I love strolling through bazaars in Iran. Even though they are incredibly crowded, there is something mysterious about bazaar culture that I greatly enjoy. I think it’s a combination of the architecture, the back and forth bargaining with the salesmen, the people-watching, finding the most random objects of beauty in the nooks, and the thought that trade has been going on in this very place for centuries. The old wooden doors that are almost falling apart, and yet have locks on them, also enchant me. I stopped to take a photo of one in particular in the bazaar in Neyshabur. My uncle, with a 'why is she taking a picture of that old thing?' look, came around a little and said, "I've been to this bazaar hundreds of times, but I've never noticed that door before. Now I understand what you like." And then, as it usually happens, he started noticing others and pointing them out to me. "That one is nice, too. Did you take a picture?"
While in Tabriz, I visited the Bazaar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There were plenty of old wooden doors for me to take pictures of. The holes in the ceiling that created a path of light circles on the ground also made for interesting photos, and the red brick ceiling of the grand hall made the bazaar look surprisingly modern. My favorite part, though, was the rug bazaar which simply seemed to be a world of its own. Some men were discussing their trade while sitting atop a mound of neatly folded rugs, and others were trimming and sewing the ends of rugs in between sips of tea. Some were carting around stacks of rugs while others walked with a pile thrown over their shoulder.
I love the way the men flip the rugs over so that you can see all the designs in a particular stack. It's striking that the work is so neat that the tops and bottoms are near indistinguishable. The tops are just a little fuzzier; otherwise you could lay them upside down and not even notice. I've always thought it curious that these works of art are made to walk on.
Don't miss the bazaar in Tabriz, and cross a UNESO WHS off your list!