Unknown to many, the nation formerly known as “Persia” offers an abundance of great places to shop. Yes, the country has an impressive collection of huge malls but if you are visiting the country and you want to get hold of its most popular souvenirs, local marketplaces are your best bets.
So, where should you go souvenir shopping? Listed below are the best sources of Iran’s top souvenirs for both avid and casual travellers:
Take a trip to Yazd and stay there for a couple of days (you can book a budget hotel in Yazd for an overnight stay) because it is the perfect place to shop for beautiful ceramics.
Here, you will find dinnerware, tiles, and a multitude of ceramic décor that show off the impressive artistry and craftsmanship of the locals. In fact, a lot of local homes serve as shops for ceramic products and there’s a greater likelihood of getting better prices from these home-based shops.
But Yazd is not only a shopping destination for ceramics; it is also one of Iran’s best sources of Iranian confectionary. Get for yourself (or the people back home) boxes of candies, cookies, and cakes that are perfect for afternoon tea. To buy traditional sweets, head to Amir Chakhmaq Square because it is there that Haj Khalifeh Rahbar – the best brand of sweets from Yazd – is sold.
Termeh or luxurious hand-woven silk fabric that comes in different designs is another offering of Yazd. If you envy the gorgeous tablecloths used in hotels and even local households, you can get the material used to make them at affordable prices in Yazd.
The Vakil Bazaar in Shiraz is the place to go for Persian rugs and carpets. Some of the woven carpets are produced here, and a lot of carpet merchants from Kashan, Esfahan, and Qom sell here, too.
You will certainly delight in the large variety of designs and the high quality of the rugs they have. When you come to shop here, you can be certain that you will get your money’s worth when it comes to fancy rugs and carpets.
The local bazaars of Esfahan are the best places to shop for metalware. The art of ghalamzani or embossing gold, silver, bronze, and copper, is very much alive here. You will even see craftsmen working on new metal products to sell.
Walking through these bazaars will provide you with sights of an exciting range of candelabras, plates, trays, and vases. When making a purchase, do not be afraid to request for a little customisation (like your initials perhaps) for the pieces you really want to buy because the skilled craftsmen can easily work those into the design.
And, if you are into collecting art, you should definitely include miniature paintings to your purchases in Esfahan. You can buy these small works of art at the Fallahi Art Gallery near Naqsh-e Ajahan Square.
The Tajrish Bazaar in the nation’s capital is the premier shopping destination for saffron. This expensive spice is a must-buy for anybody who loves to cook.
Although saffron is grown in the Khorasan Province and is also sold in Mashhad, Tehran remains a great place to buy saffron – it’s the same quality and prices are similar – especially if you only have a few days to spare for your Iranian getaway.
Looking for affordable but top-quality pistachios?
Take a day trip to Qazvin, the largest and capital city of the Province of Qazvin. The city is just about 2.5 hours away from Tehran.
There are nut shops all over the city, and you can find everything from fresh to dried and salted pistachios from these places, as well as all kinds of treats that feature these nuts.
Pistachios make great presents from a trip to Iran because they’re a tasty, healthy snack, and there are so many recipes that people can work them into.
Hopefully, this roundup of the best places to shop for must-have Iranian souvenirs can help you organise your trip better so you can get a truly fulfilling stay in historic Iran.
Raheleh Rasouli is a content creator at Snapptrip, a full-service travel booking company based in Tehran, Iran with a mission to empower customers’ choices in booking their whole travel online. Raheleh is a veteran journalist with an aptitude for precision and a passion for new media.