Qom is considered to be one of Iran’s most sacred cities, second only to Mashhad in Shi’ite Islam. Qom’s position as a holy city is due both to the Shrine of Hazrat-e Fatima Masumeh and the Qom Seminary situated within the city, in fact, the Qom Seminary or rather Howzeh, has produced most of the prominent political figures that have governed Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979. Shi’ite students and scholars from around the world come here to partake in its schools and leaf through its renowned theological bookstores and libraries and pilgrims visit and pay tribute at the holy shrine. It should be noted that the locals in the city are noticeably more religious than elsewhere and travelers should be heedful of the city’s pious milieu when visiting and should dress conservatively. Moreover restrained and unobtrusive manners are hugely valued in, and nearby the Shrine itself.
Qom’s population along with the country has more than doubled since 1979 which in turn has reshaped the outskirts of the city by a mass of newly-built settlements and although the setup of these new apartments is rather distastefully built, the population boom has ascribed the old city with a new soul. As Qom is only a 2-hour drive from Tehran it can be easily visited within a day trip from Tehran or also on the way to Kashan.