Souvenir Shopping in Iran

Before arriving in Iran, we told ourselves to bring home only a small souvenir. Little did we know that Iran’s fascinating bazaars, original antique shops and carpet shops would make this an absolutely impossible promise… This is what we brought home at the end:

1 Contemporary Ceramics. A contemporary interpretation of world-famous Persian ceramics, created by young Iranian artists. 2 copper cups. Found in copper stores across Iran-these are a great drinking vessel for the Moscow mules (to make up for all the alcohol-free evenings they had in Iran) 3 Shah Abbas teapot. Ubiquitous in Iran and found in almost all tea rooms. Opt for those with 8 eyelets (really!) for something crazy. 4 Small Ceramic Bowl. A modern, mass-produced copy of the fish pattern found on traditional Persian tiles and pottery. About 1 USD. 5 matchbox. One of our habits: buy practically useless items just because the packaging is so beautiful. We can’t help ourselves!

6 Jahan brand tea. The tea itself is actually from Assam in India, but we totally fell in love with the pretty packaging from the Iranian importer Jahan Brand. 7 antiques. This “antique” mirror was love at first sight. Unfortunately, I came home in 6 broken pieces. About $40. 8 Dried Kashan Rosebuds. Kashan is famous for its roses, and these dried roses can be found all over the city. Use them in jams, desserts or as a filling. 9 Kashan Rose Water. Used as a food flavoring, syrup or simply to spray on the skin. So-called helps with a variety of ailments. 10. Pejman Foundation Carrying Bag. You can never have too many. About $4. 11. Persian Ghashghai Carpet. Slap. About $80.

The best places for souvenir shopping in Iran

Of course, you can just ask your hotel for the nearest gift shop, but we found that most of the items sold in these stores were a bit “meh”. Here are five alternative places where we found some pretty cool stuff.

Bazaar

You will find a lively bazaar in practically every city In Iran, and they were definitely the highlight of our trip. Besides the stunning architecture, the fantastic people-watching and the joy of getting lost in the maze of small alleys, these bazaars are also a great place to buy unconventional souvenirs.

Keep your eyes open for the showcases of household items and everyday items, because we found some pretty interesting items among the products on offer, such as the typical Iranian washing loofah and the small colorful kilim rugs sold as Bathing Centers (for only $ 10, a bargain). In most bazaars, you will also find at least one or more copper workshops selling everything from elaborate serving trays to copper cups (2) at unbeatable prices.

Persian carpet stores

You will find it difficult to leave Iran without wanting to bring home at least one of these beautiful Persian carpets. Carpet shops can be found all over the country, usually around bazaars and nearby tourist places, and if you play the game well, you can score a unique piece for less than $100.

When buying a Persian rug, it is worth being prepared. Know what type and style you are looking for and what to look for when testing quality and authenticity. First, browse through different stores, casually inquire about prices and keep track of the pieces you liked. Once you find that, don’t forget to play it cool and play the game until you agree on a price that you and the Seller are invited to give.

We found the best selection of carpets at the Isfahan Bazaar – not in the shops around the main square (with high tourist prices), but at the merchants in the alleys at the back of the bazaar. We picked up a beautiful hand-woven Ghashghai rug here (120x80cm) for $80 (11). And we may have been lucky, but we found the carpet sellers in Iran less intrusive than their counterparts in Morocco, where we went shopping for carpets before our trip to Iran.

Concept Stores

Given the thriving contemporary art scene in Iran, we expected many Concept Stores selling Iranian Design and modern interpretations of Iranian craftsmanship. However, the stores we found were few and far between. Fortunately, quality takes precedence over quantity, and the following two are definitely worth a visit:

ZEEEN. ZEEEN’s shelves are filled with objects artistically originating from Iran, at least that’s his Slogan. Here you will find ceramic art, fashion from emerging Persian designers, contemporary jewelry and a wide range of home items, all of which make fantastic gifts for the home. ZEEEN is a project of the Shizaru Studio, the Duo also responsible for one of our favorite restaurants in Tehran: Boomi Persian Kitchen.

Zhee Exhibition Hall. Set in a beautifully renovated corner of Kashan’s central bazaar, it’s easily one of the coolest places in Iran. The young owner, a tapestry designer by profession, seems to have her eye on the things that attract Instagram-hungry strangers like us: whitewashed walls, contemporary ceramics and the most amazing carpets-both vintage and modern. The prices are displayed right next to the items and, of course, a little higher than elsewhere – but still surprisingly cheap.

Antique shops

There is nothing like browsing a dusty collection of curiosities in a distant country, and the Iranian antique dealers certainly did not fail to impress. Our favorite group of shops was found at the Kashan Bazaar, where at least a dozen sellers are accommodated in the rooms of the Aminoddole caravanserai in the center of the bazaar. We found everything from Persian pottery to ceramic plates and large Vintage tea boxes. The prices are negotiable and we managed to buy a nice hand-painted mirror for only $30! (7)

In Tehran, Moses Baba’s Wes Anderson storefront will surely attract you. Here you will find a treasure trove of ancient trinkets, beautiful serving plates, Persian paintings and much more.

Mom and pop stores and supermarkets

As you may know, we have a weakness for designing pretty packaging.Therefore, with each new destination we visit, we take a look at the supermarket or the mom and pop store to find inspiring Designs. We like colorful and rich old-school designs, but to our disappointment, the choice we found in Iran was not as wide as we had hoped.

However, we found this cute matchbox (5) and a cute box of Assam tea (6) in one of the little mom and pop stores. We also picked up an old-fashioned Coca-Cola glass bottle (which we now use for flowers), The Farsi writing on this iconic bottle design works so well and almost elevates it to a (Pop) work of art.

Supermarkets and convenience stores are also great places to find more useful gifts, such as dried rosebuds and rose water (8 and 9-we bought them in Kashan, where you will find the best rose products), Saffron-infused hard candies or nuts and dried fruits.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *