Monday, 13 January, 2020

Dubai connects Mashhad: Top things to see and do

On Tuesday, Emirates Airline extended its reach into Iran by linking Dubai with Mashhad, adding a second passenger gateway into the country after Tehran.

Emirates’ services to Mashhad will depart on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from Dubai as EK967 at 04.10am, arriving at Mashhad International Airport at 7am.

The return flight, EK968, will depart Mashhad International Airport at 08.45am, arriving in Dubai at 10.45am.

In addition to passenger operations, Emirates SkyCargo will offer up to 150 tonnes of cargo capacity per week between Dubai and Mashhad on the A330-200. Popular commodities to be exported out of Mashhad are fruits, vegetables, handmade carpets, saffron and nuts. Imports such as meat, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, machinery and automobile parts will also be vital to the trade exchange.

Emirates’ five weekly flights, operated by a combination of a three class and two class configured A330-200, will help further stimulate the vital trade ties between the UAE and Iran. The UAE is Iran’s biggest non-oil trading partner. It is also Iran’s biggest source of imported goods, worth more than AED 93.5 billion in 2014. In turn, Iran exports goods to the UAE valued at AED 3.8 billion, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy.

Emirates may speed up Iranian expansion

Emirates is looking to add more flights to Iran, including to new destinations, a senior executive told Gulf News on Tuesday, the day it launched flights to Mashhad, the country’s second biggest city.

The airline is interested in expanding its reach in Iran beyond its current four daily flights to Tehran, the capital, and five new weekly flights to Mashhad, its 148th global destination, now that sanctions are expected to ease.

“[This] will give us more opportunity to look at other points” and look into increasing capacity on existing routes, Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice-President of Commercial Operations Centre, told Gulf News on board the inaugural flight to Mashhad.

Iran’s economy is expected to surge from early next year when international sanctions begin to lift under the nuclear agreement the country reached with the United States and other world powers this summer.

“Iran has a huge potential,” Shaikh Majid said.

Under sanctions, Emirates flew half a million passengers to and from Iran in its last financial year that ended March 31, 2015. This will increase by at least 10 per cent on the Tehran route this year in addition to Mashhad traffic, Shaikh Majid said. “We are very optimistic [now that] the sanctions are going to be lifted,” he said.

Emirates flew the A380, world’s largest passenger jet, to Tehran last September as a one-off.

The airline commenced services to Iran in 1990 with two flights a week to Tehran.  It now operates four daily flights to the capital city. Since then, Emirates has carried 7 million passengers in and out of Iran.

Get to know Mashhad

Explore Mashhad, a city of shrines and gardens that attracts some 20 million pilgrims from all over the world every year:

Mashhad has a population of more than three million, and a history of trade and commerce going back centuries to the days of the old Silk Road between China and Europe.

The city is an exporting hub in a region that has strengths in agricultural and craft industries, but which is also a growing manufacturing and assembly base for the car and other consumer industries. All this will get a significant boost if sanctions are finally and fully lifted in a few months’ time.

Mashhad is also a major centre for Shia Islamic tourism, with millions of visitors coming from other parts of Iran, as well as the Arabian Gulf and other countries that have big Shia populations, to visit its shrines.

Top things to see and do in Mashhad

  • Don’t miss the heart of Mashhad, Haram-e Razavi, the shrine of Imam Reza. Domes, minarets, fountains and porches abound in the fascinating and beautiful precincts of the shrine. The shrine complex also includes a library and museum, as well as the exquisitely decorated 15th century Goharshad Mosque.
  • Go shopping in one of Mashhad’s bazaars. There you can find fabrics, textiles, religious souvenirs, perfume, jewellery and local crafts.
  • Have fun with the family at the city park at Kuh-e Sangi. You can get great views of the city at the top of this hill above Mashhad. It’s a good place to have a stroll and buy some souvenirs.
  • Visit Nader Shah’s tomb. Featuring a dramatic statue of King Nader riding a horse, the tomb is set in a garden in the centre of the city, and also has a museum.
  • Enjoy some refreshments at the Hezardestan traditional teahouse. Here you can taste black or rose petal tea, admire the antiques and carpets and listen to some traditional live music.


Tips for travellers

A couple of hours from Mashhad is Neishabur. Here you’ll find the tomb of the poet Omar Khayyam set in a beautiful garden. Neishabur is also a great place to buy turquoise jewellery.

Book your trip to Mashhad now

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