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Mashhad: A city full of stories

Mashhad is Iran’s holiest and second-largest city. Its raison d’être and main sight is the beautiful, massive and ever-growing Haram (shrine complex) commemorating the AD 818 martyrdom of Shiite Islam’s eighth Imam, Imam Reza. The pain of Imam Reza’s death is still felt very personally well over a millennium later and more than 20 million pilgrims converge here each year to pay their respects. Witnessing their tears is a moving experience, even if you’re not Muslim yourself.

Dr.dr. Saptawati Bardosono, MSc, short for Tati, was invited to attend the international congress entitled “Nutrition: from Laboratory research to clinical studies”as key speaker. The journey to Mashhad Iran, is a journey she will never forget


Why did you travel to Mashhad?

At first I did not believe that I was invited to give a talk in the first International Congress Nutrition: From Laboratory Research to Clinical Studies in Mashhad Iran, September 6–8, 2017. Not until an email reached me to ascertain that the invitation was real. Preparation was made for the presentation only, while for the visa was only bothered to make a new photo wearing hair cover. Other things were arranged well by the committees from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.

Where did you stay?

After flying more than half day from Jakarta to Mashhad via Doha, I arrived early in the morning in International Shaheed Hashem-inejad airport of Mashhad and being fetched up right under the airplane stairs by the committees, and again everything were well arranged. And, we were escorted to the hotel nearby the congress venue, Pardisan Hotel.

How did you get around the city

To go to the congress venue and back to the hotel was arranged by the committees’ buses. Although it was not far or only 15 minutes walk, however to the hot climate than it was safer to ride a bus. During the congress, the committees also provide us to visit interesting places before inviting us for dinner. During my extra day staying in Mashhad, I joined the group of two Italian guys from the UNESCO to visit the market to find unique germs. We were accompanied by two appointed students (i.e. medical and dentistry) to ride in their private car and continued by metro and public bus. It was Friday, and it is a public holiday for the Iranian instead of Sunday. Thus all the public transportations were crowded.

Tell us about the places you visit in Mashhad

First day, we visited the Kang-village. It was an old village built in the foothills of the Binalod Mountain. We had to climbed the stairways all the way to the top to pass all the houses with closed doors with almost no windows. The village has been built in such a way that the yard for each house is on the roof another. Tiredness for climbing the stairway architectural design of this village was paid by having very beautiful scenic view of the hills.

Second day, we visited Holy Shrine of imam Reza. We rode a bus but had to walk to be able to enter the mosque compound. It is a big and beautiful mosque full with visitors who can pass the praying area to go to the museum inside the mosque. Lots of Muslim do their prayer and listening to the priest afterward. All the prayers are provided by dinner from the mosque. Every night they cook for thousand portions of meal.

The third day, we dressed up for the formal dinner invited by the committee. Before going to the venue, we visited a carpet gallery and being explained to different type of Persian carpet. They all looked very beautiful but do not ask for the price, because it could be similar to the price of a car. After that we went to a nice hotel for a formal dinner