Shopping is always one of the most attractive activities for tourists during their travel to Iran. The traditional Bazaars of Iran, in addition to the pleasures of buying and preparing souvenirs, are a wonderful place to observe the beautiful Iranian architecture and learn more about the culture of Iranian peoples. Most cities in Iran have a traditional market, among which a few are the most famous and valuable. In this article from SITO travel, we want to review the most famous and beautiful traditional Bazaars of Iran, so stay with us until the end of the article.
The importance of the Bazaars in the history of Iran
In the not-so-distant past of Iran’s history, the market was considered one of the most important social centers, and many important political and social developments started from the Bazaar and entered other parts of the society. The market was used not only as a place to buy and sell goods, but also as a place to broadcast news and comment on the happenings in the society. For this reason, Traditional Bazaars in Iran had a high value among the people.
In all cities of Iran, there are traditional markets that are hundreds of years old. The beautiful and unique architecture of Iranian Bazaars has made them one of the important tourist attractions of Iran.
History of old Persian Bazaars
Bazaar in the Iranian dictionary is a collection of shops that are connected to each other in a covered space.
The word “bazaar” entered the Portuguese language due to Iranian trade with the Portuguese, and then it was transferred to French and English. For this reason, these countries also call the place where goods are bought and sold as a market.
In the past, each part of the Traditional Bazaars in Iran was related to a job, and other jobs had no place there. Among the various trades located in the Bazaar, we can mention the perfume Bazaar, the book Bazaar, the jewelry Bazaar, the leather Bazaar, the fabric Bazaar, the carpentry market, the blacksmith market, etc.
Traditional Bazaars in Iran during the Medes era
According to the works discovered during the time of the Medes, there were workshops such as blacksmithing, glassmaking, silversmithing, goldsmithing, and metal smelting, which sold the produced products in the market.
Metalworking and pottery workshops have been discovered in “Hasanlu” hill in West Azarbaijan province, which belongs to the 9th and 10th centuries BC.
Iranian Bazaars during the Achaemenid period
During the Achaemenid era, gold coins called “Drik” and silver coins called “Sikl” were made for ease of buying and selling.
In the inscriptions in Persepolis, it is written that the workers and artisans used to build this building, according to their skills, received coins as wages and exchanged it with other goods in the existing markets.
Traditional Bazaars in Iran during the Parthian period
Iran’s economy during the Parthian period was based on agriculture and commerce, and it had the monopoly of commerce in the East, including China and India, and the West, including Rome and Greece.
During the Parthian period, along important trade routes such as the Silk Road, structures were built for the comfort of commercial caravans, including caravanserais, warehouses and spaces for the supply of goods.
The city of “Dura Europas” is an example of the cities of the Parthian era that has a market.
Iranian Bazaars during the Sassanid period
During the Sassanid period, urbanization in Iran grew rapidly. During this period, many cities were built in Iran, and Iran’s trade relations with neighboring countries were developed, and Iranian markets were built and expanded as a commercial space.
Jobs such as goldsmithing, silversmithing, jewelry making, and metalworking chose one person as the head of their guild.
Traditional Iranian bazaars during the Safavid era
The security created during the Safavid period and the development of Iran’s foreign relations caused foreign merchants to come and go to Iran, and as a result, economic prosperity and increased production of products. The increase in domestic and foreign trade led to the growth of urbanization and the development of cities. During the Safavid era, the Iranian market expanded in large cities such as Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Mashhad, Qazvin, and Tehran, and new lines were built next to the old lines, and many Iranian caravanserais were built next to each of the Bazaars.
At this time, Shah Abbas I ordered the construction of “Naqshe Jahan Square” in Isfahan. Then, several Bazaar rows and a number of caravanserais were built in the northern part of the square.
After Isfahan, Tabriz was considered the most important city in the country during the Safavid period, that’s why the Tabriz market also expanded and made great progress.
Different forms of traditional Iranian Bazaars
Linear market (longitudinal):
A linear market is a row built in a longitudinal direction and shops are placed on both sides of it.
This type of bazaar is of parallel or intersecting lines, where there is a set of houses. The tourist attraction of this market in Iran is more than other Bazaars.
This type of market is made of two intersecting and perpendicular lines.
Different parts of the old market in Iran
All the old and traditional markets of Iran are made up of different parts such as “Hujreh”, “Tim”, “Timcheh”, “Qaisarieh” and “Caravansara”, which we will introduce each of them below.
1- “Hujreh” or shop
The store or shop is the simplest and smallest part of the Iranian market. The area of the cells is very different and on average it is from 10 to 25 square meters.
The cells located on the first floor of the Bazaar have the role of a shop where they buy and sell goods, while the cells located on the upper floor are used as offices and office space and sometimes as workshops. Takes.
2- “Rasteh bazaar”
“Bazaar Row” is a passage that has shops on both sides, in other words, when the cells are lined up together, a bazaar row is created. Usually, each order in the traditional market of Iran is related to a specific trade.
The communication space in the architecture of traditional markets is the interface between the outer space and the inner space of the market. “Dalan” is present in almost all the old Bazaar of Iran, the Tehran market consists of many corridors.
4 – Sara
“Sara” whose other name is “Khan” is a type of home business in which goods were received and distributed in different places of the market. Among the famous palaces of Iran’s Bazaars, we can mention “Ganj Ali Khan” Palace in Kerman and “Vazir Palace” in Tabriz.
5- “Tim” and “Timcheh”
“Tim” and “Timcheh” also have the same function as a caravanserai in the Iranian market and have common characteristics with it. In the Iranian dictionary, a large caravanserai is called “Tim” and a small caravanserai is called Timche.
“Timcheh” is a covered space that often has an octagonal design. “Timcheh” is built in 2 or 3 floors and there are cells around it.
“Big Timcheh of Qom” and “Timcheh of Amini” are very famous in Kashan.
The difference between “caravanserai” and “Tim” and “Timcheh” is that Tim and Timche have one or more high arches in the central courtyard.
“Khanbar” is a place to store goods or produce products. The location of the khanbar was behind the “sara” and there were also workshops there.
“Chaharsu” or “Chaharsuq” is called the intersection of the two main streets of the market. The cities of Isfahan, Tehran and Kerman have large and spectacular “Chaharso” among Iranian bazaars.
The word “Qaysariyeh” is derived from the Latin word “Caesarta” which means royal market. In the old bazaar of Iran, Qaysariyeh is a place that includes a sub-row, dalan or timcheh, where luxury and expensive goods, including textiles, are sold. Qaysariyeh had one or more entrance doors that were closed at night. In the traditional market of Isfahan, there are examples of these Qaysariyeh.
Introducing the traditional bazaars in Iran
There are old bazaars in most cities of Iran. In this section, we will examine the most famous and important old bazaars of Iran that continue to operate.
1- Tabriz traditional bazaar
The largest traditional indoor market in the world is located in Tabriz city. Tabriz historic bazaar has an area of 1 square kilometer, 11 corridors, 20 rows, 25 timchehs, 35 houses, 30 mosques, 5 baths and 12 schools, and 6500 shops with 40 types of jobs. The history of Tabriz bazaar dates back to the Qajar period and was registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
In the traditional Bazaar of Tabriz, you can see old brick walls, brown wooden doors and long-standing traditional texture. In the old market of Tabriz, you can buy leather products, fabrics, handwoven carpets, nuts, handicrafts, etc.
Most of the shops located in the traditional Bazaar of Tabriz have three floors, the lower floor is used as a warehouse, the second floor is used as a business and workplace, and the third floor is used for rest.
2- Traditional bazaar of Isfahan
The traditional market of Isfahan, which is called “Qeysarieh” is located in Naqsh Jahan square. The most famous handicrafts of Isfahan are sold in this traditional Bazaar. Tourists are very interested in visiting this market and buying souvenirs from it.
The traditional market of Isfahan, with its unique architecture, has attracted the attention of many domestic and foreign architects. The extension of the bazaar ends at Jame Mosque and the end of it ends at Arian Bazaar. In this Bazaar, items such as jewelry, cashmere fabrics, handmade copper and bronze dishes, spices, pickles, dried fruits and many other goods are sold.
The rooms located in “Qaysarieh” Bazaar of Isfahan consist of 2 floors, the lower floor is for shops and the upper floor is for offices. In this indoor Bazaar, “Sera Ardestaniha”, “Sera Khani”, “Sera Agha”, “Sera Mir Ismail”, “Sera Talar”, “Sera Khansariha”, “Sera Golshan”, “Sera Jarchi” and “Sera Fakhr” in addition There are several schools.
3- Traditional bazaar of Tehran
Although Tehran has become a modern city, there are still many traditional Bazaars in it that have preserved their old form. Visiting the Tehran market is included in all travel plans of sito travel agency. Now we will examine the most important and famous traditional and old markets of Tehran.
Tajrish bazaar is more than 100 years old and everything can be found there.
Fruits and vegetables, spices, handicrafts and clothes are sold in Tajrish bazaar shops.
Tehran Grand Bazaar
Tehran Grand Bazaar is one of the most famous traditional markets of Iran, which was built during the Safavid era and is now considered the main trade center of the capital.
The old bazaar of Tehran has several different houses. Each gender has a large order of its own.
The traditional market of Tehran has many attractions in itself or around it, such as “Timcheh Mahdieh”, “Jame Imam Mosque”, “Shams-ul-Emareh Palace”, “Tavoos Church” and the carpet sellers’ Bazaar. In the carpet Bazaar, we see carpets with authentic Iranian art. The Golestan Palace complex is located at a close distance from the Tehran Bazaar, which is also registered in the UNESCO world heritage.
4- Yazd traditional Bazaar
The traditional bazaar of Yazd city is known as “Khan Bazar ” and dates back to the Afshariya period. Khan Bazaar is an adobe structure and with its special architecture and amazing windmills, it attracts the attention of many tourists.
Yazd has many traditional Bazaars due to its ancient history. If you love traditional texture and historical and traditional markets, Yazd is a paradise for tourists.
Buy goods such as cloth, gold, carpets and traditional sweets in the old Bazaar of Yazd.
Qaysarieh market is another traditional and old Bazaar of Yazd city, which has a very beautiful architecture. This Bazaar is a place for buying and selling Yazdi fabrics.
“Qanbar Bazaar”, which is the oldest part of Yazd Bazaar, is considered a part of “Amir Chakhmaq” historical and cultural complex.
5- Shiraz traditional Bazaar
“Bazaar Vakil” complex is one of the most famous traditional and historical Bazaars in Iran. This bazaar was built in the center of Shiraz by the order of Karim Khan Zand. Beside the traditional Vakil Bazaar, there are other places such as the mosque and historical bath of Vakil.
Most of the shops in Bazarukil are related to carpets and fabrics. The roof of the bazaar has dome-shaped arches built with bricks and has a beautiful and spectacular architecture.
6- The old and traditional Bazaar of Kerman
The traditional market of Kerman has several entrances and it starts from “Arg Square” and ends at “Moshtaghiyeh Square”. Each part of Kerman Bazaar was built during the time of one of the rulers of this city and because of some of its features, it is unique in Iran and has world fame. The traditional Bazaar of Kerman is one of the longest bazaars in Iran.
7- Zanjan traditional Bazaar
The old market of Zanjan is the longest covered market in Iran, the construction of this Bazaar started during the time of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar and ended during the time of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, and later mosques, palaces and baths were added to it.
Zanjan traditional Bazaar has 8 rows and more than 1000 cells. Each of these orders belongs to different goods, among the important orders of the Zanjan traditional Bazaar, we can mention the cobblers, and goldsmiths.
In the lower part of the Bazaar, there are two important palaces, which include “Golshan” and “Malek” palaces. Beside these two palaces, there are two mosques, “Agha Sheikh Fayaz” and “Mirzaei”.
The Traditional Bazaars in Iran are several thousand years old and have a special place in Iranian architecture. In the past, the Bazaar in Iran was considered an influential place both economically and culturally. Because people used to analyze issues, problems and news of the country in addition to buying and selling.
The traditional bazaar of Iran in every city represent the history and architecture of that region.