The Grand Bazaar is located in southern Tehran; its
many corridors are over 10km in length. There are
several entrances, some of which are locked and
guarded at night.
While the current bazaar is most associated with the
19th century onwards, its roots go back much
The area around Tehran has been settled since at
least 6000 BC, and while bazaar-like construction in
Iran as a whole has been dated as far back as 4000
BC, Tehran's bazaar is not this old. It is hard to
say exactly when the "bazaar" first appeared, but in
the centuries following the introduction of Islam,
travelers reported the growth of commerce in the
area now occupied by the current bazaar. The Grand
bazaar is a continuation of this legacy.
Research indicates that a portion of today's bazaar
predated the growth of the village of Tehran under
the Safavids' dynasty, although it was during and
after this period that the bazaar began to grow
Western travelers indicated that by 1660 CE and
beyond, the bazaar area was still largely open, and
only partially covered.
A bazaar is a type of marketplace, although many -
such as Tehran's Grand bazaar - fulfill many
additional functions rather than merely trade.
Throughout its history, the Grand bazaar has played
host to banks and financiers, mosques and guest
Trade is, however, the key aspect of the bazaar.
Traditionally, the Tehran bazaar was split into
corridors, each specializing in different types of
goods, including copper, carpets, paper, spices, and
precious metals, as well as small traders selling
all types of goods. Today, modern goods are
available as well, in addition to the many
traditional corridor traders that still survive.