introduction

Na’in  (also known as Naein and Naeen)

Na’in is a pre-Islamic town, more than 2,000 years old, on the edge of the Central Desert of Iran in the Isfahan (province) of Central Iran.


Na’in (also known as Naein and Naeen) lies 170 km north of Yazd and 140 km east of Esfahan and the current population is about 75,000.

Understand

With an area of almost 35,000 km², Na’in lies at an altitude of 1545 m above sea level. Like much of the Iranian plateau, it has a desert climate, with a maximum temperature of 41°C in summer, and a minimum of -9°C in winter.

More than 3,000 years ago the Persians learned how to construct aqueducts underground (qanat in Persianکاریز, or kariz) to bring water from the mountains to the plains. In the 1960’s this ancient system provided more than 70 percent of the water used in Iran and Na’in is one of the best places in all the world to see these qanats functioning.

Unique to Na’in are some of the most outstanding monuments in all of Iran: the Jame Mosque, one of the first four mosques built in Iran after the Arab invasion; the Pre-Islamic Narej Fortress; a Pirnia traditional house; the Old Bazaar; Rigareh, a qanat-based watermill; and a Zurkhaneh (a place for traditional sport).

Besides its magnificent monuments, Na’in is also famous for high-quality carpets and wool textiles.

Some linguists believe the word Na’in may have been derived from the name of one of the descendants of the prophet Noah, who was called “Naen”. Many local people speak an ancient Pahlavi Sasani dialect, the same dialect that is spoken by the Zoroastrians in Yazd today. Other linguists state that the word Na’in is derived from the word “Nei” (“straw” in English) which is a marshy plant.

Get in

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From Esfahan, travellers can use the Jay terminal and take the Naein bus or mini bus (20,000 to 25,000 rial). An alternative is the Esfahan-Yazd bus, which leaves the terminal once every hour, if they inform the driver that Naein is their final destination and the fare is 35,000 rial.

From Yazd, travellers can take the Yazd – Esfahan buses from Yazd terminal and ask the driver to stop in Naein which costs 40,000 rial.

From Tehran, there are two terminals available: Jonub terminal, with buses leaving at 10:00 and 17:00; Beihaghi (Arjantin) Terminal, with one bus departing at 23:00. The ticket price is 10,0000 rial.

In Naein, there is a regular bus to Esfahan almost every half hour, from the only bus station in town. Private taxis are available 24 hours a day at the “Falake Esfahan.” Departing the town to Yazd is possible by waiting for the buses to Yazd at “Falake Esfahan,” or by taking a taxi to the Yazd Road police station.

Get around

Jame Mosque

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Jame mosque of Na’in basement, Enlighten with the Alabaster stone

The initial construction of Jame Mosque dates back to the 8th Century A.D., but the whole of the complex has been constructed periodically. One of the oldest mosques in Iran. its magnificent plasterwork over the niche, the marvelous brickwork around the yard, and its silent basement–which may have been used as a fire temple before the mosque was built here—are only a few of the remarkable features of this mosque. This mosque has no Iwan and dome as do the other famous mosques in Esfahan and Yazd. A 28- meter octagonal minaret was added to the mosque almost 700 years ago. If you stand in the middle of the yard, you will find yourself surrounded by fourteen columns, each one adorned with a unique and intricate pattern of brickwork. You might also be interested in the alabaster stones which render sunlight through the basement. One of the most exquisite pieces of artwork inside the mosque is the wooden marquetry pulpit—“menbar” in Persian. The carpenter matched the wooden parts together like a pieces of a puzzle. The pulpit is decorated with organic geometrical designs. According to the wooden inscription on the left side of the pulpit, it was created about 700 years ago. An underground water channel crosses beneath the mosque. There is a stairway that connects the mosque to the water channel and to chambers above the pool. In the past, people in prayer used the water for ablution. The basement used to be a praying chamber in hot summers and cold winters. The temperature in the basement is always moderate, never varying more than 10 to 15 degrees. The basement wasn’t actually built; it was dug into the ground, which means no materials used to construct it. The entrance fee is 5000Rls. The mosque is open from 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.(in summer) or 5:30 P.M. (in winter). The mosque is closed every Monday.
Rigareh Water mill

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The ancient Rigareh–a qanat-based water mill–is located in the Mohammadieh neighborhood. The age of this engineering masterpiece is unknown; however, some historians believe that it dates back to the pre-Islamic era. The water is supplied by the “Keykhosrow” qanat channel. The mill is placed 30 meters underground. The access corridor to the mill is about 120 meters. A qanat channel crosses 12 meters above the mill and fills the huge 8-meter water tank. When enough pressure is provided, the water is released and rotates the turbine. The waste water flows out the channel and joins the main qanat channel with a gradual slope 3km farther. Since the advent of electricity to grind the wheat and barley, this water mill has become a part of history. The mill is closed most of the time, except Noruz (the Persian New Year holiday). But, visits can be arranged through me.

 

Pirnia traditional house, ethnology museum

 

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The Pirnia traditional house is a perfect example of the regional desert houses in terms of architecture and art. The house consists of an exterior, an interior, a deep garden, a silo room, and all of the facilities that a lord’s house needed to have. When you enter the house and pass the first corridor, you reach an octagonal room called “hashti”, which used to be a waiting room for clients and visitors. Beautiful paintings, amazing plasterwork of Qur’anic stories, a book of famous poems, and exquisite calligraphy decorate the living room. The house was constructed in the Safavid Period. First, a judge of Naein lived there. During the Qajar Period, the house belonged to a governor of Naein. A few decades ago, the house was purchased by the Ministry of Culture and Art. After renovation in 1994, the house was converted into the desert ethnology museum. The entrance fee is 5000Rls. The museum is open from 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. in summer and 5:30 P.M. in winter. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Mosallah edifice

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The Mosallah is another remarkable monument in Naein. Its vast garden used to be a popular recreational area, until a few years ago. The mausoleum inside the Mosallah was a pilgrimage site for visitors. The dome of Mosallah is opposite the dome of the shrine of Emamzadeh Sultan Seyyed Ali. These two are connected by a street. There is a water reservoir on one side of the garden, which can be accessed by people inside and outside the garden through a stairway on each side. Water in this reservoir was cooled by two wind towers. The water reservoir–ab-anbar–was in use until a few years ago. The architectural style of Naein’s Mosallah is characteristic of the Qajar dynasty. A number of literary, political and religious figures are buried on this site. Actually “mosallah” is an Arabic word for a place of prayer; but, no one knows if any praying was ever done at this location. The Mosallah is an octagonal mausoleum of dervishes and Qajar and Pahlavi political figures. It is encompassed by a Qajar-era military fort with a high wall thick enough for a horse to be ridden on. The pistachio trees around the turquoise-domed mausoleum and two tall wind towers make the complex very photogenic. (Some photos are attached.) The entrance fee is 5000Rls. The site is open to the public from 8:00 A.M. to noon and from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
The Castle of Narenj (Narenj Qal’e)

it’s the remnant of a structure that was also known as Narin castle. The construction materials used in the castle, as well as its style of architecture support the idea that it was built in the pre-Islamic era. According to surveys and evidences, this monument might belongs to Partiyan period. The exact application of the castle is not known, however it is thought to have been part of the military and official compounds of the city. Many researchers of the Safavid era have spoken of numerous castles known as Narikh Qalae, which were used for military purposes.

Hence, it can be concluded that Naeen’s Narikh Qalae was also a military establishment. The famous historian and researcher, Estakhri mentioned there was a moat with 3000 feet perimeter dug around the castle.
The Bazaar

 

Na’in Bazar

The Bazaar of Naein is another of Naeen’s remarkable, historical attractions. The bazaar extends 340 meters in a curved line from the Gate of Chehel Dokhtaran to the mosque of Khajeh Khezr. The bazaar is connected by main alleys, as well as by tributary passages to centers of neighborhoods. The bazaar has two crossroads or “chahar su”. Parts of the bazaar have been renovated. The many and varied shops in the bazaar were active until a few years ago. The bazaar has been almost deserted since the economic district was moved to streets. A number of Naein’s important monuments, such as the mosque of Sheikh Maghrebi, the mosque of Khajeh, and the Hosseinieh of Chehel Dokhtaran are still noteworthy facets of Naein’s extraordinary bazaar.

 

Zurkhaneh

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Zurkhaneh, Zorkhana or Zourkhaneh (in Persian/Kurdish: زورخانه, literally “house of strength”) is house of strength, joy of effort, generosity and chivalries spirit, love of country and combined with art and literature. Zurkhaneh is a sport of values. This sport with the thousands years of history has played a great role in empowering the mental and physical health aspects of the people. Zurkhaneh Sports is a cultural heritage and good resource for Sports for All. Indeed, many countries are boosted from a social as well as humanitarian perspective. By proclaiming IZSF events, many countries have acknowledged just tidy influential role of Zurkhaneh sports that can play in a country’s social, well-being and cultural development. there are 3 zurkhaneh in Na’in but the Valiye Asr Zurkhaneh located in Valiye ASr street is the most suitable to visit.
Fatemi the traditional house

 

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Fatemi House is the grandest traditional house in Naein. It is located in front of Narenj Castle, beside the old bazaar of Naein. The house was originally the possession of one of the most influential families in Naein. Fatemi House consist of a large number of sections, each one with a different function: winter living rooms, summer living rooms, stable, resting rooms, silos, corridors, dining rooms for guests, and other facilities. Most of the rooms are furnished with stained glass windows, inlaid wooden doors, and plasterwork. The house is now the property of a cultural heritage organization.

 

ba bafi man made caves

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Mohammadieh loom workshops in man made caves

cloak weaving

In Muhammadieh, a precinct of Na’in, there are some man-made caves. Locals call them sardab and aba bafi. Evidence shows that they were dug by the Zoroastrian inhabitants who used to live there because the cave entrances open to the east where the sun rises. After they were abandoned by the Zoroastrians, Muslim inhabitants used them as loom workshops to weave cloaks and rugs.

There is an ancient fort over the hill, 150 m away, with a small entrance at the back. There visitors can enjoy a beautiful perspective of the village and the desert around it.

There is no fee for visiting the caves or the fort. The caves are open dawn to dusk, with a short break from noon to 13:30. Weaving cloaks by hand is one of the most valuable handicrafts and historical arts of Na’in. Some of the workshops are 700 years old.

Naein’s winter textiles are very famous and are woven from two types of sheep and camel wools. Clothing styles have changed, but the cloaks are still quite famous in some Arab countries.

Hand woven carpets

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usually house wives do the carpet job

Handmade products in Naein are very important. Weaving carpets, a fine art, began in Naein about the time of World War II. Because carpet weavers from Naein worked with thinner wools, they began to weave rugs of much higher quality. Since the number of carpets produced was low and the quality of carpets was exceptionally high, the weavers found a profitable market. Carpet-weaving in Naein has a history of applying non-Iranian wools and of using local, traditional designs with unique coloring, thus drawing the attention of the world market to Naein. Naein’s carpets are woven in diverse places in Iran, thanks to the advent of technology. Weavers throughout Iran can weave any kind of carpet. But a prospective carpet buyer should consider that the quality of the same kind of carpet, in different places, is different. Using natural and traditional colors and dying techniques peculiar to the region around Naein, carpet weavers in Naein can easily profess that they are some of the best producers of handwoven carpet in all of Iran, and the world.
Naeen carpet is woven in divers places in Iran and this is because of the high techniques carpet weaving domination in the country, which means that the Iranians can weave any kind of carpet. But one should consider that the quality of carpets in divers places is different from each other. From the point of view of coloring, Naeen carpet is one of the symbols of using natural and traditional colors which it owes a great portion of its popularity to that. The act of coloring or dying in this region is done by natural and traditional colors which has a little difference with other carpet weaving centers in Iran and in spite of some chemical colors which are use as an aid, The natural colors are still dominant in the region.
The number of colors which are used in weaving carpet are 11 main colors and 4 subsidiary colors.
Carpet structure relies on mixture and traditional style which are very accurate. Some deficiencies such as curving, not applying stamen, starching, color mixing and wrong weaving in Naeen carpet are very little and the quality of production is very high and it has a top standard. Weaving devices are mostly made of wood and attempts has been done to change the wood devices in to metal devices. Naeen can easily claim that it is one of the best producer of hand woven carpets in Iran
Mohammadieh

Mohammadieh

Muhammadieh is a village located about 2km east of Naein. The village name means “the ones who follow the Prophet of Islam.” There are some important cultural and economic factors that cause this village to stand out among the other villages in the region: the beautiful Jameh Mosque and the Sar Kuche Mosque, the glorious fortress, the ancient Rigareh watermill, and the cloak workshops.
The Mosque of Mohammadieh

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This mosque was built in the late 10th and early 11th Centuries A.D. The altar of the mosque and the ceilings on the two sides of the mosque’s nocturnal prayer hall or “Shabestan” bear much resemblance to the Jameh Mosque of Naein.

 

Do

  • Desert trekking

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Desert trekking is one of the exceptional possibilities for sightseers in this desert town, since a desert with moving sand dunes surrounds Na’in. It’s desert trekking on real moving sand dunes.

There are sand hills from 5 to 62 meters that always moving when the wind blows. The highest sand dunes in Iran.

Also sleeping (camping) on the moving sands and having breakfast there if you like.

There is no regular desert transport, so a private taxi or car should be rented.

The same man who rents bicycles can also organize the budget tours to the desert.

Mountaineering there are some desert-type mountain surrounded west and north east of Na’in. The one on north east(as you see in the middle and lower photo) is worth of visit.

there are some unpaved roads lead there. down hill bicycle is recommended. but do not visit there alone.

Buy

Naein’s carpets and cloaks are famous and reasonably priced. Woolen textiles are available in Muhammadieh.

Eat

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Lale Sahra “لاله صحرا” Restaurant, located on Motahari Street, has some typical but high-quality Persian food, with the good service. There is a place for having traditional “abgusht” in front of Masjid Al-Reza. Also, “del’o jigar” is available in a small shop front of Laleh Park. You can have a delicious meal for just 2$. Mirza traditional restaurant is scheduled to open soon.

Drink

Doogh is a great drink along with jigar

If you want to taste a good yogurt drink, you can find it at Del’o Jigar . Doogh (دوغ) is a sour drink made from yogurt, salt, and water, sometimes carbonated and sometimes flavoured with mint or other plants. It is an acquired taste but will rehydrate you quickly in the heat of Iran’s summer. It is the same as Turkish “ayran.”

Sleep

Jahangardi hotel (ITTO)

Jahangardi hotel (ITTO) and Gholami Inn are available for both budget and midrange travellers. The government-run, excellent Jahangardi Hotel is south of Imam Square, toward Isfahan Road. It has stylish, split-level, apartment-style rooms. (+98 323 225 3088)

Budget travellers can find good value at Mosaferkhaneh Gholami , about 300m east of Imam Square, toward the Imamzadeh. There is no English sign, but it’s a three-story building placed above a bakery. (+98 323 225 2441).

under the arch, the place to camp

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There is a free, quiet, secure place for camping for those who like to stay outdoors. It is popular among cyclists, bikers and backpackers. It’s the historical complex of Babol Masjid, where the Jameh Mosque is located. The camping area is the open part of Hussainieh. The public rest room is always open. The locals are very friendly and helpful. The Hussainieh is off-limits only during religious ceremonies.

Two hotels are going to be open within two years in the historical part of town. One hotel will be traditional; the other is in the mid-range class. Naein has two other hotels. Rooms at all four hotels can be reserved in advance and at a discount, depending on the season.

Contact

0323 is the town code.

Get out

There is regular bus To Esfahan almost every half an hours is available in the only bus station of the town. also private Taxi would be available 24 hours a day on the “Falake Esfahan” , Esfahan roundabout. departing the town to Yazd is possible by waiting for the buses to yazd in “Falake Esfahan” , Esfahan aroundabout or taking a taxi to the Yazd road police station.

 

Jame mosque basement

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inside jame mosque of na’in

wind tower old district

Pistachio picking

pirnia house

inside one of Na’in Hosaynieh

Ancient caves

Mossalla water reservoir stairway

local during harvest moon

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desert around Na’in

Narenj fort

Na’in Suburb

Narenj qal’e , citadel

Rigareh Qanat based watermill

second enterance of rigareh water mill

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Na’in pizza tower

Mosalla

Mohammadieh

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Qanat water that suppose to move the mill turbine

water reservoirs

Rigareh Qanat based watermill

Na’in pizza tower

old part of Na’in

Na’in Bazar

Windtowers in sunset

hard walking on the moving sand dunes

Rigareh Qanat based watermill

second enterance of rigareh water mill

Carpet knotting

Rigareh Qanat based watermill