The city of Qom is located south of Tehran, near Qomrud River. It is the center of a small province with the same name, and the smallest province of Iran after Alborz. The city was on the path of Silk Road that made it strategically important. Even today it is on the path of main connecting roads. People of the city speak Farsi with Qomi accent. There are also minority that speaks Arabic, Pashtu, and Azari Turkish.
The city was referred to with many titles, but the most famous one is the Religious Capital of Iran or the Vatican of Iran. Perhaps because not only the holly shrine of Fatima Masouma is here; some of the biggest schools of religious studies are made here as well. Putting the religious aspect of the city aside, Qom is one of the main centers of silk carpet, motorcycle, shoes, and religious books and software.
More than anything, the city is famous for hosting the shrine of Fatima Masoumeh. The holly lady was the daughter of the 7th Shiite Imam and the sister of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam. The graves of other descendants of the prophet of Islam are here as well that adds to the significance of the city. Another highlight of Qom is the mosque of Jamkaran, dedicated to the 12th Shiite Imam that is expected to resurrect and save the humanity from evil. The distance of Mashhad from the central and western part of the country, and the falling of Iraq and Syria to the hands of Ottomans made Qom even more popular as a religious destination.
The etymologist consider the name taken from an Arabic word that means a pool of water that has no flow out, and is surrounded with different plants. There are also those that use the work Koumeh as the origin of word. Koumeh is a small hut used by shepherds in the meadows. In the passing of time Koumeh is turned to Koum and then Qom.
The city has a history of about 10-thousand-year. The archeological excavations of Qomroud prove that. Many of the retrieved objects are now on display in different museum of Iran. It is also known that the ancient city was on the East side of the current one, and when the path of River was changed, the city moved as well.
The heart of the current city is the Lab Chal neighborhood that was once home to Zoroastrians. It is said that sometime around Sassanid Era, the city was destroyed and the Sassanid king Kavadh that passed through the city on his return from war ordered the reconstruction of it. After Islam, and with the death of Fatima Masoumeh, the city gains a religious aspect. It becomes a center for Iranian to arrange protests against the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs. Many of these oppositions were heavily suppressed and the city got damaged in these battles. With the Shiite religion as the official religion of country in Safavid time, the city began its boom. However, it was once again destroyed in the Afghan’s attack. After that, Qom lost its place, until Qajars came to throne.
In Qajar time, the mausoleum was restored and expanded. In the First World War, it became a center of Russian and British troops, and later when the troops went to Karaj to invade Tehran many people immigrated to Qom. The city became especially important in Pahlavi time, because of the oppositions that were led by clergies who were mostly in Qom. The city became a base for the leaders of people to publish statements and manifestos.
Like the rest of country, Qom is also known for its art and handicrafts. Tiling, brick making, carpet weaving, saddle making, fabric weaving, copper dish making, stone carving and Giveh weaving are among these handicrafts. The city is also known for a kind of sweet named Souhan that is made of wholemeal flour, wheat sprout, oil, saffron, pistachio, egg yolk, sugar and cardamom.