Visiting a Bazaar
No visit to Iran is complete without a trip to one of the many bazaars around the country. Not only are some of them historic monuments in their own right, such as the Tabriz Bazaar which dates back to the time of the Silk Road, but in the bazaar, you find the very heart of Iranian culture, and they are a lot of fun too!
Now, whether you are visiting the Tehran bazaar near your hotel, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Tabriz bazaar or any number of others all over the country, you will find a riot of color, people from all walks of life and a world of activity. People travel to bazaars from different districts, with people of all social strata meeting up, doing business, talking and offering advice to one another, it is the very essence of Iran, where you will find everything that Iranians enjoy all in one place.
Beautiful surroundings and a glimpse into the daily lives of Iranians aside, the bazaar is also a wonderful place to do a little shopping. At the larger ones, like Tehran Bazaar, you can buy pretty much anything you can think of, and while many stores have an abundance of touristy type products, don’t be afraid to explore, you will soon find wonderful, handmade clothing, fine carpets and other craft items that you will love for a lifetime, real mementos of your visit.
In the bazaar you will also find some of the best food you can eat in Iran, whether you choose the restaurants or small vendors, traditional local cuisine is a delight. Traditionally prepared, local ingredients, traditional Persian food, all served within sight of the hubbub and activity of the bazaar itself, the people, the goods, everything. I don’t think there is a finer way to experience Iran in all its glory.
There are some things to remember though, bazaars are busy, very busy, and especially at the bigger ones be prepared for crowds. Bazaars are a hive of activity all day, and get very crowded with locals and tourists alike, however the general hustle and bustle really do add to the overall atmosphere, and as long as you are aware of what it will be like, you should be fine, it never gets uncomfortable and there is always something to see, or a restaurant to step into to get away from the crowd, so just enjoy the experience.
The bazaar really is something you must experience on a trip to Iran, it encompasses centuries of tradition and culture, and you can literally walk through a bazaar and be transported into almost any time in the last 1000 years, little would change. In fact, in some bazaars, such as the Tabriz Bazaar, the building itself will be the same. Iran is known for its historical importance, and while the ruins and other sites are important, an Iranian bazaar is a living, breathing glimpse into the past.