Tehran is one of the most popular cities and destinations for tourists from around the world who choose this land to spend their holidays. It is actually one of the most wanted five destinations for tourists to travel to Iran.
Tehran is the fourth most populous city in the world, dating back to 7,000 years ago.
One of the historical and ancient areas in Tehran with a large number of historical monuments, museums and tourist attractions is the Bazaar area.
Tehran Bazaar is a familiar name for all the Iranians, associated with various memories.
Tehran Bazaar is one of the most attractive parts of the city of Tehran, the capital city of Persia. When walking and exploring the Tehran bazaar, we can see many tourists from all over the world visiting this traditional and beautiful bazaar.
All around the city of Tehran is full of historical, cultural, artistic and recreational attractions. In this article, we plan to travel around the Tehran Grand Bazaar and visit every corner of this historic and important bazaar.
According to studies, the area, currently known as the Tehran bazaar, has been home to plenty of Iranians from thousands of years ago.
We invite you to accompany us on this trip.
A brief history of Tehran Bazaar
Tehran bazaar was built during the Shah Tahmasb Safavid period, and some parts were added to it during Qajar era. According to some historians, it was completed and perfected during the Nasir al-Din Shah era, and this time was considered as the golden period of the Grand Bazaar.
This bazaar was not initially in its current form and different sections were gradually added to it.
The Tehran Grand Bazaar started to flourish in the Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar era; the bazaar was rebuilt first, and then some parts were covered to be protected from the warmth and the sun. The sections of the Shah Mosque and Chahar-Soogh were added to the bazaar during the Fath Ali Shah era.
What is important about Tehran Grand Bazaar is the special significance of this place in the historical and political events in Iran, so that the Tehran Grand Bazaar has had a very special role in all the great and historical events of Iran.
Starting the Tehran Grand Bazaar Tour
To go on a short trip in Tehran and have a short visit to the Grand Bazaar, we will go to Molavi St. and Molavi crossroads. This place is one of the busiest places in Tehran, and it will make the tourists shocked at first. However, we promise you will enjoy the beauty and attraction of this place with a little bit of strolling in this place.
Passing through the Hazrati Bazaar
We will enter the Grand Bazaar through the entrance at Molavi Crossroads, which is the Hazrati bazaar.
According to the documents found in one of the shops in the Hazrati bazaar in 2018, the city of Tehran dates back to more than 7,000 years ago.
Sugar (including candy…) and toys are the goods mostly exchanged and sold in this part of the bazaar. Passing through the market, we continue our journey towards the Seyed Ismail bazaar.
After passing through the Hazrati bazaar, we reach a Y-junction with branches to the left and right. The right fork goes to the Seyed Ismail bazaar and the left to the Cheheltan bazaar. No matter which one we choose actually, as the two will meet each other somewhere.
Seyed Ismail bazaar, known as the Vendors’ Market
We suggest you enter the Seyed Ismail bazaar after passing through Hazrati bazaar. Seyed Ismail bazaar, known as the Vendors’ market and the second-hand goods market, is one of the most historic parts of the Grand Bazaar.
This bazaar is named after the Seyed Ismail ImamZadeh and the cistern (ab-anbar) which is located in the northeast of Seyed Ismail bazaar.
It is worth introducing you to the history of this bazaar.
Seyed Ismail bazaar history
Based on the construction style of the Seyed Ismail Imamzadeh, the structure probably dates to around the 14th century. The carving work in this structure says that it is completed in 1481 AD, though.
In the past, there was a pit in the place of Seyed Ismail bazaar to hold the trash, but after the expansion of Imamzadeh, it lost its former use and became a bazaar.
In 1845, Haj Ismail Khan Beglar Beigi let Mirza Musa Khan, the secretary of the time, built a cistern in his personal property of about 1600 square meters and endowed it to Imamzadeh.
Haj Ismail Khan Biglar Beigi also repaired, restored and rebuilt the Imamzadeh building.
The construction of the Seyed Ismail bazaar dates back to 1842.
In the past, this local market was a place to buy and sell second-hand or used items, so it was known as the Vendors’ Market. Today, this market mostly contains home appliance shops.
Entering the Seyed Ismail bazaar, we reach the first square in the bazaar, followed by the first and second Seyed Ismail passages. These two passages, reaching the Chehel-Tan bazaar, are now large markets.
Continue to Chehel-Tan bazaar
After passing through the passages of the Hazrati bazaar, we reach a Y-junction with branches to the left and right. The right fork goes to the Seyed Ismail bazaar and the left to the Cheheltan bazaar.
To reach the Cheheltan bazaar we should pass through the carpenters’ bazaar, which is a short passage with shops of spices and herbs.
The Cheheltan bazaar has been named after the Imamzadeh located in this bazaar.
The reason why this Imamzadeh is named so might be interesting to the tourists.
What is interesting is that many people who pass through this bazar and the Imamzadeh every day do not know anything about the naming reason.
According to what has been documented in some historical books, there are the bodies of the forty descendants of the Prophet Muhammad in this place, who were murdered one night under the command of the Mamun Abbasi and by the Semnani-in-black in this place.
Now, the importance of this bazaar is much clearer for you, by studying these historical events.
The Cheheltan bazaar has many passages with the shops mostly providing and selling dry groceries.
We suggest you this bazaar, if you want to buy souvenirs on your trip to Tehran. There are a variety of Iranian nuts and dry groceries of good quality and at affordable prices in this bazaar.
Each of the passages in this bazaar reaches the bazaars nearby, including the Dalan Deraz, Amin al-Dowleh bazaar, etc.
What attracts more and more tourists to the city of Tehran and the Grand Bazaar is the special and original Iranian architecture in this place.
The Grand Bazaar architecture is a very beautiful symbol of the architecture of the Safavid era and the Qajar era.
The shops in this bazaar have kept their original appearance and are still manifesting the architecture of Safavid and Qajar era.
Passing through the big Chahar-Soogh (Chahar-Sough)
Iranviva team would like to introduce you to one of the most famous places in Tehran Grand Bazaar.
After passing through the Chehel-Tan bazaar, we reach a T-junction. The left fork goes to the Mesgarha (coppersmith) bazaar and the right to the Ahangaran (blacksmith) bazaar.
Hearing the name of these two bazaars, you expect the sound of hammer on metal. However, I have to say that people changing lifestyle has influenced the use of these markets and they have lost their former use.
Today the blacksmiths’ bazaar has become a place to sell the imported snacks and the Mesgarha bazaar a place to sell clothing.
However, there are still a number of shops on the Mesgarha bazaar where you can buy copper dishes and decorations as a memorial from the Persian land.
After entering the Ahangaran (blacksmiths) bazaar and going around the shops, we realize that it is not what it is supposed to be. There are some shops selling imported snacks and some selling stationery.
After passing through the Ahangaran bazaar, we reach another junction, one fork of which leads to the Shah mosque.
One fork continues ahead in Ahangaran bazaar to the Nowruz Khan stairs and the other is a narrow path towards the old and famous Sarpoolak neighborhood and bazaar.
The Iranviva team with the tourists interested in the history and culture of this land will go to the old and famous Shah mosque (Imam Khomeini mosque).
Now, after exploring the Tehran Grand bazaar, we arrive at the Shah mosque, a familiar name for all the Iranians.
The approximately 220-year-old Shah mosque was built in 1798 or 1809 under the command of Fath Ali Shah Qajar. Fath Ali Shah’s mother, Lady Asyah, known as Mahd Ulia paid for building the mosque.
This building was completed in the reign of Nasser-al-Din Shah Qajar, that’s why many people believe that he constructed the mosque.
Shah mosque (over 11,000 square meters), is the second biggest jameh mosque in Tehran after Atiq Mosque.
After the construction of the mosque by the order of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, Mir Mohammad Mehdi came to Tehran from Isfahan, as the mosque leader (Imam), and this position remained in his family for generations.
Now the graves of many of his family members are in their family tomb, named Sare-Ghabre-Aga.
There is no comprehensive and documented information about the main architect. However, the architecture of the building can be attributed to Abdullah Khan, the architect of the court of Fath Ali Shah.
Beauties of the Shah Mosque
Some beautiful parts of the mosque are as follows:
A Marble minbar (pulpit) with twelve steps
Four iwan Structures (balconies)
Columned shabestans (porticos)
Yellowish brown decorative tile works in two forms of “brick tiles” and “pure tiles decorated with Kufic lines” in accordance with the Iranian architecture principles.
And the inscriptions above the entry doorway of the mosque.
Fath Ali Shah’s endowments for the mosque are listed in a script on the northern side. There are also some other religious inscriptions.
The Shah mosque, in which many historical events have taken place, was of great importance in the past, some examples of these events are as follows:
Tobacco Protest Fatwa issued by Mirza Shirazi in 1892
Assassination of the Prime Minister Ali Razmara’s in 1950
The sit-in against the enactment of the Provincial and Districts Councils in 1962
Now after visiting the Shah Mosque (renamed Imam Khomeini Mosque), it’s time to leave the market for a little bit, and take a brief walk around this historical area.
To get more information about the monuments of Tehran please do not miss our next articles.