0257 GMT February 29, 2020
The Grand Bazaar is an old historical market in Tehran, the capital of Iran.
Located at the Arg Square in southern Tehran, it is split into several corridors extending over 10km in length, each specializing in a particular type of goods. It has several entrances, with the main being the entrance of Sabzeh Meydan Square.
In addition to shops, the Grand Bazaar of Tehran also accommodates banks, mosques and guest houses.
The bazaar can be accessed via Tehran Metro's Khayyam Station.
The area around Tehran has been settled since at least 6000 BCE, and while bazaar-like construction in Iran, as a whole, goes back to at least 4000 BCE. However, Tehran's bazaar is not that old. It is hard to say exactly when the 'bazaar' first emerged, but in centuries following the advent of Islam, travelers reported growth of commerce in the area which currently serves as the bazaar. The grand bazaar is a continuation of this legacy.
Research indicates that a portion of today's bazaar predated the growth of the village of Tehran under the Safavid dynasty, although it was during and after this period that the bazaar began to grow gradually.
Western travelers indicated that by 1660 CE and beyond, the bazaar area was still largely open, and only partially covered.
Despite relying heavily on this historical legacy, much of the bazaar was constructed in the modern time. The oldest remaining buildings, walls and passages in the bazaar today very rarely exceed 400 years, with many being constructed or rebuilt in the last 200 years. The bazaar grew as a 'city within a city' for much of the 19th century, and was largely able to expand without much outside involvement. However, as Tehran began to grow exponentially in the early 20th century under the reign of deposed king Reza Shah, of the first Pahlavi Era, the changes brought about by this rapid expansion saw much of the bazaar disappear.
Old sections of the bazaar are generally similar in architectural style, while parts added in the 20th century often look markedly different. Critics say that less care was taken in the construction of the later sections. However, to increase the prestige of the bazaar, projects to beautify the bazaar by using plaster molding and decorative brickwork were undertaken late in the 20th century.
Today, the grand bazaar is still an important venue for commerce. However, much of the trade and finance in the city has been moved to the northern Tehran. In addition to the traditional goods on sale, the market for watches and local jewelry is apparently growing, most likely for the benefits of tourists. In keeping with the market spirit, tourists are encouraged to haggle. The bazaar is busiest around midday, and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tehran Grand Bazaar was registered as No. 1540 on the National Heritage List in 1977.