The Grand Bazaar (in Persian language Bazar Bozorg, بازار بزرگ) is is one of Iran’s most historic and marvellous bazaars market and it is located in Isfahan, Iran. It is also known as the Qeysarriyeh Bazaar or Soltani bazaar. The bazaar is one of the oldest and largest bazaars in the Middle East and is the longest roofed market in the world. The main commercial activities in the Grand Bazaar are carpet and kilim – a word of Turkish origin, denotes a rug of many uses produced by one of several flat-weaving techniques that have a common or closely related heritage and are practiced in the geographical area-selling.
The Grand Bazaar was one of the greatest and luxurious trading center in the Safavid era, and it connects the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the most highlight isfahan tourist attraction registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the Kohneh Square and Seljukid part of Isfahan. In the Middle-East, bazaars were typically situated in close proximity to the mosque and the Isfahan bazaar is no exception. It was originally constructed during the 11th century, in 1620 on the northern side of Nasqh-e-Jahan Square, though various arcades and rooms were later added to it.
In the past, this bazaar was the centre of the city and it was also a meeting point for the locals. The site has been destroyed several times and the contemporary bazaar dates to the 17th century, when it was used as one the greatest and luxurious trading center. It was rebuilt as one of the ambitious expansion plans. The bazaar is a vaulted two-kilometre street linking the old city with the new.
Experience the bazaar
Before entering the Grand Bazaar visitors can see views of the square, which is one of the biggest squares in the entire world. This bazaar has almost 5 kilometres of shopping streets with many arches and corridors. All around the square are shops full of Persian handicrafts. It is a a maze of of madresahs, caravanserais, lanes and centres of trade such as handicraft and carpet vendors.
You can easily spend half of a day by visiting the Grand Bazaar and enjoy experiencing the lanes, smell the spices and dried dates, having some tea and, if you find the time, a local restaurant for lunch. Isfahan bazaar offers a peaceful space to see the shops and the displays inside.
The Grand Bazaar, one of the most seen sights in Isfahan, is located in downtown old Isfahan.
Photo Gallery by Thomas Gennaro 2022