The Tehran Grand Bazaar is Worth Seeing

The bazaar is crowded (khar-too-khar1 as Iranians say), full of shoppers, historic, and real. The latter is what sets it apart; it isn’t a tourist attraction, rather a functioning bazaar.

Located in the most inaccessible section of Tehran, the bazaar is surrounded by neighborhoods that are some of the city’s oldest, including: Sang-e-laj, Oud-Lajan, Mowlavi, and Paa’menar.  Mostly developed in the Qajar era, these places are remnants of Tehran’s past. Despite an effort to preserve, they stand mostly forgotten.

The front of the bazaar is adjacent to the street Panzdah-e-Khordad, which is crowded full of shoppers, street vendors, and laborers carting goods to be sold. Panzdah-e-Khordad is where Sabz-e-Maydan is, as well as the main entrance to the bazaar.

Sabz-e-Maydan is a square filled with currency traders, shops, and well-known restaurants. Usually crowded with long lines around lunchtime, these restaurants are nothing like their western (or even Iranian) counterparts.

The amount of people who frequent the bazaar is astounding. This makes shopping more difficult, but adds to the experience. Locating anything is a wild goose chase that involves: asking, asking again, getting lost, asking again, asking once more, and, finally finding what you want!

Like a huge department store, every category of items has its own section. Everything from household goods, to the shalvar kordi2 worn by laborers can be found.

There are many interesting things inside, surrounding the bazaar there is also much too see. Kaakh-e-Golestaan3 is just north; to the west is Park-e-Shahr4. My favorite is a teahouse in Oud-Lajan. Whatever you choose to see, it won’t be disappointing.

The bazaar is a combination of old and new, a modern economy operating within an archaic foundation. An interesting place to say the least.


1. Khar-too-Khar: Literally “Donkey in Donkey”, means crowded, not organized.

2. Shalvar Kordi: Baggy pants that are favored by laborers.

3. Kaakh-e-Golestan: A royal palace in south Tehran, is currently a museum.

4. Park-e-Shahr: A large park near the bazaar, the central park of Tehran so-to-speak.

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