Tehran Bazaar is one of the must-see places to visit during your stay in Tehran. This place is the heart of Persian culture and trading.
In Iran a bazaar is much more than just a place to stock up on a few essential shopping items. The bazaris, the men who run the stalls in the bazaar, are frequently very wealthy and wield enormous political power. They are usually conservative, religious people who have a long history of standing against authority.
In an attempt to weaken their power the last shah bulldozed new roads through parts of the bazaar, gave subsidised credit to competing supermarkets and set up state purchasing bodies to handle sugar, meat and wheat.
Not surprisingly, the Tehran bazaris hit back during the Islamic Revolution when the closure of the bazaar wrought havoc on the economy.
They were equally influential in the 1906 Constitutional Revolution and the coup that ousted Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.
It has been estimated that Tehran Bazaar controls a third of Iran's entire retail and trade sector. Prices here set the standard for prices across the country, and the carpet dealers and other merchants can supply loans almost as readily as the banks. However, the power of the bazaris is waning. Competition from new supermarkets and the time it takes for most Tehranis to reach the bazaar has slowly bled money away from this traditional market, and with it the power of its merchants.