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Najaf: old-world grandeur in Iraq’s southern reaches

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  • Adults (12+ years)
    Child (2-11 years)
    More information

    Each infant should be accompanied by one adult. When an infant fare is booked, the infant will be seated on the parent’s lap.

    Infant (Under 2 years)
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    Each infant should be accompanied by one adult. When an infant fare is booked, the infant will be seated on the parent’s lap.

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Book flights to Najaf

Book a flight to Najaf with Qatar Airways, and explore a town steeped in history and culture. A trip to Najaf, an ancient Iraqi city located around 160km south of Baghdad, is like travelling back in time. It still retains much of the allure of its bygone era, thanks to a skyline resplendent with tiered buildings and centuries-old mosques.

One of the most famous attractions in Najaf is the Imam Ali Mosque, which was originally built in the 16th century. This majestic building, with its gilded dome and intricate mosaic, is a fine example of Islamic architecture.

On your visit, you will find that Najaf’s narrow streets are always bustling with activity. And with its rugged grandeur, you will feel as though you have been transported into the fantasy world of Sinbad the Sailor.

Najaf travel highlights

Visit the 19th-century Imam Ali Mosque, then stroll through the city’s vibrant streets; welcome to Najaf.

  • Tourist attractions

    Your first stop when you travel to Najaf should be the Imam Ali Mosque, one of the holiest locations in Iraq and a beautiful example of intricate Islamic architecture.

    The mosque was first built in 977, then rebuilt in 1086 after a fire, then rebuilt yet again in the early 16th century. Today’s building dates to just after 1500.

    For an unforgettable experience, pay a visit to Wadi al-Salam (“Valley of Peace”) Cemetery. Wadi al-Salam is considered by many commentators to be the world’s largest graveyard, covering more than 1,400 acres and serving as the final resting place for millions.

  • Leisure activities

    Take a walk around the city’s streets to take in Najaf’s atmosphere. This is an ancient settlement and much of the old-world character remains in its buildings and layout. Head to the Najaf Seminary for a glimpse of a key Islamic teaching centre. And check out the city’s many museums and libraries that earned it the title of Capital of Arabic Intellect, in 2014. 

    When you are ready for a change of pace, head to Najaf City Mall, home to a cinema, cafés, restaurants and a bowling alley, as well as an adventure playground for children.  

  • Food

    Iraqi cuisine takes cues from neighbouring Turkey and Iran. Meat is often cooked with fruit, for added flavour; vegetables are stuffed with a variety of ingredients; and lamb, rice and yogurt are all common. If you need a pick-me-up, sample the coffee, which is very strong and based on Turkish recipes.

    Kebabs are very popular here. The most common varieties include lamb and beef, but chicken or fish are also available. Be sure to try qeema, a stew with minced meat, tomato and chickpeas, served with rice. 

  • Shopping

    Najaf’s retail culture is expanding, and you can find souqs within the city limits, selling jewellery and other trinkets. The biggest of these is Al Souq Al Kabeer (the large market), near the Imam Ali Mosque. The bazaar’s merchants sell a great variety of goods, including gold, clothes, textiles, watches, accessories, perfumes and sweets. So you will have no trouble picking up a few souvenirs, as long as you are prepared to haggle.

    But Najaf’s retail expansion also includes malls that offer eateries and entertainment alongside local and regional brands. One such shopping centre is Najaf City Mall, which includes a cinema, dining establishments, a bowling alley and a kid’s adventure playground.

Essential facts about Najaf

Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip


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