عنوان مقاله [English]
The city of Mashhad has long been affected by natural conditions of the region (the existence of suitable farming soil, various mines, etc.) and also by the general state of political economy of the country. "In the third century A.H”, according to Ya’ghubi, “Noghan (the first nucleus of the city of Mashhad) was a great city renowned for the production of stone dishes”. He refers to Noghan as “the place of turquoise and green marble sale, which was extracted from the surrounding mountains" (Le Strange, 1997: 415). In addition, Moghaddasi in the late third century mentions the markets of the city of Tabran (the current Tus city which is a suburb of Mashhad today), that contained great deal of commodities. (Ibid.) Economic growth in the city of Mashhad begins mainly in the Safavid period. The first Shah of this dynasty, Ismail I, established the Shiite religion as the official religion of the country, and in this situation, attention was paid to the religious cities of the country, especially Mashhad, and the importance of this city continued at the time of his successors (The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1991, 714).
By reformations of Shah Abbas I Safavid and his efforts to improve and restore roads and build and repair interurban caravansaries and security stations, the trade in the age of Safavids experienced prosperity, and Mashhad, which was highly considered by the Shiite sultans of Safavid religion, was not an exception to this rule (Tahernya, 1997: 175). British businessman George Thompson wrote in 1153 A.H. (at the time of the rule of Nadir Shah Afshar) about the city's economy: “Mashhad is a prosperous city, where commerce plays a significant role. Every day, caravans from Balkh, Badakhshan, Kandahar, India and every corner of Iran's soil enter Mashhad. The large and well-developed markets of this city are brimming with valuable commodities and a large group of merchants from various nations are gathered here” (Afshar Sistani, 1999: 338). He has mentioned the number of caravansaries in this city as almost ninety. (Lockhart, 1366: 136)