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 about 41°C in summer, and minimums of -9°C or so in winter.
More than 3,000 years ago the Persians learned how to construct aqueducts underground (qanat or kariz) to bring water from the mountains to the plains. In the 1960's this ancient system provided more than 70 per cent of the water used in Iran and Na’in is one of the best places in all the world to see these qanats actually working as they were intended.
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.
From Isfahan, travellers can use the Jay terminal and take the Na'in bus or mini bus (20,000 to 25,000 rial). An alternative is the Isfahan-Yazd bus, which leaves the terminal once every hour, if they inform the driver that Na'in is their final destination and the fare is 35,000 rial.
From Yazd, travellers can take the Yazd - Isfahan buses from Yazd terminal and ask the driver to stop in Na'in 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 100,000 rial.
In Na'in, there is a regular bus to Isfahan almost every half hour, from the only bus station in town. Private taxis are available 24 hours a day at the "Falake Esfahan" (Isfahan roundabout). Departing the town to Yazd is possible by waiting for the buses to Yazd at the "Falake Esfahan" or by taking a taxi to the Yazd Road police station.
- Jame Mosque. Tu-Su, 08:00-21:00 in summer, or 08:00-18:00 in winter. The initial construction of Jame Mosque dates back to the 8th Century CE, but the whole of the complex has been constructed in stages. The stucco around the Mihrab (niche) belongs to Ale'Buye in the 11th century. The yard was constructed in the time of the Siljuks (12th century), and the basement is believed to be pre-Islamic and later became part of the mosque, one of the oldest in Iran. Its magnificent plasterwork over the niche, the marvellous 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 its features. This mosque has no Iwan and dome as do the other famous mosques in Isfahan and Yazd. A 28 m tall octagonal minaret was added 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 stonework which reflects sunlight throughout the basement. An underground water channel runs underneath the mosque. There is a stairway that connects the mosque to the water channel and to chambers above the pool. 100,000 rial.
- Rigareh watermill, Mohammadieh neighbourhood, ☎ 0939 863 6090. Open to public only in Noruz (the Persian New Year holiday).. A qanat-based water mill. 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, and the mill is placed almost 28 m underground. The access corridor to the mill is about 133 m long. A qanat channel crosses 9 m above the mill and fills the huge 9 m. height water tank. When enough pressure is provided, the water is released and rotates the turbine. The waste water flows out along the channel and joins the main qanat channel with a gradual slope 15 m further down. This is the only place in the country where visitors can get inside a living flowing qanat with 19 m depth, accessible through a 12 m corridor. Since the advent of electricity to grind the wheat and barley, this water mill has become a part of history.
- Pirnia traditional house and ethnology museum. Tu-Su 08:00-21:00 in summer and 08:00-17:30 in winter.. A perfect example of this region's desert houses, in terms of architecture and art, constructed in the Safavid Period. 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 at the time it was constructed. 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. First, a judge of Na'in lived there. Then, during the Qajar Period, the house belonged to a governor of Na'in. Just 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. 100,000 rial.
- Mosallah edifice. 08:00-12:00 , 15:00-17:00. Another remarkable monument to see in Na'in. 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 the 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 through a stairway on its side. Water in this reservoir was cooled by two wind towers. The water reservoir (Persian: ab-anbar) was in use until a few years ago. The architectural style of Mosallah is characteristic of the Qajar dynasty, and a number of literary, political and religious figures are buried at this site. “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's encompassed by a military fort from the Qajar era, with a high wall, thick enough for a horse to be ridden along the top. The pistachio trees around the turquoise-domed mausoleum and two tall wind towers make the complex very photogenic.
- Castle of Narenj. Also known as Narin castle. The construction materials used in the castle, as well as its style of architecture, hint that it was built in the pre-Islamic era. According to surveys and other evidence, this monument might belong to the Partiyan period. Its exact use 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 a 900 m perimeter dug around the castle.
- Bazaar. Remarkable historical attraction. The bazaar extends 340 m in a curved line from the Gate of Chehel Dokhtaran to the mosque of Khajeh Khezr, and is connected by main alleys, as well as by tributary passages, to various neighbourhood centres. The bazaar has two main crossroads or chahar su. Parts of it have been renovated, and its many varied stalls were active until a few years ago. However, nowadays the bazaar has been almost deserted, since the retailers moved to the city's street shops. Some important monuments, such as the mosque of Sheikh Maghrebi, the mosque of Khajeh, and the Hosseinieh of Chehel Dokhtaran, are very near.
- Fatemi House. Grandest traditional house in Na'in. It's in front of Narenj Castle, beside the old bazaar. The house was originally the possession of a very influential family in Na'in. It consists 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.
- Mosque of Mohammadieh, Mohammadieh village (20 km east of Nain). Built in the late 10th/early 11th century AD. The altar of the mosque, and the ceilings on the two sides of its nocturnal prayer hall or Shabestan, resemble the Jameh Mosque of Na'in. The village also houses the beautiful Jameh and Sar Kuche mMosques, a fortress, the ancient Rigareh watermill and the cloak workshops.
- Aba Bafi Man-made Caves, Mohammadieh village. open from dawn to dusk, with a short break from noon to 13:30.. 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, from two types of sheep and camel wools. 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. 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. Free.
- Zurkhaneh. Zurkhaneh, Zorkhana or Zourkhaneh (in Persian/Kurdish: زورخانه, literally "house of strength") is a sport with thousands of years of history, incorporating the values of strength, joy of effort, generosity, chivalry, love of country, of art and literature. It has played a great role in empowering the mental and physical health aspects of the Iranian people. There are 3 Zurkhaneh in Na'in, but the Valiye Asr Zurkhaneh, located in Valiye Asr Street, is perhaps the most suitable to visit.
- 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, since there are sand hills from 5 to 62m high that are 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 mountains west and north east of Na'in. The one to the north east(as you see in the middle and lower photo) is worth a visit. There are some unpaved roads that lead there. Downhill bicycle is recommended, but do not visit there alone. Also there is a walking tour called survival tour available in the mountainous area in distances of 5km, 10km and 15km. For more info call the local guide.
- Cycling around:
There is a local guide who has bicycles to rent and also accompany you to the mountaineering. You can call him at ☎ +98 939 863 6090.
Handmade products in Na'in are very important. Weaving carpets, a fine art, began in Na'in about the time of World War II. Because carpet weavers from Na'in 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 Na'in has a history of using non-Iranian wools and of using local, traditional designs with unique colouring, thus drawing the attention of the world market. Using natural and traditional colours and dying techniques peculiar to the region, carpet weavers in the city can easily profess that they are some of the best producers of handwoven carpet in all of Iran and the world. Na'in style carpet is woven in different places in Iran - but the quality will be very different in each place. One reason that carpet actually woven in Na'in is so popular, is that it uses predominantly natural and traditional colours rather than synthetic dyes. Other reasons include the sheer quality of the weft obtained from using mainly wooden looms. This all means that Na'in can easily claim that it is one of the best producers of hand woven carpets in all Iran. Na'in’s carpets and cloaks are famous and reasonably priced. Woolen textiles are available in Muhammadieh, where you can buy the handicrafts directly from the producers.
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-ar-Reza. Also, “del-o-jigar” is available in a small shop front of Laleh Park. You can have a delicious meal for just US$2. Mirza traditional restaurant is scheduled to open soon.
If you want to taste a good yoghurt drink, you can find it at Del'o Jigar . Doogh (دوغ) is a sour drink made from yoghurt, 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.
- Jahangardi Hotel (ITTO) (south of Imam Square, toward Isfahan Road), ☎ +98 314625-3088. The government-run, excellent Jahangardi Hotel can accommodate both budget and mid-range traellers. It has stylish, split-level, apartment-style rooms.
- Mosaferkhaneh Gholami (Gholami Inn) (about 300 m east of Imam Square, toward the Imamzadeh), ☎ +98 314625-2441. Good value for budget travellers. There is no English sign, but it's a three-story building with a bakery on the ground floor.
There is a free, quiet, secure place for camping for those who like to stay outdoors. It is popular among cyclists, motorcyclists and backpackers. It's in 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 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. Each hotel is staffed by an English-speaking hotel manager.
031 is the town code.
There is a regular bus to Isfahan almost every half an hour from the only bus station in town. Private Taxis are available 24 hours a day on the Falake Esfahan (Isfahan roundabout). Trips to Yazd are possible by waiting for the buses to Yazd on Falake Esfahan or taking a taxi to the Yazd Road police station.