Iran's bazaars have survived for centuries and are considered as the center for trades, crafts, and culture of the country. Loud calls from vendors beckoning people to buy their wares prevail in the place.
The whole place is a feast for the traveler's eyes as hundreds of textile, mosaic tiles, spices, arts and crafts, antiquities and foodstuffs line up in exotic stalls and timche (storehouses) waiting for it to be bought by locals or tourists alike. Bazaars are made of rasteh or what they call "alleys," and each alley features a particular product.
At the entrance of the market, people can often find the caravanserai or the traveling traders who would stay in town over the next few days to sell their products and buy other items before moving to the next village.
However, Iran's bazaars face a new foe in this era: property price and taxes. Bazaar property went up, and many stall owners sold their shops and did businesses outside. BBC News interviewed many locals to delve into the issue of shop owners leaving bazaars.
Other challenges bazaars have faced are the continuing production of the crafts by hand instead of machines. Most stall owners in the area have been on the market for over 70 years and still offer handmade goods. Women who provide work in the bazaar found that the market for their wares is a despondent one, thus forcing them to find better jobs to provide food for the family.
One man claimed that people don't know each other anymore. "We are all suffering from one thing; this bazaar in all of its glory is being destroyed." Akbar Taghizadeh, former director of the Cultural Heritage Organization in Tabriz, told the site, that bazaars helped define the layout of the city as well as its social and cultural life.
Iran's markets were originally founded during the 11th century, while most of the present structures date back to ancient Persia or around the 17th century. Tehran's Grand Bazaar tops any travelers' list to visit, especially that it'll take them to a 10-kilometer labyrinth of rasteh featuring thousands of wares and items from food, jewelry, antiquities, and furniture.
Other than that, The Culture Trip wrote that other bazaars still flourishing in the area are the Imam Hossein Square, Tajrish Bazaar, Rey Bazaar, and Jomeh Bazaar, among many others. But given the present problems of the bazaar, will they survive the next generation?
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader