Introduction to Naein County
Naein County (Nain) is a small and old county in the desert plain of Iran, where had been extensive and prosperous in the past. Once there was one of the main cities in the country. In the city, you will see alleys with old paving, thatched walls, and exquisite architecture belonging to different historical periods from pre-Islamic to the present day. The city of Naein County is more than 3,000 years old, which means it dates back to before the Achaemenid era. Naein County was one of the cities of ancient Iran and one of the five provinces of Fars province, the capital of the Achaemenids. Moreover, some iron artifacts from earlier have been discovered there.
History of Naein County
With the advent of Islam, the Naein County inhabitants converted to religion, so the city retained its position. In the fourth century, due to the authorship of books by the authors of the time, Naein County was known as a populous city, in the fifth century, like other cities close to Isfahan, Naein County was considered notable by kings. In the first half of the century, Nasir Khusraw referred to Naein in his travelogue as a city he had passed during his travel.
During the rule of the Ilkhans, Naein County did not miss the reforms and developments that had begun in many Persian cities, and through the reigns of Sultan Mohammad Khodabanda (Oljaitu), Ghazan Khan, and the ministry of Rashid al-Din Hamadani, significant valuable works had been done such as Baba Abdullah Mosque, the Grand Mosque’s Minaret, and the mansion of the Imamzadeh Sultan Seyed Ali, all of which show the progress of Persian Islamic architecture of that time. The development caused different tribes and families from other cities in Persia to live in Naein County.
Economic prosperity during the Mongol period placed Nain along the Persian Gulf highway, Ray, and Sultanieh, making it a densely populated city. Nain was restored during the Safavid era, so new constructions were built and prospered. When Isfahan was the capital of Iran, Nain, where was once subordinate to Yazd, was chosen as the administrative boundaries of Isfahan. Although with the Isfahan’s fall to the Afghans, Nain, where was on the soldiers’ way, was damaged, afghans could not conquest Naein due to the residents’ resistance. During the Qajar period, Naein County was not significant for the kings of the time, experiencing a turbulent period due to wars and conflicts. Finally, in 1948, Naein has officially declared a city and its district became a governorate. This particular city has played a prominent role in the recent 100-year history of Persia. Therefore, the region has always been considered more than an ordinary city. There are also great and famous people from Naein, each of whom has found an honored place in various sciences and technologies.
Architecture of Naein County
Entering the city, you will notice that the old urban context of Naein is designed by considering factors such as natural environment, climate, and the need for the city’s security against enemy attacks, and generally has an introverted architecture. The residential areas are next to urban elements such as the Grand Mosque, Hussainiya, Bazaar, baths, and schools without any functional problems. Today, Naein is divided into two parts, new and old; most people have demolished old houses and moved to the newly built part of the city, on top of which, there is a magnificent castle. In addition to visiting the historical context of the charming city, you can also visit the city attractions.
In addition to Persian, the local people of Naein also speak the Naein dialect, which is a dialect of Central Persian languages. Naein carpet is world-famous, and carpet weaving is one of the main occupations of Naein inhabitants. Although carpet weaving in Naein is less than 100 years old, it has gained a lot of fame, and the reason is the constant colour, pattern, length of antiquity, and virtue of the texture. Tile making and tiling is a Naein handicraft that has a long history. Until about 50 years ago, Naein tiles were exported to most major cities in Iran. Naein Naein County has a desert climate and the difference between night and day temperatures in the seasons is quite noticeable. It has very little rainfall and long summers without rain.
Nain Bazaar, one of the traditional bazaars in Persia, had been the primary passage and commercial centre of Nain in the past. The bazaar is one of the most important sights of the city. According to historical documents, the traditional bazaar is more than 700 years old. The reports show that the place also existed during the patriarchal period, and people had been trading there. In the Safavid period, the Nain bazaar had the most prosperity.
The 400 meters in length bazaar houses 170 shops, two inns, and a dock. From the past to the present, the stunning Nain bazaar has been a place of income for local people. The whole bazaar is in the shape of a long corridor. Many parts of it have been rebuilt, however, efforts have been made to preserve the traditional look and texture. Fortunately, the old Nain merchants still have booths in such a bazaar and are engaged in business. Nain Bazaar is one of the most brilliant and remarkable monuments of Nain city because of some principal monuments such as Sheikh Maghrebi Mosque, Chehel Dokhtaran Hosseiniyeh, and Khajeh Khezr Mosque located in its heart.
Naein Grand Mosque
Jameh Mosque or Alavian Mosque can be called the most famous historical monument of the city, located in the Bab Al-Masjid neighborhood. Eye-catching plastering in interiors has made the work one of the most exquisite mosques in Iran. The mosque was inspired by the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in the second century AH and is one of the Shabestani mosques that has undergone fewer changes and has almost retained its original appearance.
Naein Mosalla Garden
Mosalla Garden is another place of interest in Naein. In the middle of the generous and spectacular garden, there is a small and pleasing octagonal tomb. Above it is a turquoise dome with artistic tiles and old-fashioned wooden lattice windows on the four sides. These windows are an example of original Persian architecture. The tomb’s main entrance has a three-leaf door, next to which there are two other entrance doors. The tomb, where is made entirely of brick, dates back to the Qajar period. The Pirnia family was one of the large, famous, and influential families in the city who are buried in the tomb. Mirza Ahmad Khan Pirnia was the ruler of Naein during the Qajar period; according to historical documents, he was a respected and popular figure.
Narin or Naranj Castle is one of the oldest spots in Naein County, built only of raw clay. The castle is in the centre of the old part of the historic city of Naein County. According to available documents, it dates back to the Parthian period and before Islam. Narin Castle is polygonal in terms of the general plan. You can see several towers and fortifications in every corner of the castle. Although many Persian historic castles have been destroyed, Narin Castle has kept its appearance well. Apparently, the palace was most likely used for military purposes. However, others say that it was a fire temple in the past. Narin Qaleh or Narin Castle is one of the grandest historical castles in Iran, having a large moat dug 50 meters deep around the main wall.
Pirna House or Kavir Anthropology Museum
Pirnia House is one of the historical dwellings in the city that is one of the excellent models of traditional Persian architecture in desert areas. You can perceive the architecture and application of Persian decorations in the striking residence. An extensive house was built during the Safavid period and was originally inhabited by someone else. The house fell to the Pirnia family during the Qajar period; Mirza Ahmad Khan Pirnia, one of the house owners, ruled Naein County for a long time. Fortunately, the house remains intact in appearance and even in the details of the ornaments. Pirnia House, like other ancient houses, embraces several sections. These sections include a porch, entrance, several corridors, a royal porch, a living room, a garden, and a garden pit. At present, the historic house has become the Anthropological Museum of Nain, where is the best option for a better understanding of the Nain’s people culture.
Masoom Khani Reservoir
Reservoirs were vital in desert cities and desert fringes. In the past, there was no news of home refrigerators. As a result, people created various water reservoirs throughout the city. The Masoom Khani reservoir is the most famous one in the whole city, located in the “Chehel Dokhtaran” neighborhood. Below the large water reservoir is a cylindrical storage 18 meters in diameter and 12 meters deep.
Bafran Jama Mosque
Bafran Mosque is another place of interest in Naein County. The exact date of the mosque is not known, but it is attributed to the early Islamic centuries. According to archeological research, before Islam, the mosque was a fire temple for Zoroastrian worship; after the arrival of Islam in Persia, the function changed probably during the Safavid era. The hypothesis that the mosque was primary a fire temple is quite strong. Unlike many historical mosques in Persia, the Bafran mosque has only one minaret, the diameter of which is not the same in all sections; The higher it goes, the less it gets. On the other hand, the distinct dome, you see, was not built at the same time as the mosque’s construction. Therefore, we can accept that apparently, the mosque was one of the Zoroastrian places of worship and fire temples at first.
Dragon Cave in Naein County
The cave is available for those looking for adventure and adrenaline thirst, be sure to go to the Dragon cave with expert groups. Also, bring all safety equipment and supplies with you. If you are afraid of cramped and closed spaces, it is better to forget to visit the cave. The cave’s name is so strange. According to historical documents, there was not a real dragon in the world!
Dragon Cave holds a transcendental and strange appearance and is a 3 kilometers long limestone cave. Entering the cave, you will arrive at a 50-meter hall, in which there is a deep well that reaches a depth of about 25 meters. After the first hall, there is another path with a gentle downward slope on the right side; After about 25 minutes of caving in the tunnel, you will encounter huge rocks rolled on top of each other and are at the mouth of the second large well. In such a cave, all kinds of insects, salamanders, and bats live.
Separou Nain Fire Temple
At first, the Persians followed the Zoroastrian religion. Some Persians are still Zoroastrians. Zoroastrianism was one of the first pagan religions in the world. In this religion no one worshiped idolatry, and Zoroastrians believe in the god Ahuramazda. Fire is a symbol of purity, and it is considered sacred in Zoroastrianism; That is why they lit fires in their places of worship to begin praying. In the ancient and historical regions of Persia, we can immediately see different fire temples. Separou fire temple in Naein County is in the village of the same name, on top of Shir Kuh. Sepro Fire Temple is one of the most prominent historical monuments of Naein County, which belongs to the Sassanid era in terms of antiquity.
Mohammadieh Castle or Ashourgah Castlev in Naein County
Mohammadieh Castle is one of the most prestigious buildings in Naein County , located on a mountain overlooking the Mohammadieh neighborhood and dates back to pre-Islamic times. According to experts, the castle was probably used as a defensive fortress.