Panorama of the Week: Persian Carpets at the World’s Largest Covered Bazaar

An Iranian carpet, especially one from Tabriz, is worth more than gold.

– Our Iranian guide gives us an economics lesson in the old carpet section of the Tabriz bazaar.

The largest bazaar in the Middle East. The world’s largest covered market. A UNESCO World Heritage site. That’s the Tabriz bazaar. And deep inside, old men, purveyors of grand old Persian carpets, drink tea, smoke qalyan, and stay open only four hours a day. Voices are low, relationships are being formed — and deals are being made.

Iranian carpets are renowned for their quality and style around the world. They truly are works of art, and also of great labor, many of them taking years at the hands of the nimble and skilled. But we’ve been told that a Tabriz carpet is the crème de la crème of all Iranian carpets (locals from Esfahan and Mashad may argue with this). And of course, the older they are, the more prized they become.

360-Degree Panorama: Tabriz Bazaar, Antique Carpet Section

panorama directions

Enjoy this?

Then sign up for more travel wisdom & inspiration from 7+ years of traveling the world.

Comments

  1. says

    Recently I’ve finally found the time and resources to travel, and have been looking for trip ideas. Your site is not only inspirational, but informative. Beautiful photography to boot. Thanks!

  2. says

    @Sunee: We didn’t ask the price for these particular Tabriz carpets, but I imagine that the smaller ones start at $1,500 and go up to who knows what for the big ones.

    @Lane: Thanks for your kind comment! So glad we can help with trip ideas and inspiration. Just be in touch if we can help with anything else. Happy travels!

  3. says

    @Sam: To make these spherical panoramas we use an 8mm fisheye lens and take 4 photos at 90-degree angles (plus one above). Then we stitch the images together using Autopano Giga and make the “tour” you see above using PanoTour.

  4. Sutapa Chattopadhyay says

    Audrey, why do they remain open only 4 hours a day? And who are they forming deals with? Are the deals being made with antiques dealers who specialize in selling old carpets? Who are the actual sellers?

  5. says

    @Sutapa: Great questions! Apparently it’s tradition that they only work 4 hours a day – the assumption is that they make enough money during that time that they don’t need to work more. Carpets are a big investment for regular people, so the deals were either negotiations with private buyers or bulk sales to business people. There are special carpet buyers who buy in one place and then distribute to shops throughout the country. I don’t believe that it’s possible to export antique rugs from Iran – they are considered a “national treasure.”

  6. says

    So beautiful! Even though it sounds like they’re pricy, I’ll best it’s a lot of fun to dig through the piles just to see what all the different designs and patterns look like.

  7. kourosh says

    re:JoAnna
    not all persian rugs are pricy,but if you buy the right type as new, over time,even as little as five or six years,it would be classed as a collectable item.also, if you are interested in their design,you can check out on-line shops,there’s a huge collection of pictures.

  8. says

    @JoAnna: The patterns are incredible. Also, I suppose it depends on budget and expectations when it comes to buying a Persian carpet. Some of the Tabriz style designs (including the ones that aren’t double-sided silk carpets) can probably be had for $500 for a decent-sized one if you bargain hard enough. Having said that, the better the design, the better the fabric, the more work, the older they are, the more astronomical in price they become. Audrey and I always seemed to be attracted to the ones that cost thousands.

    @kourosh: Yes, even after a few years, a carpet can increase in price. We were even told that some vendors walked on their carpets frequently just to wear them in and make them look older.

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *