Generally speaking, marketplaces are the main attractions of cities across Iran within the economic, social, and cultural realms, and with due regard their particular architectural styles. Given that Tehran marketplace is one of the important and interesting marketplaces of the country, we have allocated today’s episode to become familiar with this marketplace.
Majority of travelers who have visited Tehran’s marketplace, have described it, and have praised its attractions and beauties.
The French traveler, Ernest Ursel, refers to Tehran’s marketplace in his travelogue on 1882 AD.
He notes: Tehran marketplace is similar to a city, in itself. Twenty to twenty-five thousand people are active in this marketplace. It is also home to several roads and alleys, corridors, crossroads, guest houses, and mosques. The roofed corridors of this marketplace are located underneath domes, in which apertures are installed for entry of light rays and air current. Hence, the traders and customers of this marketplace are immune from the scorching heat of Tehran. This marketplace, in addition of being a huge venue for trade, is considered as an appropriate venue for meetings between people.
Each of cities of Iran has their own marketplace. Within the marketplaces of different cities of Iran, there are several buildings, with diverse functions. Familiarization with these buildings highly contributes to attainment of an understanding of the marketplace and even the related city. Tehran’s marketplace took shape during the reign of Qajarid King, Fath-Ali Shah. Today, this marketplace is made up of several corridors and alleys, with a large number of shops and stalls. Although as of several decades ago, new commercial centers have taken shape in different parts of Tehran; the Tehran marketplace remains to be one of the main trade centers of Tehran and even Iran, despite its age-old history. Tehran’s marketplace, similar to other traditional markets of Iran, is roofed with domes; which are mainly made of bricks.
In front of the main entry of Tehran’s marketplace, there is a huge space which is referred to as Sabz-e Meydaan. It is surrounded by shops. In the past, this square was the venue for distribution of different types of goods.
Upon the entry to Tehran marketplace, there is Imam Khomeini Mosque, which is one of the large and well-known mosques of Tehran. It has been constructed concurrent with the rule of Qajarid King, Fath-Ali Shah. The construction of this mosque ended in 1824 AD. The name of this Qajarid king has been written at the top of mosque’s large balcony. This mosque’s courtyard, roofed section, tiled dome, and shelves are very interesting and attractive and the one of a kind tile works of the Qajarid era are visible in it.
Imam Khomeini Mosque, in addition to being a site for observance of religious ceremonies and congregational prayers, acts like a loop, which links different parts of the marketplace to each other.
As of ancient times, Tehran’s marketplace was home to several main streets and passageways. There are also a large number of corridors in this marketplace. These paths are usually classified based on their related activities and goods. Today, many of the former small and well-known markets of this marketplace such as the market of blacksmiths, tobacco sellers, and hat sellers have been replaced with shops, trading luxurious goods and items.
Nonetheless, a number of these markets, such as the markets of goldsmiths, jewelry shops, fabric shops, carpet and household appliance markets remain as the most important and well-known markets of Tehran. The majority of young couples, who intend to get married, attend these markets, buying their wanted goods from them.
A number of smaller markets in Tehran’s marketplace have remained to this day, including the Bain ul-Haramain Market, which is located between Imam Khomeini and Ja’ameh Mosques. In the past, most of the old book stores of Tehran were located in this smaller market. Today, this market is home to stationery shops.
In the past, the intersections of main streets of the marketplace were of social and even political importance. Hence, the architectural style of these intersections is different to that of other parts of the marketplace.
One of the important trade centers in the market, are chambers surrounding a roofed courtyard. These are two-story and three-story shops and stalls; each of which belongs to a trader.
Moreover, in the past, Tehran’s marketplace was home to several guest houses. The French traveler, Ursel, in another part of his travelogue, describes the interior design of these guest houses. It partly reads: “The majority of these guest houses are endowed properties. Reception in them is free of charge. And the security guards of these guest houses are good people.”
The combination of shops and guest houses in Tehran marketplace has created an especial fiber. Public places; such as bathrooms, schools, mosques, Imamzadeh Holy Shrines, tea houses, and eateries are also present in this marketplace.
Today, Tehran’s marketplace has gone through major changes. A large part of the trade exchanges have been transferred out of Tehran’s marketplace. Today, throughout Tehran’s main streets, several shopping centers, and chain supermarkets meet the needs of people and customers.