Qaen (قائن, also transliterated in English as Qayen or Ghaen) is a city in the South Khorasan Province of Iran. Qaen is also called the City of Saffron. Saffron from Qaen is prized for its unique aroma and strong colour.
Qaen is a place of great antiquity and complex history. The present city, which lies in a broad valley, was founded in the 15th century on the site of an ancient city. Later, the Uzbeks (a Turkic people) took possession of the city and held it until Shah Abbas I (1588-1629) expelled them. In the 18th century, Qaen fell under the control of the Afghans.
A mud wall surrounds the modern town. More affluent residential areas lie outside the wall. The city is a trading center, but it also has industries that produce felt and carpets. The surrounding area consists of hill ranges of 9,000 feet (2,750 m) running northwest-southeast and sinking to the Sistan depression in the south. The area is the main source of saffron in Iran, but it also produces grain, vegetables, and wood.
There are several ancient places around the town, such as the Tomb of Bozorgmehr Qaini, 5 km to the south.
At least 2,400 people in Ghayen and the surrounding region were killed in the Ardakul earthquake on May 10, 1997.