Article by: Ehsan Niroumand, Co-founder and licensed guide at Persian Walk.
Photos by: Annukka Sakkinen, Thomas Kießner & Ehsan Niroumand
Tehran is a big city with many attractions that need several days to be discovered. In the blog “Why spending longer than a day in Tehran is worth your while,” we explain it.
But, among all the city attractions, the grand bazaar is an essential element in daily life.
Bazaar is one of the main elements of Iranian cities. It reminds our guests of the “One Thousand & One Night’s” stories as soon as they step inside.
With 1 million square meters, the Tehran bazaar is the center of the economy of Iran’s capital city. This bazaar has gradually evolved for more than four centuries in the center of Tehran.
The bazaar is not only the center of the economy, but also it has a significant role in the social and religious life of people. When there were no social media, telephone, or internet, people gathered in the bazaar to communicate with each other. Many social movements like the constitutional revolution started there.
Here are seven exciting facts about Tehran grand bazaar:
1- A long history: No one knows when the bazaar was built precisely. Some historians say it was started to build about 450 years ago during the reign of Safavid. Still, you can see the remained part from that era. Still, most of the bazaar was constructed during the Qajar and Pahlavi period, especially after Tehran became a capital city in 1786.
2- Brilliant Architecture: you can easily find different Iranian architecture in any corner of the bazaar. Timcheh, Hammam, Hojreh, mosque, church, Charsooq, Sara, Dokkan, etc., are the elements of the bazaar with their unique architecture. Even you can easily follow the trace of different dynasties on them.
3- Find anything you want: There is a saying in Iran about it; we say you can find “from the chicken’s milk to human’s life” in the bazaar. It means you can find anything you want in the bazaar.
Any goods have a unique line or place for themselves. In old times, the lines of the bazaar were named after the businesses that did the same business there. Thus, when you step inside the bazaar, you will see Shoemakers’ line, jewelry and watchmakers’ line, Iron sellers’ line, etc.
4- Many old Family businesses: Bazaar is the center of family businesses. Different generations of a family run the industry, and most of the time, they do it well. E.g. the Mozaffarian family has run jewelry making for centuries, and Abdollah Hakkak and his son have been running a seal and ring making business for decades.
5- Smallest teahouse in the world: one of the top attractions of Tehran’s Bazaar is Haj Ali Darvish Teahouse. Another good sample of family businesses that have been working since 1917. Haj Kazem the son of Haj Ali now manages it. You can drink tea and coffee in a two square meter teahouse in the Grand line of the bazaar.
6- The house of the Iranian billionaire: The Malek’s House in the Bein –ol- Haramein line of the bazaar is an excellent sample of the inhabitant area at the heart of the bazaar. He was one of the wealthiest aristocrats in Iran who donated his house, treasure, and giant library to the Astan Qods foundation. Nowadays, his home has transformed into a cultural center and café restaurant.
If you are still eager to visit Tehran’s Bazaar, join us on our daily Tehran free walking tour. We walk inside the bazaar and show our guests some interesting and exciting parts. You can easily book a tour on the Persian Walk website or contact us via email: [email protected] or contact us via +98 935 891 46 04 (WhatsApp and cellphone).