Rey, Iran

For the administrative subdivision, see Rey County.
"Ray, Iran" redirects here. For the village in South Khorasan Province, see Ray, South Khorasan.
District of Tehran

Up to down:

1st row:
Left to right:
Tughrul Tower---Bahram fire temple
2nd row:
Rey Castle---Rashkan Castle
3rd row:
Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine---Shah Abbassi Caravanserai

4th row:
Fath Ali shah inscription---A local bazaar (Friday Bazar)
Coordinates: 35°35′N 51°26′E / 35.583°N 51.433°E / 35.583; 51.433Coordinates: 35°35′N 51°26′E / 35.583°N 51.433°E / 35.583; 51.433
Country  Iran
Province Tehran
County Capital of Rey, but within Tehran
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
  Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)

Rey or Ray [Pronunciation: rā] (Persian: شهر ری, Shahr-e-Ray, "City of Ray"), also known as Rhages (/ˈrəz/; Greek: Ῥάγαι, or Europos (Ευρωπός) Rhagai; Latin: Rhagae or Rhaganae) and formerly as Arsacia, is the capital of Rey County in Tehran Province of Iran, and the oldest existing city in the province.

Ray today has been absorbed into the Greater Tehran metropolitan area. Ray is connected via the Tehran Metro to the rest of Tehran and has many industries and factories in operation. Limited excavations of what was not bulldozed began in 1997 in collaboration with the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), the Department of Archaeological Sciences of the University of Bradford and the Department of Archaeology of the University of Tehran.

Rey map
Rey in Tehran map (black). Rey is 20th district of municipal Tehran.

Note on spelling: According to the Iranian Chamber Society, the correct spelling of the city in both English and Persian is Ray, though variations in spelling also exist.[1] The city university also uses the spelling Ray ("Azad University, Shahr-e-Ray"),[2] as does the Encyclopædia Iranica published by Columbia University.[3]


A settlement began here c 6,000 BCE as part of the Central Plateau Culture. The settlement was used as a capital by the Arsacids called Rhaga. In Classical Roman geography it was called Rhagae. It is mentioned several times in the Apocrypha.[4] Its name dates back to the pre-Median period. Some historians attribute its building to ancient mythological monarchs, and some others believe that Ray was the seat of a dynasty of Zoroastrian leader.

During the Greek Macedonian occupation of Iran, Alexander's general Seleucus I Nicator renamed the city as Europos, honouring his country in Macedonia. Ray is richer than many other ancient cities in the number of its historical monuments, among which one might refer to the 3000-year-old Gebri castle, the 5000-year-old Cheshmeh Ali hill, the 1000-year-old Bibi Shahr Banoo tomb and Shah Abbasi caravanserai. It has been home to pillars of science like Rhazes.

Rey was one of the capital cities of the Seljuqs in the 11th century. In the 13th century after the Mongol conquest the town was severely damaged and it gradually lost its importance in the presence of nearby Tehran.

There is also a shrine there, dedicated to commemorate Princess Shahr Banu, eldest daughter of the last ruler of the Sassanid Empire. She gave birth to Ali Zayn al Abidin, the fourth holy Imam of the Shia faith. This was through her marriage to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. A nearby mountain is also named after her. However, some sources attribute the shrine to the goddess of water and fertility, Anahita, claiming it was renamed in Islamic times to protect it from any possible harm after the conversion of Iranians to Islam.

In the middle of the 19th century Ray was described as place of ruins, the only settlement being around the shrine of Abdol Azim.[5] Being the only important pilgrimage site in vicinity to the royal court in the new capital Tehran brought more people to visit the shrine and a major restoration was sponsored by the court.[6] Thus Ray was the first place in Iran to be connected to the capital by a railroad in 1888.

Main sights

1818 map by Robert Ker Porter
Tughrul Tower, a 12th-century monument commemorating the Seljuq monarch Tuğrul Beg, is one of the historical structures still standing today.
View from Rashkan hill to Ray and Bibi-shahr-bano mountain

Notable people

See also


  1. "Iran Chamber Society: Iranian Cities: Shahr-e Ray". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. "Islamic Azad University, Shahr-e-Ray - TOP ranked University - University Directory". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  3. "FAHLAVĪYĀT – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  4. Judith 1:5, 15; Tobit 1:14, 5:5, 6:10
  5. Heinrich Brugsch, Reise der K. preussischen Gesandtschaft nach Persien 1860 und 1861, Leipzig 1862 , Volume 1, pp 230ff
  6. in 1854, cf art. ʿABD-AL-ʿAẒĪM AL-ḤASANĪ in
  7. 1 2 3 al-Qummi, Ja'far ibn Qūlawayh (2008). "107". Kāmil al-Ziyārāt. trans. Sayyid Mohsen al-Husaini al-Mīlāni. Press. p. 658.
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Preceded by
Capital of Seljuq Empire (Persia)
Succeeded by
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