Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the north east of the country close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East. The city is well known and respected for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine. Mashhad is located in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns.