Most visitors prefer to avoid coming back home empty-handed. Souvenirs are an inseparable part of any tour, especially when the destination is Iran. Shopping in colorful Bazaars of Iran can be an exciting experience for tourists. Bazaar is the Persian word for the marketplace held mostly in a street or in an enclosed place where goods are sold. Unlike modern shopping centers, every aspect of people’s culture, from the economic system to common foods and local products can be seen in Bazaars. Experiencing Iranian culture and buying souvenirs are the reasons tourists love to visit Bazaars in Iran.
As most cities in Iran have kept their relation to their root culture and traditions, countless local Bazaars are found in Iranian cities.
Most famous bazaars in Iran:
Tabriz Bazaar is the largest covered Bazaar in the world. Tabriz was one of the important cities along the ancient Silk Road. Hence, besides its impressively large area (about 0.29 square km or 0.11 square miles), Tabriz Bazaar is considered a place for cultural exchange between nations. Tabriz Bazaar is one of the most beautiful Bazaars in Iran with a very neat and organized structure. It consists of numerous Timches which are beautiful dome halls with doors, used to be a place for high-value product exchanges. The most famous Timche of Tabriz Bazaar, is Timche Mozafarye (open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m). Also, there are lots of sub-Bazaars (Bazarche) like Mozafarie Bazaar (mostly for carpet) and Amir Bazaar. Almost every kind of good can be found in Tabriz Bazaar, from jewelry and household items to carpets, herbal medicine, spices, food, vegetables, etc.
Tehran Grand Bazaar
Because of its role in political history and historical architecture, Tehran Grand Bazaar, similar to some other Bazaars in Iran like Tabriz bazar, is more than just a marketplace. Tehran Grand Bazaar is more than 200 years old and consists of very long corridors (10 km). There are several entrances with 2 subway stations (Metro station) nearby. Tehran Bazaar is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in some sections to 7 p.m. with so many different goods for sale, a church, several mosques, and even banks, no one would leave Tehran Grand Bazaar disappointed.
Similar to Tabriz, Kashan was a famous city along the Silk Road. As Kashan once was considered a commercial city, Kashan Bazaar was one of the most prosperous and busiest marketplaces in the world. Now, after more than 800 years, it’s still breathing and responding to people’s requirements. Kashan Bazaar has two main alleys and unlike two previous Bazaars, is not large and crowded. Visitors can take their time to enjoy attractions like the 18-century Amin-O-Dole Timeche. It’s the best place to relax a bit with a cup of tea at one of its entrances. Another option would be stopping by the tea-shop at Hammame-Khan (Khan Bath), the public bathhouse dates back to the 19th century. Kashan Bazaar has also two mosques named Masjed-e Soltani and Masjad-e Mir Emad which are almost 800 years old.
Located in the historical center of Shiraz, Vakil Bazaar is named after the founder of the Zand Dynasty, Karim Khan who has been given the title of Vakil-o Ro’aya. One of the most famous Bazaars in Iran was established in the 11th century as part of a much bigger plan for Shiraz to become a prominent trading center. Following typical Iranian architecture of the time, mosques, caravansaries, public bathhouses, etc. are seen along the way through Bazaar. It’s the fastest way to buy souvenirs too as lots of unique artifacts, carpets, Iranian fabrics, local clothes, jewelry, etc., make any choice a good one.
Qeysariyeh Bazaar is located in downtown Esfahan. Grand Bazaar of Isfahan and Bazaar Soltani are also common names as once it was a great and luxurious trading center. It is said that one of the historical bazaars in Iran was built in the 1600s. Qeysariyeh Bazaar connects Naghsh-e Jahan square to Atigh square, which can be a perfect route for a walk between historical attractions. With the unique architecture of two rows of shops and fascinating domed ceiling, glory and magnificence of Qeysariyeh can be felt.
The largest Bazaar of the historical city of Yazd is also a historical attraction, alive and standing since the 9th century. In the past, the bazaar was only for Khans (a title given to aristocrats), and ordinary people were not allowed in. Like other bazaars in Iran, Khan Bazaar also consists of different smaller bazaars and Timches. Bathhouse and a traditional restaurant are other parts of the Khan complex.
In the northern part of Iran sits the city of Rasht, one of the largest cities of Iran. Rasht Bazaar is located in the central and old part of the city, built in the Safavid era in the 15th century. 14 caravansaries were added in the Qajar and Pahlavi period. Like other Bazaars in Iran, Rasht Bazaar is a complete showcase of the folklore culture and the best place to meet folklore artifacts. Since Rasht is located near the Caspian Sea, seafood is being sold in the Bazaar that creates an interesting atmosphere especially for those who have never been in such marketplaces.
Covered Bazaar of Ardabil was built during the Safavid Dynasty. It is located on Imam Khomeini Street of Ardabil and consists of several Timches, bathhouse, and mosque, all based on Iranian architecture. On the dome ceiling, there are several hatches that provide natural daylight for the Bazaar. Modern constructions in the area have divided the Bazaar into two main sections.
Stretched from Arg square to Moshtagh square, old Kerman Bazaar is considered to have the longest market “line” (Raste) of Bazaars in Iran that is 1200m. Kerman Bazaar has a history more than 600 years. The Bazaar consists of different sections like Ganjalikhan bathhouse, Vakil Bazaar, and Ghalee Bazaar. One of the most amazing parts of the bazaar is coppersmith bazaar where copper artifacts are made and no sound other than hammering can be heard! Coppersmithing has an ancient history in Kerman, and its techniques and tools have remained almost intact throughout the centuries.
Visiting Tajrish Bazaar is a good way to know more about the traditional marketplace culture in Tehran. Tajrish Bazaar comes with the benefit of a better climate as it’s located in the north of the city with higher altitude and cleaner air. The covered Bazaar is considered as one of the oldest marketplaces in Shemiran district, though it may not seem very old compared with other Bazaars in Iran mentioned before. Tajrish Bazaar is said to be around 70 years old, but some structures are found to be there for more than 200 years. The Bazaar is open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. almost everything can be found in Tajrish Bazaar, for it’s not just a tourist attraction but a real marketplace concerning people’s everyday life and needs. it takes 700 m walk to get from one side of Tajrish Bazaar to the other, but may take a while to complete the journey as a lot of different types of souvenirs, food, colorful spices, artifacts from all around the country, jewelry, clothes, old shops are on the way.
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