam (A.S.) can be seen. This is the special place for supplication for all the afflicted and ill persons. At this particular place the seriously ill and sick persons are miraculously cured regularly.
On the orders of Gowharshad Agha the walls of this Riwaq were built of white marble two feet above the ground. Glazed bricks in even form have been used on the walls with verses from the Holy Qur'an written on the top sections in "Nastaliq" style. Above the Qur'anic inscriptions is stucco work inlaid with mirrors. Dar us Siyadah presents one of the most attractive displays of Islamic art with vault-work, stucco designs, mirror-work, wood-carvings, masonry and engraving contributing to its splendour.
In the north-east the Rivaq is separated from the holy burial chamber by a silver grill. Many great and prominent ulama are buried in this Riwaq.
At the southern side of the porch there is a golden door which opens towards northern balcony of Gowharshad Mosque and there is corridor from this porch towards the Saqqa Khana and Dar al-Huffaz porch.This Riwaq is also attached to the Dar-al Wilayah Riwaq.
Dar al-Siyadah is allocated for the men pilgrims for performing pilgrimage and practicing other religious services.
2 - Dar al-Huffaz (the Hall of The Memorizers of the Holy Qur'an)
It is also one of the glorious and oldest porches of the holy shrine. It was built under the order of Gowharshad Agha in 841 A.H./1437 A.D. The length of the porch is 18 meters long and 8.65 meters wide. It is located south of the holy shrine and north- east of Gowharshad Mosque. Stone slabs engraved with verses of the Holy Qur'an and floral designs cover the base of its walls to a height of 1.70 meters from the plinth or base. The length of the Riwaq is 18 meters, its width 8.65 meters and its height is 24.46 meters.
Above the plinth and on all sides of the porch there are epigraph stone in which 47 couplets of the famous elegy by Hakeem Qa'ani is inlaid. The arched wall and roof is covered with decorative mirrors and the flooring is completely of marble.
Dar al-Huffaz consists of seven terraces and four of them consists of doors which leads to burial chamber, Dar al-Siyadah porch, Gowharshad Mosque and the corridor towards the shoe-keeping place.
The tile work and epigraphs on the northern wall of the porch was accomplished in 612 A.H./ 1215 A.D., and it was previously the door way to the burial chamber.
In the Dar al-Huffaz (the Hall of Memorizers of the Holy Qur'an) Riwaq special ceremonies for the recitation of the Holy Qur'an are conducted daily in the morning and evening. Abbas Mirza, the heir -apparent of Fath Ali Shah Qajar was buried in this Riwaq after he died fighting against the Russians in the Caucasus.
Dar al-Huffaz is exclusively for men pilgrims to practice religious services.
3. Hatam Khani Dome:
This is also one of the oldest and historical buildings of the holy shrine. This dome lies towards the feet of the holy burial chamber (Paeen -e- Pa-e Mubarak -e- Hazrat). It is located east of the holy shrine and connected to southern part of the burial chamber. The porch is 13.50 meters long, 7.30 meters wide and 11.60 meters high.
The eastern side of this porch is connected to Dar al-Sa'adah porch by a big and high terrace. On the north-western angle of the porch there is a corridor which leads to Allahverdikhan dome and by two passages it is also connected to Dar al-Salaam porch. The floor and its plinth is covered with marble and above it is decorated with intricate mosaic tiles. At the top of it verses from the Holy Qur'an are inscribed on epigraphs in the Thulth script. The wall above the epigraph upto the roof is decorated with colourful mosaic tiles of different sizes and styles and it is considered as the wonder of the mosaic tile work. On the wall of the porch, the famous elegy of Baba Fuqani Shirazi is engraved and there are also epigraphs with the verses of the Holy Qur'an on the walls.
This Riwaq was built in 1101 A.H./1602 A.D., by Hatam Baig Ordoobadi, one of the ministers of Shah Abbas I, the famous ruler of the Safavid dynasty in Iran. This building was once again renovated in 1269 A.H/1852 A.D., by Muhammad Ali Baig Afshar. This building is exclusively for the women pilgrims and through this porch they visit the burial chamber of the Holy Imam (A.S.).
4. Dar al-Sa'adah:
It is situated between Tala (Golden) Balcony of Sahn (Courtyard) Azadi and Hatam Khani dome. This porch is 14.90 meters long, 13.80 meters wide and 14.80 meters high. The entrance of Dar al-Sa'adah porch is located at Tala Balcony of Azadi Court. There are two terraces in the porch. From the northern terrace there is a passage to Allahverdikhan dome and Dar al-Ziyafah porches and the southern porch leads to Dar al-Suroor porch. The floor and its plinth upto 1.40 meters is covered with bright coloured marbles and above it on the marble stone the 66 couplets of the elegy composed by Malek- ush- Shu'ara, Saboori Mashhadi is inscribed in Nastaliq script.
Dar al-Sa'adah was built in 1259 A.H./ 1843 A.D., during the period of Asaf- ud- Dowlah Qajar, the governor of Khorasan and was completed during the reign of Naseruddin Shah Qajar. This porch is also exclusively reserved for women pilgrims.
5. Dar al-Faiz:
It is located behind the northern side of the burial chamber and is also adjoined to it. Through this porch the women pilgrims visit the burial chamber.
Southern side of the porch runs parallel to the burial chamber. From the north-eastern side there is a passage to Allahverdikhan dome. The terrace on the northern side is adjoined to the Tawhid Khana porch.
The porch is 15.95 meters long, 5.90 meters wide and 9.50 meters high. The floor is covered with white marbles. Above the plinth the elegy of Qa'ani in Nastaliq script is inscribed. Above the inscription up to the arched roof, all the walls, columns and roof is completely covered with colourful mosaic tiles with beautiful designs. The upper section of the walls are rich in vault work, with beautiful glazed tiles bearing inscriptions from the Holy Qur'an and 98 Asma al-Husna (the beautiful names of Allah). This Riwaq was built during the Safavid reign. It is exclusively reserved for the women pilgrims.
6. Dar al-Shukr:
This porch is located adjacent to Dar al-Faiz porch and north of Bala Sar Mosque. It is nearly quadrangular in shape and the length of every side is 6.50 meters and its height is 9.50 meters.
On the northern side of the porch there are two passages one of which leads to Tala Balcony of Inqilab courtyard and the other leads to Tawheed Khana porch. The eastern and western sides of the porch are connected to Dar al-Faiz and Dar al-Sharaf porches respectively.
The floor and its plinth upto 1.67 meters is covered with marbles. Above the plinth, the chapter of "Amm" from the Holy Qur'an is inscribed in Thulth script. Above the inscription all its walls and the arched roof is completely decorated with mosaic tiles. This porch is reserved for the men pilgrims.
7. Tawhid Khana:
This porch is situated in the northern side of the holy shrine between the Dar al-Faiz porch and Inqilab (Atiq) courtyard. From its eastern side there is a passage to Allahverdikhan porch and from the western side it leads towards Tala Balcony of Inqilab (Atiq) courtyard.
Tawhid Khana has been constructed by the orders of Allamah Mohsen Faiz Kashani(one of the famous and the leading scholars of the Safavid period). Allamah Faiz Kashani has been a teacher in this sacred building.
On the northern side of the porch there is a brassy window famous as Panjareh Fulad, situated in Inqilab courtyard. From this window the burial chamber is visible. The porch is 15.50 meters long, 7.35 meters wide and 15 meters high. Above the plinth of the porch the sacred names of twelve Holy Imams (A.S.) are inscribed. The walls and the arched roof of the porch is decorated with colourful mirrors. This porch is also exclusively for the women pilgrims.
8. Dar al-Salaam:
This grand and beautiful Riwaq is situated parallel to the Dar al-Huffaz. This building is connected to the Dar al-Huffaz Riwaq by a golden gate. On the eastern side of the porch there are three pavilions between this porch and the Dar al-Izzat porch. There is a big passage which connects Dar al-Salaam porch to Dar al-Suroor porch by a golden gate. The eastern terrace of Dar al-Salaam porch is connected to Hatam Khani dome by two passages and on southern side of the porch there is a beautiful Mihrab. The porch is 22 meters long, 10 meters wide and 9.5 meters high.
The floor is covered with beautiful green marbles and its plinth upto 1.65 meters is covered with jasper green coloured marbles. The walls and the roof are beautifully decorated with mirrors of different designs which had given grand sight to the porch.
On the north-eastern corner of the porch the great combatant religious scholar of Islam, Ayatullah Shaheed Hasheminejad is buried who was martyred in Mashhad in 1360 H.S./ 1981 A.D. by the terrorists.
Dar al-Salaam proch is exclusively for the men pilgrims.
9. Dar al-Izzat:
It is one of the south-eastern porches of the holy shrine and is located between Dar al-Salaam and Dar al-Zikr porches. The door on the southern side of this porch opens in Shabistan (prayer hall) of Gowharshad Mosque.
Dar al-Izzat porch is adjoined to Dar al-Suroor porch by a doorway. On the eastern side of the porch three doors open in Dar al-Zikr porch. The porch is 11 meters long, 3.12 meters wide and 4.35 meters high. The floor and its plinth upto 1.50 meters is covered with marble stones and above the plinth, the walls and the roof are decorated with beautiful mirrors.
Dar al-Izzat porch is exclusively for the men pilgrim.
10. Dar al-Suroor:
It is situated between Dar al-Sa'adah and Dar al-Zikr porches and it is one of the entrances to the burial chamber through Azadi courtyard. At the beginning of the porch, shoe-keeping place no. 7 is situated and at its end it is connected to Dar al-Salaam porch by a beautiful golden gate.
At the northern side of the porch there is a big passage with a golden gate which leads to Dar al-Sa'adah porch. At the southern side there are three courts which are connected to Dar al-Zikr porch and through another court it is adjoined to Dar al-Izzat porch. The floor and the plinth upto 1.45 meters is covered with marbles and above the plinth, the walls and the roof is completely decorated with intrinsic mirrors.
This porch is exclusively for men pilgrims and it has two offices:
1) Consignment office: It safely deposits the objects belonging to the pilgrims as long as they wish.
2) Endowment Office: Here receipts are given to the pilgrims upon receiving the endowments.
11. Dar al-Zikr:
This porch had been recently constructed and is located in the south-east of the holy shrine and west of the Azadi courtyard. It is connected by three courts on the western side to Dar al-Izzat porch and by three other courts on the northern side it is adjoined to Dar al-Suroor porch.
The porch is 16.50 meters long 12.82 meters wide and 9 meters high. The floor and the plinth upto 1.53 meters is covered with white marble stones. Above the plinth, the walls and roof are decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles in arabesque and citron style. The roof is completely vaulted and arched and decorated with mosaic tiles.
Around the Dar al-Zikr porch the head offices of security of the holy shrine, endowments and attendants are situated. This porch is exclusively for the prayers of the men pilgrims.
12. Dar al-Zuhd:
It is one of the most important porches situated in south-eastern side of the holy shrine and is adjoined to Imam Khomeini (R.A.) courtyard. This porch is connected by a passage to the Dar al-Zikr porch. The three courts on the eastern side of the porch leads to the Shaykh Baha'i grave and four courts of the southern side have passage to Imam Khomeini (R.A.) courtyard. The four other courts of the western side, connects the porch to the passage of the "Protocol and Ceremonies Hall".
Dar al-Zuhd is 17.50 meters long, 16 meters wide and 5.90 meters high. The floor is covered with marbles and the walls are decorated with mirrors. The roof is in the form of hanging with 64 fountains ornamented with beautiful mirrors. In this porch important ceremonies of sermons and lectures are conducted. Dar al-Zuhd Riwaq contains some of the most attractive Islamic art-work in the form of vaults, mirror-work and stucco. Marble covers the floor and the base area of the walls, while glazed tiles adorn its facade
This Riwaq is allocated for men for the purpose of prayers and pilgrimage.
13. Shaykh Baha'i:
This porch is located in south-eastern side of holy shrine and opposite to Dar al-Ibadah. It is visited through three passages, first a passage from the south of Azadi courtyard, second from the court of Dar al-Zuhd porch and the third from the court of Dar al-Ibadah porch. Three other courts on the southern side connects this porch to the Imam Khomeini (R.A.) courtyard.
This porch is quadrangular in shape with 10.30 meters length and 10 meters breadth. The floor and the plinth upto 1.60 meters is covered with green marbles. The grave of Allamah Shaykh Baha'i, a renowned Shi'ite scholar of tenth century Hijrah, is located in the middle of the porch.On the epitaph of the grave the details of his birth and demise are written.Shaykh Baha'i was born in Ba'albek(a village in Lebanon)in 953 A.H./1544 A.D., and became the Shaykh-ul-Islam of Safawid Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas.He expired in Isfahan in 1031 A.H.,and his body was transferred to the holy city of Mashhad and buried in this Riwaq which became famous in his name.
All the walls above the plinth and the roof is completely decorated with mirrors. The roof is in the form of hanging arches in checkered style with 25 fountains. Below the arches, on three sides of the porch the brief biography and the books written by Shaykh Bahai's are incribed on marble stones in Thulth script.
14. Dar al-Ibadah:
It is also one of the newly built porches and the last porch in south-eastern side of the holy shrine. On the northern side of the porch the shoe-keeping place no:10 is situated. This place has the way to Imam Khomeini (R.A.) Courtyard through five courts and from the western side there is passage to Shaykh Baha'i porch. The porch is 16 meters long, 12 meters wide and 5.90 meters high. The floor upto 1.60 meters of its plinth is covered with marble stones. The walls and the roof have 600 square meters covering of mirrors, 45 square meters of stucco work and 550 square meters of mosaic and arched tiles. The roof is in the checkered style with decorated arches.
Dar al-Ibadah porch has been allocated for women pilgrims.
15. Allahverdikhan Dome:
It is one of the most beautiful buildings of the holy shrine in which exemplary form of architecture and mosaic tile work of the Safawid period are displayed. It is located on the eastern side of Tawheed Khana and northern side of Hatam Khani dome.
The dome is in octagonal form which differentiates it from various other buildings of the holy shrine which are mostly quadrangular or rectangular forms. There are seven passages in the dome. The height of the dome is 16.19 meters.There exist 8 terraces on every side of the dome and over these terraces, there exist smaller ones.
The intrinsic and intricate style of architecture and mosaic tile work of this building is one of the superb and excellent works of architecture during the Safavid era.
The plinth is covered whit marble stones and above the plinth is covered and decorated with exquisite mosaic tiles with suitable forms, scripts and colours. In some parts of the porch verses from the Holy Qur'an and traditions from the Holy Imams (A.S.) are inscribed. In the middle of the plinth of terrace on the southern side, epitaph of the grave of Allahverdikhan (one of the famous nobles of Shah Abbas, the Safavid ruler) is fixed.
Allahverdikhan is the founder of this porch and its construction dates back to 1022 A.H./1613 A.D. This porch is exclusively for the women pilgrims.
16. Dar al-Ziyafah:
It is one of the four porches situatued on the eastern side of the holy shrine. It is situated between the angle of Inqilab and Azadi courtyards and it is one of the passages to the holy shrine.This Riwaq was constructed in 1301 A.H.
The porch is 15 meters long, 10 meters wide and 15 meters high. On four sides of the porch, four terraces are located which have distinguished arches. The terraces and the roof of the building are arched and decorated with fine mosaic tiles and have epigraphs in which the verses of the Holy Qur'an are inscribed.
In between the roof of Dar al-Ziyafah porch for the diffusion of light, an octagonal structure is arranged. On the plinth of all its sides fourteen powerful searchlights are placed in boxes made of tiles, which when put on gives great radiance and illumination to the building. The building is also decorated with exquisite mirrors. This Riwaq is exclusively for the prayers of the women pilgrims.
17. Dar al-Sharaf:
It is located in the north-western side and is one of the oldest buildings of the holy shrine.
The floor is covered by green marble stones and its plinth upto 1.67 meters is covered with white marble stones. Above the plinth there is a belt around the porch on which the verses from the chapter Mudassir of the Holy Qur'an are inscribed. The walls and the roof are decorated with beautiful and exquisite mirrors. This Riwaq has been classified into two sections, one section allocated for men pilgrims and the other for the women pilgrims for performing religious services.
18. Dar al-Ikhlas:
It is the smallest porch of the holy shrine and is located on the western side opposite to Bala Sar Mosque and between the Dar al-Siyadah, Dar -al-Sharaf and Dar al-Vilayah porches.
The porch is 12.80 meters long 10 meters wide and 9.50 meters high. This porch has four passages, two of them are connected to Dar al-Vilayah porch by wooden gates and other two passages have connection with Dar al-Sharaf porches. On the southern side there is a Mihrab and its northern side is famous as the place of golden chandelier.
19. Dar al-Vilayah:
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in February 1979, Astan Quds Razavi in order to create more facilities for the pilgrims had expanded and renovated the existing Riwaqs and had also constructed three new grand and beautiful porches in the holy shrine which are called as Dar al-Vilayah, Dar al-Hidayah and Dar al-Rahmah.
Dar al-Vilayah porch which was inaugurated recently is the largest porch in the holy shrine and is situated in the western side of the holy shrine. It occupies an area of 2700 square meters.
From the north it is connected to Inqilab Courtyard and part of Shaykh Toosi Bast also known as Upper Bast, from east it is connected to Dar al-Sharaf, Dar al-Ikhlas and Dar al-Siyadah porches, from south to Do- Dar and Parizad Madrasahs and finally to Shaykh Baha'i Bast and from west it is connected to Jumhuri Islami courtyard. Six shoe-keeping places with no's:1, 2, 13, 14, 15, 16 are located at the entrances of the porch.
The floor is covered with marbles and on it 15 carpets made out of marble stones with different designs are arranged. The building is completely concrete and its facade is made up of beautiful Islamic architecture. The pillars and columns within the building are used for air conditioning and illumination. The arched and vaulted roof is decorated with exquisite mirrors. This porch is used by the families.
20. Dar al-Hidayah:
This newly built porch is located between Do-Dar Madrasa and Jumhuri Islami Courtyard and situated in the south-western side of the holy shrine. Dar al-Hidayah is rectangular in shape and occupies an area of 837 square meters, and has ten passages and two shoe-keeping places.
On the southern side of the porch, a well decorated Mihrab is constructed. The architecture is based on traditional style and has big columns in the middle which resembles to the Shabistans (prayer halls) of Gowharshad Mosque. The interior of the porch is covered with intricate stucco work decorated with beautiful mirrors.
The roof of Dar al-Hidayah is also constructed in traditional architectural style and decorated in a very novel way.This Riwaq was inaugurated in 1992.
21. Dar al-Rahmah:
It is the twenty-first and the last porch of the holy shrine and is situated on the south of Dar al-Hidayah between Shaykh Baha'i Bast and Jumhuri Islami Courtyard.
This porch is also rectangular in shape and occupies an area of 520 square meters. It has two passages on the eastern side of the Jumhuri Islami Courtyard, on its northern side there is a shoe-keeping and drinking water place along with an entrance. The walls, columns and the roof are beautifully decorated.
At the opening of the middle of the porch the scene of evening of Ashura day and the names of Holy Panjtan (A.S.) are displayed in beautiful stucco work with highly intricate colourful painting.
At present, this porch is used as the place of teaching.This Riwaq was inaugurated in 1992.