Iran is a great place to buy souvenirs and you will find it hard not to indulge yourself. In fact, due to its very old civilization, rich cultures and also the geographical location has an important role in the world arts and crafts. Iranian souvenirs are artisanal handicrafts unique to each city and made with lots of love. While walking through the bazaars is a feast for the eyes, it can become overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Mass production is not common, prices are low and the quality is generally high, even at the budget end of the market. Naturally, the bazaar is the best place to start looking, although much of what is on sale in places like Kerman, Kashan, and Hamadan is more likely to suit local tastes. Conversely, in places like Isfahan and Shiraz where foreign tourists are more common, the goods may be more inviting. Various places in Iran specialize in specific products. Often, knowing the best place to buy something is as important as getting a good price. Iranian souvenir is varied in many different types from food and drinks to clothing or handicraft. Here is a list of the most important ones:
The best known Iranian cultural export, the Persian carpet, is far more than just a floor covering to an Iranian. A Persian carpet is a display of wealth, investment and integral part of religious and cultural festivals and used in everyday life, e.g., as a prayer mat.
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The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow, and it was mentioned as far back as 1500 B.C. in many classical writings, as well as in the Bible. Saffron is one of the few things that truly are worth its weight in gold. Its botanical name is crocus sativa and been introduced as the most expensive spice in the world.
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Iran’s pistachio as an exclusively Iranian fruit is one of the best pistachios in the world. Even today, with the introduction of the product from some other countries, Iranian pistachio still ranks first in the international market thanks to its rich taste, unique way of processing, nutritive attributes and the eye-catching appearance that has made it famous worldwide as smiling pistachio.
Iran Tile Working
Although the art of enameled brick making dates back to 3500 years before, the works remaining since the Achaemenid time made 500 Be and the enameled bricks with particular designs narrate the Iranian science on this art. Long after, in particular, during the Islamic periods, this art was used through new applications along with new designs and various methods as golden colored and seven colored inlaid works (Mo-arragh as it is called in Persian).
A miniature is a richly detailed miniature painting which depicts religious or mythological themes from Iran. These delicate, lush paintings are typically visually stunning, with a level of detail which can only be achieved with a very fine hand and an extremely small brush. Once you visit Esfahan, you realize that it’s a city concerned with aesthetic beauty, so it’s no wonder that many handicrafts come from there. One of the most famous is Minakari or enamel work. Copper surfaces are traditionally decorated by a fine-haired brush with miniature birds and floral patterns on a background which is most commonly azure, though green and red can also be found. Minakari comes in plates, vases, chalices, and other decorative items, and it’s not uncommon to see artists hard at work creating new pieces in the old section of Isfahan’s bazaar.
The silverworks discovered in Sialk mounds belonging to the fourth millennium BC indicates that the people of this area of Iran had been familiar with silver and making handicrafts with. The engraved designs on silver left by the artists of the past are indicative of national morale and the phenomena of their time. It is believed that silver dishes and trinkets would be exported to pc other countries in Sassanid and Seljuk periods. As you wind your way through Esfahan’s bazaar towards the sounds of steady banging, artists engaging in metal engraving will come into view. The art of Ghalamzani involves skilled craftsmen embossing gold, silver, bronze, and copper to create elaborate designs on trays, plates, vases, and silverware. What could make this souvenir even more memorable is that you might pick up a personalized piece that the artist just finished?
Iran Ceramics & Pottery
Ceramic Industry is one of the oldest industries in the world. The first ever-excavated ceramic objects belonging to 10 to 12 thousand years ago were explored in Zagros mountain range in Iran that indicate a long and shining history in it. Archeological studies in Iran have shown that pottery in Iran has a history as old as 8,000 years. A visit to the National Museum of Iran will tell you that pottery has had a long history in the country and dates back even before the Persian Empire. These days, cities like Lalejin, Meybod, and Natanz keep this age-old tradition alive with hand-painted dishes and mugs. Decorative objects made in typical Persian forms like pomegranates, horses, and birds will be the ones that truly remind you of Iran.
It is one of the finest handicraft artworks of Iran. The oldest specimen obtained so far belongs to the Safavids period. Iran of today is the most important center of the inlaid work in the world. The materials used in the construction of inlaid articles can be in gold, silver, brass, aluminum and twisted wire. Artworks with smaller inlaid pieces are generally more highly valued. Khatam Kari is the Persian art of marquetry. Fine pieces of wood, bone, and metal are inlaid to create all kinds of decorative objects including jewelry boxes, picture frames, backgammon boards, and others. While some are pure khatam Kari, others have miniatures painted on the top, another typical form of Iranian art. These make great gifts for friends although you’ll probably want one for yourself, too.
Calligraphy is the calligraphy of the Persian writing system. It has been one of the most revered arts throughout Persian history. It is considered to be one of the most eye-catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.
The Iranian caviar as the best caviar in the world is a very lucrative export good of Iran, with roughly half being collected from sturgeons near Bandar –e torkaman. Its tiny grey pearls make the ever body’s eyes sparkling. One tastes it “like a sea candy, filled with iodine and powdered with mystery” (Robert Court line).
Another important and most valuable handicraft, which has a worldwide reputation, is Kilim, a double-sided flat-woven mat without knots. These rugs are thinner and softer than knotted carpets and rarely used as floor coverings. They are popular as prayer mats and wall hangings. It goes without saying that buying a Persian rug means scoring the ultimate souvenir. Even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge and splurge on pure silk or wool-silk blend rug, you could shop for something smaller and more affordable like a kilim, or try a wool ottoman or pillow covers in tribal patterns which can easily be flattened in your suitcase and filled at home. Be sure to check out our guide to buying the perfect Persian carpet in case you need a little more help.
The city of Neyshabur in the northwestern part of Iran is not just famous for the poet Omar Khayyam, but also for the purity of its turquoise. Just outside this town are mined from which this precious stone is extracted, then shaved and shaped into pendants, rings, and other jewelry. Turquoise is also used in art forms such as firoozeh koob, the art of hammering small pieces of turquoise into copper. In Persian culture, turquoise is said to have healing properties, detoxify the body, and protect against the evil eye. Shades of blue are omnipresent in Iranian mosques and palaces, and turquoise is a way to take it back home.
There are many cultivations of tea in different cities in the North of Iran. Tea is the right option for being the souvenir. Tea is the good drink for refreshment and brewed it with sour orange, cardamom, cinnamon as the additive has properties.
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If you want to know more about Iran Art you can read this article as well: Iran’s Art and handicrafts industry