Qom is one of the holiest cities in Iran and the Middle East, and has a very long history. A famous site is the Fatima È Massummeh Shrine, which is a highly respected shrine and a very clean place. Non-Muslims are allowed entry to the city, but they are not allowed entry in the holy shrine unless they are accompanied by a Muslim companion or guide.
Qom has for a long time been the main city for religious studies in Iran. Hozeye-Elmiye-Qom is the largest theology school in Iran. Many senior clerics of Shia Islam live in Qom.
- Qom train station, ☎ +98/(0)251/6617141.
Driving from Tehran might be a reasonable option, however, if you're worried about driving in Iran you can reserve a private bus to take you to Qom. After all, it is much safer to travel by private buses.
There is a pretty impressive bus and taxi system, which has many bus routes to Tehran and other cities. It is very cheap to travel by local buses in Qom. Private tour buses are generally much more expensive.
Shi'a Muslims believe the Islamic redeemer, known as Imam Mahdi, the twelfth great grand son of Imam Ali, will come to save humanity along with Jesus (also known as Isa) one day. Shia Muslims believe that he is alive by miracle after more than 1000 years past his birth, and although he lives anonymously, occasionally he introduces himself to highly virtuous, trusted followers. The Jamkarân Mosque is believed to be constructed following his advice, given on one of these occasions.
- Jamkarân Mosque. The mosque is reserved for Muslims only.
- Mar'ashi Najafi Library. Library has over 500,000 handwritten texts
- Shrine of Fatima-al-Massumeh. The Holy Shrine is the burial place of "Fatema È Massumeh". Also buried within the shrine are three daughters of ninth, Twelver Shī‘ah Imām, Muhammad at-Taqī. Women must wear a chador to enter.
- Howzeh lake: Rich in natural spring water which is said to purify the heart.
- Feyze seminary: The place which devout Muslims gather up to meet and hear speeches from the religious leaders.
- Religion University (Qom, Pardisan) (Shahrak Pardisan), ☎ 2802610. 0:20. 1500.
Qom has many carpet and sweet shops. Qom is famous for it's "sohân," a flat sweet biscuit made of pistachios and saffron. "Gaz", a nougat sweet is also available. Qom is also known for the unique and beautiful silk rugs. As one of Islam's holy cities there are numerous religious shops which sell religious books, versions of the Koran and compact discs.
There are lots of places to eat in Qom which range from old-style Persian restaurants to international restaurants. Persian restaurants offer a more authentic cultural atmosphere than international restaurants. Most of the restaurants with good quality of food and environmental conditions are in Mohamad Amin Blv. which is recognizable by its tall compact trees. Places include Alborz, Madain, Morvârid, Jam and Markazi. You can find kabâb, grilled chicken and fried fish there. Dizi Baar (serving âbgusht) and Lebanese restaurants are located on Al-Qadir Boulevard and Mohamad Amin Boulevard.
In Qom, there are various cafes and fruit juice shops. Pomegranate juice is popular and is said to heal the sick. In the winter when it snows, hot chocolate and Persian tea (châi) are available.
- Qom International Hotel, Helal Ahmar Street (Motahary SQ). Qom International Hotel is a four star hotel and is one of Qom's more well-known hotels.
- Kawsar hotel, in the same alley as the Negin hotel is the Kawsar, a two-star which is fine for 1 or 2 nights. Hefty bargaining possible among the neighbouring hotels. Decent rooms, with hot shower. Toilet on the hallway. Cost IR100,000 to IR150,000; haggling can get the lower price.
Qom is one of the holiest cities in Iran and the Middle East, and as such be aware that Islamic customs and values are more likely to be important here than elsewhere in Iran. Don't let this worry you at all, just ensure that you are respectful of religious and cultural practices and that you are dressed appropriately and modestly.
If you feel like visiting another quintessential Persian city, a few hundred kilometres away, you can visit Yazd which is an beautiful ancient city. Isfahan is another option and is a very beautiful city and is considered to be one of the oldest and most historic cities in the world.