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

Tabriz Bazaar, a UNESCO site and largest covered bazaar in the world.

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.

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Traveling to Iran as Americans: All You Need to Know

Traveling to Iran as an American citizen may sound complicated and dangerous. It’s not. We’re here to dispel the myths and answer the questions piling up in our inbox about visas, safety, and other concerns based on our visit to Iran.

Our aim in the following Q&A is to answer actual reader queries and to help demystify the process of traveling to Iran, especially for Americans.

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Iran: A Poem to the People

This is a story of a woman I met on a train in Iran and a letter she wrote to me — a letter I now read through tears.

My heart sank as I watched the news from Iran this morning, scenes of the British Embassy being charged by an angry mob in Tehran. It saddens me – angers me, really – that narrow groups like this who define the world’s perception of Iran and the Iranian people are in reality such a small percentage of the country's population.

My experience tells me they are the outliers, yet circumstances conspire to convince us on the outside to see them as the norm.

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Western Iran Shapshots and Experiences

We apologize for the silence on our blog over the last week. Our travels across Iran, while rich and deeply fulfilling, have teamed up with slow and censored internet, a blistering pace of full days that end late, and an attempt to process it all that feels like a slow drip.

Now that we've dispensed with the excuses, we offer a few snapshots of our journey to not-so-traveled Western Iran — Hamadan, Kermanshan, and Ahvaz — where our path through the country begins.

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A Flight to Tehran: The Full Story

What does it feel like to travel to Iran, to fly into the country for the first time? Here’s the story of our flight to Tehran including some things you might expect, and some others you might not.

Destination: TEHRAN. I ogle my boarding pass at the departure gate in Istanbul. We bought the tickets months before, all easy enough. So easy in fact that we wondered if the day of our flight would actually ever come; a rejected visa application snatching it all away in a breath.

But our Iranian visas were approved and there we were waiting to board a plane — our plane — to Tehran.

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