Persian Carpets in Tabriz Bazaar, the World’s Largest Covered Market

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Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Audrey Scott

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 Azerbaijani 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.

Tabriz Bazaar, a UNESCO site and largest covered bazaar in the world.
The old carpet area of the Tabriz Bazaar in northwest Iran.

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.

About Daniel Noll
Travel and life evangelist. Writer, speaker, storyteller and consultant. Connecting people to experiences that will change their lives. Originally from the U.S. Daniel has lived abroad since 2001 and most recently has been on the road since 2006. When he's not writing for the blog you can keep up with his adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about him on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

13 thoughts on “Persian Carpets in Tabriz Bazaar, the World’s Largest Covered Market”

  1. 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. @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. @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. 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. @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. 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. 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. @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.

    • Unfortunately you’ve called azerbaijanian carpets as Persian carpets while there are certain differences between this two kind of carpets Even if you take a research about them you’ll actually discover them, at other side , iran is a country with different ethnic areas and the Azerbaijan carpets are rarely limited to Azerbaijan provinces of iran and calling this both kinds of carpets as Persian is an unaware act And based on rasicm
      So please edit the passage.
      Thanks so much!

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