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Travel Warning WARNING: Travel to Iraq is advised against by most governments. See the warning on the Iraq article for more information.
Government travel advisories
(Information last updated 29 Aug 2020)

Najaf is a city in Southern Iraq .


Get in[edit]

There are several daily flights from the capital Baghdad as well as several cities in Iran with national carrier Iraqi Airways[dead link]. Additionally, there are a limited number of international flights from hubs such as Istanbul and Dubai.

You can take shared taxis to/from Baghdad, Karbala, and other cities. Shared taxis to/from Karbala are 3,000 IQD (76km one way), to/from Nasiriyah are 15,000 IQD (256km one way), to/from Hillah are 7,500 IQD, and to/from Baghdad are 15,000 IQD (as of October 2022).

  • 2 Najaf Northern Garage. This is the garage that north-bound (ex. to Baghdad) shared taxis leave from.

Get around[edit]

Map of Najaf

Careem (ridesharing app, owned by Uber) is available in Najaf, and takes international credit cards. Note that there are roadblocks around the Imam Ali Mosque which may require a "Careem Old City" service to get past (prices are pretty much the same as the regular Careem services though.


View of Imam Ali Shrine.

Najaf is renowned as the site of the Tomb of Alī ibn Abī Tālib also known as "Imām Alī" the First Imam of Shia's, the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad whom the Shia consider to be the righteous caliph . The city is now a great center of pilgrimage from throughout the Shi'a Islamic world. It is estimated that only Mecca and Medina receive more Muslim pilgrims. As the burial site of Shia Islam's second most important figure, the Imam Ali Mosque is considered by Shias as the third holiest Islamic site.

The Imam Ali Mosque is housed in a grand structure with a gold gilded dome and many precious objects in the walls. Nearby is the Wadi-us-Salaam cemetery, reputed to be the largest in the world. It contains the tombs of several prophets and many of the devout from around the world aspire to be buried here, to be raised from the dead with Imām Alī on Judgement Day. Over the centuries, numerous hospices, schools, libraries and Sufi convents were built around the shrine to make the city the centre of Shīʻa learning and theology.

The Najaf seminary is one of the most important teaching centres in the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini lectured there from 1964–1978. Many of the leading figures of the new Islamic movement that emerged in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon in the 1970s had studied at Najaf.

The Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif also has a site which claims to be Ali's tomb and draws many pilgrims, but Najaf's claim is more widely accepted.

  • 1 Al-Qadisiyyah (About 60 kilometres south of Najaf). Historical city, infamous as the site of the battle in 636, which saw forces of the Rashidun Caliphate defeat the Persians sent by Rostam Farrokhzad, the dynast of the Sasanian Empire. Al-Qādisiyyah (Q2731997) on Wikidata Al-Qadisiyyah (historical city) on Wikipedia
  • 2 Great Mosque of Kufa. Great Mosque of Kufa (Q3906396) on Wikidata Great Mosque of Kufa on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ruins of Al-Hirah. Ancient city. Al-Hirah (Q310799) on Wikidata Al-Hirah on Wikipedia
  • 4 Najaf Heritage Museum (متحف التراث النجفي). Housed in a historic khan, this heritage museum contains artifacts from rich history of Najaf as well as a special focus on the Iraqi revolt of 1920, a major revolt against British rule due to new land ownership and burial taxes in Najaf. (Q28716816) on Wikidata
  • 5 Wadi-us-Salaam (وادي السلام). An Islamic cemetery, it is noted for being the largest cemetery in the world. Wadi-us-Salaam (Q1909993) on Wikidata Wadi-us-Salaam on Wikipedia

The countryside around Najaf is home to several khans, sometimes also called caravanserais. They were fortified roadside inns built to accommodate travelers overnight. Most of the more impressive ones are located on the historic route between Najaf and Karbala which served as an important trade and religious route.

  • 6 Khan al-Nuss. A historic khan, a type of roadside inn, on the road between Najaf and Karbala.







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