Flavors of Tehran in Pictures, a Photo Journey Through Iran

My passion for local markets is definitely not a secret, so could I miss such a temptation in the vibrant capital of Iran? Of course not. In my quest to capture Tehran in pictures, I wandered the streets of old and new neighborhoods, I struck up a conversation with whoever spoke a bit of English and I nibbled the local delicacies along the way.

Wandering the streets of the Iranian capital I stumbled on many mouthwatering sweets shops, countless nuts stalls and one of those local markets that give the idea of fresh produce just arrived from the countryside.

I adore dawdling about such places, it feels like soaking up in the country’s social norms and daily routine, it feels like integrating into the hosting society and identifying with the locals, and this is precisely why I try to never miss visiting such markets anywhere I go.

Tehran in pictures, a temptation of local markets, sweets shops, and royal palaces

Tehran is extremely photogenic, whether you are in the old town, in more modern areas or in its green spaces. The charming interplay of royal palaces, hectic bazaars, and beautiful parks makes it heaven for photographers and travelers who wants to bring home images of Tehran and build memories of a wonderful Iran trip.

Image: Image from a nuts shop to capture Tehran in pictures.
Nuts on display in a sweets shop in Tehran

For lovers of all things nuts and dried fruits, Iran is a blessing and its capital couldn’t disappoint. There are so many shops selling goodies that you really need to pack light for Iran so that your backpacks and suitcases will have room for all the Iran souvenirs you want to buy for yourself or your friends. Sour-seasoned pistachio, walnuts, salty and crunchy almonds, the golden sugar-saffron nabat to sweeten your tea, plumpy raisins and more are among the treats you will find in shops lined up along major roads such as cypress-lined Valiasr Street and smaller alleys, where shopping and your passion for photography will find the tastier common point.

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More nuts, I just couldn’t stop staring at them!
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Nuts are largely present in Iranian sweets, so yes, I bought tons of sweets to bring home

Among the fantastic places to see in Tehran, one that I would recommend to anyone visiting Iran for the first time, or the second, is the city’s grand bazaar. A huge market sprawling through different neighborhoods, at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar you can find just about everything from carpets to herbs and spices, to clothes to kitchen appliances.

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A glimpse of Tehran’s local market

The main Grand Bazaar is not the only market in the city, obviously. Apart from other larger markets such as the lovely Tajrish Bazaar, small markets of fruits and pistachio stalls can be found all over Tehran. Teeming with locals chattering and haggling the prices, whoever is trying to capture Tehran in pictures cannot possibly miss a jaunt at a local bazaar to have a juicy hint of the city’s and country’s soul, society, and traditions.

Image: Fruits stall at Tehran's market.
Grocery stands at the food market near a mosque in Tehran

In the fresh produce markets you can find the nuts and fruits when they are still fresh, including pistachio and berries such as sour cranberries. Local fruits, sauces, and dressings complete the scene of a colorful daily routine of Iranians grocery shopping for their homes and meals. Not only government offices, museums, historical landmarks, and palaces then, but also a busy lifestyle offers plenty of opportunities for great images from Tehran.

Image: Fresh pistachio in Tehran
Fresh pistachio anyone?
Image: Capturing Tehran in pictures and snapping fresh cranberries
Fresh cranberries, very good and super-sour, to be consumed with discretion!

Not only markets but also restaurants, small eateries, local fast-foods, and coffee shops teeming with young people all over the city and serving tea, hot chocolate, all types of soft drinks, and unhealthy, gluttonous cakes. Fat-dropping shawarma, a tall tower of pieces of meat, can be spotted almost everywhere turning around the skewer, making one of the most authentic images of Tehran you would want to build some reliable travel memories.

Image: Lamb-based shawarma in Tehran
Meat-based shawarma in the making, usually lamb.

With kebabs ever-present in the Iranian tables whether you are dining out or at home, this is also a veracious image if you want to capture the flavours of Tehran in pictures. A frame of roasted and fermented veggies accompany the mains of chicken or lamb kebab and saffron rice. Even though not the only dish on Iranian menus, this is really one of the never-missing courses.

Image: chicken kebab with saffron rice in Tehran
Our lunch of chicken kebab with saffron rice
about me: Angela Corrias
About the author

I'm Angela Corrias, an Italian journalist, photographer, and travel writer located in the heart of Italy's capital. Welcome to my website, your comprehensive source for your travels and expert guidance for crafting your dream travel experience.

78 thoughts on “Flavors of Tehran in Pictures, a Photo Journey Through Iran”

  1. Quelles photos appétissantes!Vraiment un pays à voir, et heureusement tu l’as vu de tes yeux, parce-que à en croire la mauvaise propagande en Iran il n’y a rien de beau!

  2. I am a huge fan of anything that’s colorful and I appreciate that there is a feast of colors for the eyes in these photos. I too love going to markets. I am a fan of the variety, but also because markets usually have a lot more healthier alternatives. Glad to see this is also the case in Tehran.

    • In every local market you discover some new fruit and product you didn’t know, that’s why they are so fun. And they reveal so much of a society that they are a proper must-see, just like historical monuments ;)

  3. Very vivid pix! I love street markets, I think they reflect so much about a place’s culture. I will be posting pix of North America’s largest outdoor market, Montreal ‘s Jean Talon, soon.

  4. You missed “kalleh pazi”!
    it’s a type of restaurant in Iran with a popular special food which is boiled head and hands of sheep. :) most of iranians love it but you may find it so weird.
    I’m wonder how did you miss it, you can find one of them in every part of the city with that strange smell coming from them.

    • Actually we didn’t stay too long in restaurants in Tehran, we were often at conferences, but I had sheep twice in Abyaneh. I might have missed boiled sheep in Tehran, but there is plenty in Sardinia, my hometown! :)

  5. salam ( in farsi it mean`s Hi)
    well come to my country.
    thank you beacause of your beautiful picture.
    iranian peopel are friend and kind with tourists .
    have nice time

  6. U must take some advises be4 buying in tehran, for know how to buy and where to buy. here r stores near together, one is good one is bad.

  7. These look delicious and lend a human side of normal life in Iran-not what we are accustomed to seeing on the nightly news. Thanks for sharing. I must have missed this part-what were you doing in Iran?

    • True, this trip to Iran has been a real epiphany to me, I was so worried when I arrived and I found a very chilled out society. I was invited by a local NGO for a digital media fair, that’s why I didn’t visit much, but that definitely made me want to go back :)

    • This looks delicious! I visited a Persian restaurant in Shanghai, and although I found it good, I was with an Iranian friend who said it was not proper Iranian food. Although, I have noticed a big similarity in tastes between Iranian food and the one in my hometown, Sardinia.

  8. Great insight into Tehran’s market. Love the photos and those pistachios! I’m always amazed by the kebabs in the middle east. They’re absolutely delicious and incomparable with the ones we have in London. Kebab has always been associated as a dodgy hangover food in the UK, but truth is they’re amazing in that part of the world

    • salam(persian greeting)
      as an iranian, i admit that “Kebab has always been associated as a dodgy hangover food”. it tastes more dodgy if u drink “doogh”(an iranian drink which is made of “milk” or “yogurt+water”)with it!
      Anyhow, i do recommend it!
      My special offer is shishlik kebab that its original taste is served at Shandiz (suburb town near Mashhad).

    • Unfortunately I didn’t visit Esfahan nor Shiraz. I came to Iran for a conference, so I was lucky at least I visit Qom, Kashan and Abyaneh apart from Tehran. Of course I will come back, in the hope I’ll be able to stay longer and see more places. Since everybody is suggesting north of Iran, that will be included to my travel list for sure! :)

  9. I’m so happy you visited Tehran! I LOVE Iranian food, it’s one of the things I deeply miss since moving to Egypt, there aren’t any here that I know of. But in the UK there were so many to choose from. How is Shahrazad? Please tell her I said a big hello.

    • Aww I’m not in China anymore unfortunately, I miss it so badly! Iranian food, people and places were great, I would love to go back for longer. Would love to go to Egypt too, for next year I’m planning some trips around Middle East, would be great to meet in Cairo ;)

  10. oh i do rememebr, the tour of that day… nouthwatering sweets.. your favorite “chicken kebab”.. the nuts.. the pistachio.. the cherries and on! next time devoute more time visiting iran and u are already invited to my home for some great home made persian food dearest ^_^
    hope to meet u again, take care friend!

  11. Great post, Angela. That chicken kebab at the end looks fantastic! Also, fully loving the Iranian love affair with nuts – if I could, I’d make it mandatory for them to be in every kind of sweet, chocolate or biscuit. The cranberries sound amazing, too – I love super sour fruit (I went nuts over the cherries in Turkey) so something tells me I’d thoroughly enjoy them.


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