Khan al-Nikhailah: An ancient destination for caravans and a modern cultural destination

Khan al-Nikhailah, one of the most prominent ancient khans (rest areas) located on the Karbala-Najaf road, is considered one of the historical and archaeological monuments of the city of Karbala, and is approximately 16 km away from it.

It is locally known as Khan al-Rubu', which means quarter in Arabia, indicating that this khan is a quarter of the distance to Najaf from Karbala. Its construction dates back to the Ottoman era, where it was used as a rest area for caravans and travelers.

The khan was built in a square shape, each side measuring a length of 86 meters, with an open courtyard surrounded by rooms, preceded by porticos topped by pointed arches, all built with bricks and plaster.  

The khans built at that time are similar in terms of their planning and architectural construction, as two other khans were built on the same road: Khan al-Hamad (Khan al-Nus) and Khan al-Musalla.

Today, Khan al-Nikhailah has become a place for cultural events, witnessing the annual Al-Nikhailah Festival, which embodies the Iraqi culture through theatrical and musical performances, sculpting, painting and other arts and folk literature.