The traditional Bazaar of Kashan is one of the historical and tourist attractions of the city of Kashan, highly popular among its residents and tourists. It’s impossible to visit this city and not hear about its traditional market. First and foremost, it should be noted that the antiquity of this old bazaar dates back to the Buyid and Seljuk eras.
However, the traditional Bazaar of Kashan gained more extension and became even more beautiful during the Safavid era, known as a period of prosperity in our country. In the Qajar period, more spaces were added alongside the old fabric of the market, and today, this traditional bazaar is considered a heritage from the past seven centuries up to the late Qajar era.
It is also worth knowing that parts of this market were damaged in the earthquake of 1192 but were later restored and reconstructed during the reign of Fath Ali Shah Qajar. The traditional and historical Bazaar of Kashan was registered as a historical monument on the national heritage list Iran on September 8, 1255.
Let’s take a stroll through this bustling marketplace and discover its wonders.
Read More: Kashan Travel Guide
Kashan Bazaar: A Historical Hub
The Bazaar of Kashan dates back to the Seljuk period, with renovations and expansions in the Safavid era. This historical context adds layers of depth to your visit. Walking through this bazaar, you are literally treading on centuries of history. The architecture alone, with its beautiful domes and intricate tile work, tells stories of the past.
The Fame of Kashan’s Bazaar Among European Travelers
The Bazaar of Kashan has always been the subject of admiration and praise by travelers who, in past centuries, journeyed from Europe to Iran and visited the city of Kashan. Particularly during the Safavid era, the Bazaar of Kashan was a venue for royal celebrations, attended by travelers, guests, and political agents of European governments. One such traveler was Sir Anthony Shirley, a renowned English explorer who visited Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty and highly praised the Kashan Bazaar in his travelogue. Similarly, Tavernier, a French traveler and merchant, visited Iran once during Shah Safi’s reign and again during the reigns of Shah Abbas II and Shah Suleiman of the Safavid dynasty, witnessing the Bazaar of Kashan as a spectacle of all kinds of beauty and admiration.
Sir Thomas Herbert, an ambassador of King Charles of England, also visited the Kashan Bazaar during the reign of Shah Abbas I and wrote in his travelogue that the goods traded in the Kashan Bazaar were unmatched in quality and beauty anywhere else. Pietro Della Valle, an Italian knight, and Adam Olearius, a German, both of whom visited Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas I, have mentioned the Kashan Bazaar and written about its beauty in their travelogues.
In the Qajar era, Olivier the French, Madame Dieulafoy, a French archaeologist, Edward Browne, an English Iranologist, and Eugène Aubin, the French minister plenipotentiary in Iran, all of whom visited our country during the Qajar period, saw the Kashan Bazaar as well. They mentioned its grandeur and beauty and regarded it as one of the attractions worth visiting in the city of Kashan.
The traditional Bazaar of Kashan consists of covered passageways extending over 3 kilometers. These sheltered pathways feature spring arches and domes with circular skylights, casting light into the bazaar’s interior. The materials used in the bazaar’s construction are primarily brick and raw mud-brick with clay mortar. Plaster and mud-brick are used for the upper structure, while wood is employed for doors, locks, and arches. The decorations in each section of the bazaar vary based on the construction year and the significance of the building. The most exquisite decorations can be found in the Timcheh Amin od-Dowleh and the Qeysarieh bazaar section.
The artistic design of the walls, floors, and ceilings in the Kashan Bazaar creates a sense of movement for the viewer. This is achieved through the arrangement of shops, decorations, openings, and the use of materials in the walls, floors, and ceilings. The architectural elements in the bazaar, such as the wall, floor, and ceiling designs, play a crucial role in instilling a sense of movement and dynamism. This is further enhanced by the ability to accommodate the movement of people, vehicles, and animals within the bazaar.
Light in Kashan Bazaar’s Architecture
Light plays an active role in the architecture of the Kashan Bazaar. It encompasses the spaces both directly and indirectly, with open areas serving as sources of direct light, enriching the surrounding spaces. The caravanserais and madrasahs, with their courtyards, benefit from abundant light, while the market rows and Timchehs have localized lighting. In the market rows, each shop has a skylight that directs light downward, creating a brighter spot every few steps.
This lighting, complemented by the heightened space and the divisions of arches and recesses of the shops, draws customer attention. The rhythm of light and shadow becomes a factor in guiding movement through the bazaar. The contrast of light in the semi-dark market space and the saturated light sources encourages movement and highlights the distinctiveness of each area. The human eye, attuned to light and dark, not only perceives the bright daylight but also appreciates the variety of lighting, the presence of light and shadow, enhancing the spatial quality of the bazaar and inviting contemplation.
Additionally, the openings and apertures designed for introducing or even measuring time have a reassuring effect on people. The regular recurrence of days or changing seasons, along with the perception of time in the bazaar, contribute to a sense of calm and assurance in the space.
Color in Kashan Bazaar’s Architecture
Colors in the Kashan Bazaar fall into two categories. The first includes fixed colors like those of the building’s body and structural elements, which rarely change. These colors, dictated by the materials used, are typically browns, whites, and blues.
The second category comprises variable colors, seen in elements like flags, lighting, and colors added to the bazaar’s body for special ceremonies, as well as in the goods inside the shops. These elements play a significant role in giving meaning to the environment. Walking through the Kashan Bazaar, amidst spaces adorned with various colors, can evoke different moods and feelings. Many of the colors in the bazaar symbolically represent cultural themes and concepts.
An Array of Shops and Goods
What can you find in the Bazaar of Kashan? Almost everything! From Persian rugs, known worldwide for their quality and beauty, to traditional copper cookware, the bazaar is a treasure trove. You can find handcrafted souvenirs, spices, and local sweets like Gaz and Sohan. It’s a great place to shop for authentic Persian items and gifts.
The Atmospheric Teahouses
Take a break at one of the traditional teahouses. Sip on Iranian tea, try some local snacks, and soak in the atmosphere. These teahouses are not just about refreshment; they are cultural experiences where you can interact with locals and enjoy the leisurely pace of life in Kashan.
The Timcheh Amin od-Dowleh
One of the highlights of the Bazaar of Kashan is the Timcheh Amin od-Dowleh, a caravanserai that has been transformed into a part of the bazaar. This section is particularly impressive with its high domed ceiling and exquisite architecture. It’s a great place for photographers and history buffs alike.
Engaging with Local Artisans
As you wander through the bazaar, you’ll encounter local artisans at work. Watch them as they weave carpets or craft copperware. Engaging with these artisans offers a glimpse into the traditional crafts of Iran and makes for a memorable experience.
The Traditional Bazaar of Kashan, a renowned traditional structure in the city, has captured the interest of many tourists. Most visitors to Kashan include this historic site in their travel itinerary. If you’re planning to visit Kashan and explore its traditional bazaar, here are some key details to keep in mind:
The bazaar is open daily from morning until 10 PM, except on public holidays. This allows plenty of time for visitors to explore and enjoy the bazaar’s offerings.
Duration of Visit
To thoroughly enjoy and explore the lanes of the Kashan Bazaar and to see all its sections, you should allocate approximately 2 to 3 hours. This time frame gives you enough opportunity to appreciate the architecture, shop, and possibly even stop for a tea or a snack at one of the local teahouses.
Planning your visit within these hours ensures a complete and enriching experience of one of Kashan’s most significant historical and cultural landmarks.
If you’re planning to visit the Bazaar of Kashan, consider booking a tour through SURFIRAN for an in-depth experience. They offer tailored tours that can enhance your visit to this historical marketplace.
Attractions Near the Kashan Bazaar
Kashan offers numerous attractions, but the closest ones to the Traditional Bazaar are:
Located just 500 meters away, this mosque is a historical and architectural marvel in Kashan.
At a distance of 1.3 kilometers, this historical bathhouse offers a glimpse into the Persian bathing culture.
Situated 2 kilometers away, this traditional Persian house is known for its intricate design and architecture.
If your visit to the bazaar ends earlier than expected, these three historical and beautiful structures are excellent choices to explore for the rest of your day.
Access to Kashan Bazaar
As previously mentioned, the bazaar has two main entrances:
- Route 1: Kashan, Kamal-ol-Molk Square, Baba Afzal Street
- Route 2: Kashan, Darvazeh Dowlat, Abazar Street
The nearest bus station to the Kashan Bazaar is located at Kamal-ol-Molk Square.
Accommodation in Kashan
Besides its fascinating bazaar, Kashan has many other attractions that make a visit worthwhile. Sites like the Tepe Sialk, Ameri and Borujerdi Houses, Fin Bath, the underground city of Noushabad, and the Soltaniyeh School are just a few of the well-known ones. It is recommended to rent a villa or suite in Kashan to explore each of these attractions and make your trip memorable.
Kashan Hotels Online
The Bazaar of Kashan is more than a shopping destination; it’s a cultural journey. Its historic architecture, variety of shops, and the chance to interact with local artisans make it a unique experience. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or just looking for some unique souvenirs, the Bazaar of Kashan has something for everyone. Don’t miss this gem on your visit to Iran!