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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
78 thoughts on “Flavors of Tehran in Pictures, a Photo Journey Through Iran”
Great photos! I had no idea that nuts were so popular in Tehran.
Very popular, they used them everywhere, especially in their sweets.
Fab photos, right there with you. Love Iranian food. Even the sweets are healthy… or at least, healthier.
Very tasty, their sweets are healthy, although maybe not healthy for teeth :P
Well, the market would be the first place we headed for, too. What a lovely set of photos – they’ve certainly tempted me! :)
Thanks Julia, it was a temptation indeed, and I admit I didn’t really resist, I tried and bought a little of everything :)
Yummmmm I love market photos! How cool. I wish we had more of a market culture in the US.
The market in Tehran was very nice, I wish I visited more, everywhere I go I always visit local markets!
wow ! Excellent… :)
Thanks dear, hope you are well :)
Thanks, you too :)
Well you just made me hungry. The pistachios and shawarma particularly take my fancy.
LOL I’m pretty positive you would absolutely love Iranian sweets. And food in general for that matter, it’s so diverse and tasty that it’s pretty easy to like!
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!
C’est vrai, il faut y aller pour voire…
Sono in piena confusione! Dunque l’Iran è un paese come tanti altri, cioè bello, interessante, da vedere e da gustare!
Ovvio, bellissimo, e normale! :D
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 ;)
Mouthwatering! I love exploring markets, it’s probably the first place you find me upon arrival.
Me too, and I buy tons, much more inspiring than anonymous store chains ;)
So … if you go to Yazd with its tasty traditional sweets and to Isfahan … what would you say???
I don’t know really, I might just move to Iran :P
Fantastic, but this post should have a warning–do not gaze while hungry.
lol You’re right, and we did make the mistake to gaze while hungry, maybe that’s why I bought so much :)
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.
True, I love local markets for the very same reason, they reveal much of their culture. Looking forward to your pictures of Montreal’s market!
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! :)
Nice pictures Angela! Reminds me very much of street markets in India. Must’ve been a lovely experience walking through the streets of Tehran!
Yes, in India too street markets are very colorful, I loved them!
Mouth-watering stuff! I love the street markets (you already know that!) :)
Yes I know, we should go to some street market together ;)
Cagliari ahoy! :D
.. or maybe London? :)
LOL! Or maybe India?? :P
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
Thanks Mohammad, beautiful country and beautiful people :)
hey, watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v_7-RNXVrk&feature=player_embedded
Ha! This is not fair, I haven’t visited Isfahan and I felt bad enough, now you are luring me back to Iran :P
u r welcome to ir iran.
Thanks Ahmad :)
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.
For sure if I have to buy I would go with locals so that they can suggest best places and products, but this time I didn’t really go for buying, more just for taking pictures :)
oh. u have missed the Bazaar? i mean Great bazaar (behind of these stroes)
This is the bazaar I visited, we didn’t really have the time to go beyond the surface. Unfortunately it was the last day and we saw as much as we could..
wow such interesting market. Love the colors too, they’re so vibrant
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 :)
check this out :)
check this out :)
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.
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
True, they’re delicious, I’ve had kebab many times in Iran and also in Abu Dhabi, love it :)
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).
Thank you Mohammad, I’ll surely take a taste where you suggested next time I come to Iran :)
welcom to iran but once again com to qom :d
Thanks Mohsen, I did go to Qom, but very very quickly just to see the shrine, where I couldn’t take any picture. Next time I’ll make sure to stop longer in Qom and in the whole region :)
very nice !!!
Glad you like them, thanks for stopping by! :)
Did you visit Isfehan and Shiraz?if you didnt you should back and see…and also north of Iran.
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! :)
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 ;)
i love markets – great food and photo opportunities. Would love to try Iranian food – have never had.
Iranian food is delicious, very similar to the one we have here in Sardinia, although they use more spices.
Thanks for stopping by!
These market pictures are great! I think they really capture an essence of Iran!
True, I wish I had traveled more, hopefully I’ll be back soon!
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!
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.
Yeah, I would say you won’t have any trouble with food in Iran ;)
Re-posting this piece, you are making me to go to fork my bank account out for those tempting nuts!
Lol Mojtaba! You live in Tehran, you can go whenever you like ^_^