Najaf (Arabic: النجف; BGN: An Najaf) is a city in Iraq about 160 km (roughly 100 miles) south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate. It is widely considered the third holiest city of Shi'a Islam and the center of Shia political power in Iraq. The city is home to the Imam Ali Shrine, and hosts millions of pilgrims yearly.
Najaf is one of the holiest cities in Iraq for Shi'a Muslims.
it is very easy to navigate in Najaf. After arrival at the international Najaf airport, one can easily get a taxi or by buses
There is a $10 charge per pax you have to pay, in addition to agent fee (fixed at $50), when you arrive at the Najaf International Airport. So for a group of 5 people, expect to pay $100 ($10x5 + $50).
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. Many of the leading figures of the new Islamic movement that emerged in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon in the 1970s had studied at Najaf.
Najaf has be chosen to be the capital of Arabic intellect in the year 2014 due to the large variety of museums and libraries that are also a destination for tourists from across the globe
Najaf is considered to be a prime destination for religious tourism in the islamic world. Millions Shia sect followers and muslims in general visit the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (a.s) every year. This has made the city to be very active economically. Al Sooq Al Kabeer (the large market) is the city's largest shopping destination where a wide variety of items could be found
Large collection of meals and desert from the middle eastern culture could be obtained in the restaurants surround the shrine of Imam Ali (a.s)
Hotels are highly available in Najaf and could vary from two to five stars