There are cities we walk for days in search for their soul and others we don’t. Tehran belongs to the latter. We came here to rest, to collect visas, to heal from the Iranian madness hiding behind the walls of Nima and Saide’s nest and occasionally escaping to one of the city parks for a rush of fresh air. We could not bear any more tourism or any “must sees”, but trusting our hosts we adventured to follow them to Saide’s favourite shopping spot: Jomeh (Friday) Bazaar – a jumble of antique, old and new stuff neatly organized in the five floors of a parking that serves as market just one day per week.
Swirling up and down crowded corridors. Talking to people in between docens of curious looks. Being pushed and smashed while trying to take any reasonable photos. And finally being told off by some policeman or another for photographing something that must have been forbidden. Jomeh bazaar is a market lovers paradise with all its consequences. In between the old and the new stuff, a few stalls called our attention. Young people among the tired faces of pricey antiques, several varieties of junk, homeware, the unmissable shah teapots and shisha and nomad tribal imitations. Some were into fashion, some others produced accessories, and even unknown artifacts seemed to come out of their minds or hands. But they shared something, maybe the willingness to live from their craft, maybe the confident look and hopes for one more successful Friday. With little time to speak in the market haze, their stories are minimalistic, but their tiny creations speak for themselves.
Motahharh and Ali Rajee | They forgot to send us a link to their page, do you know them?
A sister and a brother. She said she studied architecture and sculpture and started crafting wood pieces with her brother in their free time. They work together and stand together on Friday’s bazaaar with an original display of animals, cars, robots and accessories.
Farzane Accesories | Facebook
She studied design and believes that it springs out of her fingerprints. Her tiny stall gathers carefully made details to further adorn Iranian beauty. We loved her earrings, bracelets, all. There is something in the simple way she mixes colours. But by this time our stock of Rials was nearing zero and just one lucky pair of ears from the ten that take part in Snail Trails will get to wear them this summer.
Zigzag kilim | facebook
Mohammed Reza brings the beauty of kilim weaving from the villages to the city in his own mini-colourful-version. We had spent some days checking out the art of weaving kilims in big version and fell in love with his designs, so we could not resist looking for his shop in the busy streets of Tehran.
- The Jomeh Bazaar or Friday market is held in the multi-storey carpark on the east side of Jomhuri Avenue
- Timetable: every Friday, 9am-4pm
- Metro: Saadi station (line 1)
- At the entrance / exit of the bazaar you can enjoy the most delicious cold doogh we have tasted in 48 days. Enjoy!
This post is part of the series Snail Trails – Handmade in Asia – a roving initiative to document, collect and share crafts from the places we pass by and the artisans we meet on our way East. Because there is a life behind the souvenirs and we are curious to see what it looks like. If you also want to know more click here for artisan’s and craft stories.