One of the major cities in the west of Khorasan Razavi Province (Iran), located on the ancient Silk Road is Sabzevar, linking point between Neyshabur and Shahroud. Enclosing to the Lut Desert and margin of the central desert of Iran and southern slopes of the Alborz Mountains makes Sabzevar's climate dry and desert. With the altitude of 950 meter above sea level Sabzevar has little rainfall. For this reason, Sabzevar is one of the cities in which the Qanat has a long history. Hard and dry geography over time taught Iranians to use this technology to direct underground water to the surface. As a result, many cisterns and Yakhdan (icehouse) remain in Sabzevar One of the main agricultural products in Sabzevar during the history and even nowadays is cotton. By being in the middle of Silk Road can be guessed it had been a precious commodity.
Sabzevar is founded by Sasuyeh, son of Shapur, king of Sassanid. After the arrival of Islam to Iran, Sasuyeh lost the position and another village near to old city started to flourish. The new city was Beyhagh. During the Ghaznavi and Seljuk Beyhagh was attacked for several times and was completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion. It was also destroyed by Tamerlane and later revived at the time of Qajar and this time under the name of Sabzevar.
This area has had great personalities throughout Iranian history, one of the most famous Iranian Historian in Samanid era and 10th century was Abul-fadl Beyhaghi. The other important character is Famous philosopher of the eighteenth century, Hajj Molla Hadi Sabzevari (1797-1873). Well known person, that as a clergyman, he never accepted money from the people or the government and provided his livelihood with agriculture.
Prior to the arrival of Islam and during the Sassanid era, this area was one of the main Zoroastrian centers in Iran, before Islam there was three great Fire temples in the country. Azar Borzin Mehr was one of the three glorious fire temples of Zoroastrians. As a matter of fact it used for thanks giving Ahura Mazda (creator and highest deity of Zoroastrianism) by farmers on Harvesting seasons. The remains of the fire temple can be seen near Sabzevar and the Rivand Mountains.
In the post-Islamic period, Beyhagh and Sabzevar were the main centers of Shia Muslims in Khorasan. After death of prophet Muhammad Islam followers categorized to two main groups. Shia believes that Prophet Muhammad before his death had designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor, for this claim, the Shiites refer to Ghadir Khumm event. Shiites recognize Ali as first Imam and believe that after Ali, his children and grandchildren deserve this position, the followers believe in following their imams. So The Shia declared their opposition to another group that did not follow the Prophet's will. Oppression of Arabs encouraged Iranians to join this opposition force. In fact for Iranian Shiite was a way to fight against cruelty of Caliphs on Umayyad and Abbasid era. The belief to fight against oppression is the core of Shiite thought; this thinking has also been reproduced in later historical periods. Sabzevar has been one of the main Shiite centers in post-Islamic history of Iran. Belief in fighting against tyranny during Mongol attack became mainstay of rebellion against Mongols in this region. In the middle of the 14th century the Shias of the region established a militant against the Mongol Ilkhanids, they named themselves Sarbadar means; Head on Gallows. Following religious teachings, this uprising began in Sabzevar, covering the entire northeast of Iran. Eventually, Timur (Tamerlane) destroyed the movement with a brutal attack.