Given that the historical city of Isfahan has been Iran’s capital in the past; and has been a commercial hub, numerous markets have been developed in this city, including the Qaysarieh Market. This market has been one of the largest and most luxurious shopping centers during the Safavid era, and foreign commercial companies also maintained stalls in this market. This market is currently one of the biggest centers of Isfahan Province’s handicrafts. It has been built during the reign of the Safavid Dynasty in the year 1620 on the northern corner of the historical Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan Square). Famous tourists such as “Naser Khosro Qobaadiani”, and “Jean Chardin”, have described this market in their travel books. The French tourist, Jean Chardin, who according to himself, has spent more than ten years in the city of Isfahan describes this market and points out: Isfahan’s large market is located at the northern corner of Naqsh-e Jahan Square and its gateway is decorated with tile work. On the two sides of the gateway there are two large cobblestoned platforms. The jewelers and goldsmiths sell their jewelry, gems, and rare coins over there.
On the interior of the market, this French tourist says: At Qaysarieh gateway we enter one of the largest and most luxurious markets in the city of Isfahan, which is the venue of sales of valuable garments. A large dome is located in the middle of this market.
This tourist also referred to the small markets of bookbinders, safe makers, saddlers, shoe makers, blacksmiths, and numerous motels in the surroundings of Qaysarieh Market.
Isfahan Market is one of the largest and most attractive markets of the cities of Iran and even the World of Islam. This market has a gateway at Imam Square, which linked new Isfahan (Of the Safavid Era) to old Isfahan (Of the Saljuqid Era). The large Isfahan Market is linked to Jameh Mosque. Alike the markets of majority of central Iranian cities, the Isfahan Market includes roofed pavements, which are located on the two sides of shops and have beautiful, vaulted roofs. To light up the market and to ventilate its interior, pores have been made over the vaulted roofs, which allow sun rays into the market. This market is comprised of different sections, each of which is the venue for sales of particular items. This is a two-storey market with a width of 4 to 8 meters. In the past, different types of silken fabric were sold in this market but currently this market is a venue for sales of different kinds of handicrafts. This large market consists of numerous small markets, including those of goldsmiths, coppersmiths, and shoe makers. Alike other Iranian markets, Isfahan Market, in a bid to meet the ever-increasing needs of people, is surrounded by smaller markets; each of which are for a particular purpose. Next to these markets, there are mosques, religious schools, and mausoleums, public water drinking places, public bathrooms, numerous motels and coffee shops. Hence the market has managed to meet the needs of people, in the domains of economic, social, political, and religious activities. Today, the market has gone through numerous changes. A lion’s share of commercial exchanges has been transferred to shops across the city and out of this market. Throughout Isfahan’s main streets, multi-storey shopping centers and large commercial complexes provide for peoples’ needs. Nonetheless, Isfahan Market has maintained its attractions and every day hundreds of tourists walk through this market’s intricate corridors, visiting this historical market and buying souvenirs. Meanwhile, as a reminder, Isfahan’s Market is not limited to what we have described already. Numerous markets are located in different districts of Isfahan; each of which are highly attractive. The Art Market of Isfahan (Gold and Jewelry Shopping Center) which is located at the northern corner of “Chahar Baagh” School is another historical attraction site of Isfahan which we will describe later on.
We spoke of Isfahan’s Qaysarieh Market and presentation of handicrafts in it. In continuation of today’s program, we will make you familiar with a number of Isfahan’s handicrafts. Historical monuments are not the only reason behind Isfahan’s global fame. This city is also well known as the largest production center of Iran’s different types of handicrafts. This city’s handicrafts have been introduced as the representative of Iranians’ original art across the globe, throughout numerous centuries. For a long while, Isfahan has been the cradle of beautiful arts and delicate industries. The brickworks, tile work, plasterworks, and calligraphy within Isfahan’s historical monuments as of 1,000 years ago to this day, prove this fact. The name of this city is a reminder of tile work, miniature paintings, and pretty patterns of printed cloth, as well as chiseled works. In fact, the majority of foreign and domestic tourists who gain the opportunity to visit Isfahan have purchased one or several handicrafts in this city. The most important handicrafts of the city of Isfahan include chiseled works over copper and brass, brocaded silk and velvet woven items, woven rugs, different arts on wood, paintings on leather, pottery, and production of printed cloth. In this section of today’s program we will brief you on chiseled works over copper and brass.
Chiseled works and different artifacts, including those made from copper and brass date back to ancient times in Iran. Not many metallic artifacts have remained from the Achamenian era. But, a collection of the silver and gold plates, remaining from the Sassanid era, which have been chiseled by Iranian experts are currently kept in a museum in Saint Petersburg. In the post-Islamic era, the chiseling industry has been highly promoted in Iran and different brass-made and metallic chiseled collections in the shape of animals and birds have remained from this era. The Safavid era marks a milestone in the development of handicrafts in the city of Isfahan, and the gunmetal works of this era are the best in the world. The patterns formed over steel are unique, highly beautiful and delicate. The gates of Imam Mosque and Chahar Baag School in the city of Isfahan are examples of the works of this era.
Today, the productions of the chiseling industry include different types of trays, flower pots, candle sticks, chandeliers, and decorated plates that have been warmly welcomed by tourists and are considered as the handicraft export items of the historical city of Isfahan.