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  • 8/10/2009

The City of Rey

shah-abdul-azizs mosque

Rey, Rayy, Rhages or Rages (also known as Shahr-e Rey), is the oldest existing city in the province of Tehran.

History and culture

The city is estimated to be more than five thousand years old, and was built during the Median Empire. It was known in Classical times as Rhagae. Some historians attribute its building to ancient mythological monarchs, and some others believe that Ray was the seat of a dynasty of Zoroastrian leader.

Ray is richer than many other ancient cities in the number of its historical monuments, among which one might refer to the 3000-year-old Gebri castle, the 5000-year-old Cheshmeh Ali hill, the 1000-year-old Bibi Shahr Banoo tomb and Shah Abbasi caravansary. It has been home to pillars of science like Rhazes.

After the Mongol conquest the town was severely damaged and it gradually lost its importance in the presence of nearby Tehran.

Ray contains a famous shrine of a Shea saint Shah-Abdul-Aziz, as well as a 12th century tower called Toghrol Tower.

There is also a shrine there, dedicated to commemorate Princess Shahr Banu, eldest daughter of the last ruler of the Sassanid Empire. She gave birth to Ali ibn al-Hussein Zaynul-Abidin , the fourth holy Imam of the Shia faith. This was through her marriage to Imam Hussein, the grandson of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. A nearby mountain is also named after her.

Some of the famous monuments and tourist destinations in Ray are the following:

Cheshmeh Ali Hill

A hill with a spring. In 1933-6 Cheshmeh Ali hill was excavated by archaeologists from the Boston Fine Arts Museum and the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania headed by Dr. Erich Schmidt, which resulted in the discovery of 7,000-year-old artifacts. Some of the discovered objects are displayed at museums in Iran, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

The hill, which is now entirely leveled out and most artifacts unrecoverable due to real estate expansion in the 1980s and 1990s, was the home of Aryans about 6,000 years ago. Since Ray was used as a recreation center due to its beautiful attractions under the reign of the Qajar dynasty, Fath Ali Shah often used to explore the city. In 1831 his portrait and that of some Qajar princes were engraved on a rock at Cheshmeh Ali hill and its surrounding was decorated with tablets covered by poetry.

Toghrol Tower

Toghrol Tower, a 12th century monument commemorating the Seljuk monarch Toghrol, is one of the historical structures still standing today. The architectural structure was constructed under the reign of Seljuk’s at the order of Toghrol in 1140, once he transferred the capital city from Neyshabour to Ray.

The tower is 20 meters high and the surface of its exterior is divided into 24 sections, which besides manifesting beauty and durability, symbolizes the figures of constellation as well as a 24-hour length of time (a day and a night).

Other links:

The Province of Mazandaran

History and Culture of Mazandaran

The Province of Sistan & Baluchistan

Nature of Kurdistan (Photo Gallery)

The Province of Khuzestan

History of Khuzestan (part 1)

History of Khuzestan (part 2)

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