There are several daily flights from the capital Baghdad as well as several cities in Iran with national carrier Iraqi Airways. Additionally, there are a limited number of international flights from hubs such as Istanbul and Dubai.
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. Ayatollah Khomeini lectured there from 1964–1978. Many of the leading figures of the new Islamic movement that emerged in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon in the 1970s had studied at Najaf.
The Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif also has a site which claims to be Ali's tomb and draws many pilgrims, but Najaf's claim is more widely accepted.
- 1 Al-Qadisiyyah (About 60 kilometres south of Najaf). Historical city, infamous as the site of the battle in 636, which saw forces of the Rashidun Caliphate defeat the Persians sent by Rostam Farrokhzad, the dynast of the Sasanian Empire.
- 2 Great Mosque of Kufa.
- 3 Ruins of Al-Hirah. Ancient city.
- 4 Najaf Heritage Museum (متحف التراث النجفي). Housed in a historic khan, this heritage museum contains artifacts from rich history of Najaf as well as a special focus on the Iraqi revolt of 1920, a major revolt against British rule due to new land ownership and burial taxes in Najaf.
- 5 Wadi-us-Salaam (وادي السلام). An Islamic cemetery, it is noted for being the largest cemetery in the world.
The countryside around Najaf is home to several khans, sometimes also called caravanserais. They were fortified roadside inns built to accommodate travelers overnight. Most of the more impressive ones are located on the historic route between Najaf and Karbala which served as an important trade and religious route.
- 6 Khan al-Nuss. A historic khan, a type of roadside inn, on the road between Najaf and Karbala.