Under Tourists Eyes: Grand bazaar in Tehran

October 16, 2016 - 8:29

TEHRAN – The relatively historic grand bazaar in the heart of Tehran boasts various mazes, corridors, lanes, intersections, entrances and passageways with hundreds of shops offering different types of goods and services.

While most of its covered structures and marketplaces are associated with the 19th century onwards, the history of trade in the bazaar is rooted much deeper in time.
Some visitors to the bazaar refer to it as “a city within a city” because it also includes several mosques, guesthouses, banks, and once thriving caravansaries.  
Most mazes and lanes are particularly allocated to commodities such as carpets, metalwork, spices, toys, clothing, jewelry, woodturning, and kitchen appliances.
One can also encounter with grocery stores, bookbinders, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, coppersmiths, tobacconists, tailors, flag sellers, broadcloth sellers, carpenters, shoemakers, and knife-makers, among others.

A majority of traders in the bazaar, better known as bazaaris, played a pivotal role in the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution as they strongly backed Islamic and social movements spearheaded by the clergy elites in the country.
Here is a select of comments that visitors to the grand bazaar have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:

 “Daily life of Tehran”

If you want to see the life of everyday people in Tehran - visit the main city bazaar. It’s a warren of narrow streets heaving with people. I unlike the grand bazaar in Istanbul, this bazaar is very much for the locals. There are just a few shops catering to the tourist and best of all - no one hassles you to come in and buy. The place is full of everyday items and it fills exactly how a bazaar should - a place to shop, to work and to socialize... (Duncan W. from Thailand, visited September 2016)

“Amazing sights”

Like any market, you can buy just about anything. But this is quite something. In one section you can get some of the best carpets in town. Take a local specialist to do the business for you - quite a spectacle and an experience. There are spice stalls selling the most beautiful and aromatic dried flowers, seeds, herbs - worth just standing there and taking in the colors and smells.

Don’t forget to look up at the traditional vaulted ceilings as you walk down the bustling inner streets… (Insyzor from the UK, visited August 2016)

“The good memory I keep from Tehran”

During my short stay in Tehran, that’s the only good thing I remember. The bazar is huge, not really beautiful, but incredibly picturesque. That’s not a place for tourism attraction, so don’t expect finding souvenirs, but it’s wonderful just to sneak in the middle of the crowd and observe the people bargaining, the various communities present, the delivery of goods, merchant offering pastries to people, etc. Do go there, you’ll find the attractiveness the rest of the city lacks of! (Jerome C. from Serbia, visited August 2016)

“Interesting market to visit”

It’s a topical local market, most of the parts are cover[ed]. You can find many things...all kind of local food, craft item, textile, watches and fake fashion products... (Chinatie from Italy, visited August 2016)

“Average in most respects but good selection of food, friendly people, and safe.”

I am not much of a bazaar aficionado or I might have rated it higher or lower. In fact, I am not much of a shopper. That said, I have been to many bazaars and many of them just have items that hold no interest for me and have folks wondering around that seem more interested in my back pocket than what’s in the shops. Here, I felt safe and was especially drawn to some of the food products that fresh and in a wide variety… (AbleDanger from Maryland, visited November 2015)

The photo above depicts a view of the bustling grand bazaar in the heart of Tehran


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