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Omar Khayyam Tomb

 

Neishabur’s main attraction remains Khayyam’s Tomb. Its present form is a distinctive 1970s modernist affair with diamond-shaped lozenges of calligraphic tiling (Khayyam’s words, naturally) set in a curved, airy net of criss-crossed marble. Don’t be surprised to find random Iranians bombarding you with recitations of Khayyam’s verses as you ponder the monument.

A big part of the tomb’s attraction is its manicured garden setting, Bagh-e Mahrugh, with a gently appealing terrace on which to sip tea (US$1 per pot) with Neishabur’s famous crystallised sugar while being serenaded by (caged) birds. Jewellery outlets compete to sell you Neishabur’s equally famous turquoise. In the gardens’ free southern section, the lovely Imamzadeh-ye Mohammed Mahrugh is a fine 16th-century domed mausoleum with an intricately tiled portal.

The octagonal tomb tower of Shiekh attarsits in another pretty garden, 1km west (a popular horse-and-carriage ride).

Either end of the gardens is a great place to indulge in a bit of guerrilla picnicking, Iranian style, and you’ll be guaranteed to join a family or two for tea and cookies.