It is not very common for a non-Muslim foreign tourist to travel to Iran solely for the purpose of visiting the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) in Mashhad. But there have been foreigners who went to Shiraz and Ray and have also seen Shah Cheragh and Abdul Azim shrines or in the course of their visit to Tous and Nishapur, the Silk Road in the north-eastern Iran, their curious minds encouraged them to visit the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S).
Non-Muslim foreigners can only see certain parts of the shrines, such as museums, libraries, scene, yard and exterior architecture and it rarely occurs that they enter the shrine; however, all they see is interesting for them.
In Shrine of Imam Reza's (A.S.) in Mashhad, foreign tourists mostly do not have the chance to visit the historic mosques of "GoharShad", but the shrine has other attractions for them and tourists can spend hours in watching the architecture of the pilgrimage and prayer readings, people wearing floral chadors and sometimes they themselves wear them.
The President of the Association of Tour Guides in the Razavi Khorasan Seyed Ali Nabavi, who most of the time accompanies foreign tourists visiting the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) and also recently accompanied a group of foreign tourists who arrived by train from Europe to Mashhad, said to ISNA Tourism Desk reporter: “Most foreign tourists who travel to Mashhad like to see Imam Reza shrine. According to them, everything in there is so attractive that they become excited seeing the shrine.”
“Lots of foreign tourists who visit the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) say they have not visit anywhere in Iran which as interesting and attractive as the shrine of Imam Reza. I heard this many times from them” he added.
Nabavi also noted, “Foreign tourists cannot visit all places in the shrine and they can only see certain places. Based on what has been said; in their opinions, there are things that are very attractive; the glory of the architecture, the people who have been seen praying and going on pilgrimage and prayer lines which they have rarely seen in other countries”.
“Most foreign ladies like the clothes while entering the shrine. They think wearing Hijab is a kind of charm, they welcome it and have no problem with it” this veteran tour guide said.
He also mentioned the good cooperation of the International Office of Imam Reza (A.S.) holy shrine and said there is a good interaction with foreign tourists and they offer interesting possibilities, like guides who are fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese etc.
These services for many of foreign tourists are quite remarkable, especially for those who do not speak the common languages.