Nishapur is a city in Khorasan Razavi Province, capital of the Nishapur County and former capital of Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains. Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia. The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I as a Sasanian satrapy capital. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830, and was later selected as the capital of Seljuq dynasty by Tughril in 1037. From the Abbasid era to the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran, the city evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center within the Islamic world.
Nishapur, along with Merv, Herat and Balkh were one of the four great cities of Greater Khorasan and one of the greatest cities in the middle ages, a seat of governmental power in eastern of caliphate, a dwelling place for diverse ethnic and religious groups, a trading stop on commercial routes from Transoxiana and China, Iraq and Egypt. Nishapur reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed and the entire population slaughtered by Mongols in 1221. This massacre, combined with subsequent earthquakes and other invasions are believed to have destroyed the pottery industry the city was known for.