Iran — Shopping and Leisure
The main shopping area in Tehran is the Grand Bazaar, which is a maze of alleys and storefronts. Bargaining is a must and visitors will find anything their heart desires, from carpets, jewelry and souvenirs to trinkets and more. There is a range of goods from cheap to expensive, so every visitor should be able to find what they are looking for.
A popular item to purchase in Iran is rugs, which should come as no surprise, as the country has centuries of history in the art of carpet-making or more precisely, carpet knotting. Be careful not to spend more than you're willing to, no matter what the seller says it is worth. There are valuable and antique carpets, but these cannot be identified by an average person, so it is better to stay away from the so-called "antique" carpets. If you're looking for high quality rugs, the major shops in Tehran are Azimzadeh Carpet and Shafaghi Carpet (both on Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran), which can also ship to your final destination. Silk rugs tend to be softer than wool, but tend to wear easier and are more expensive. A good rule of thumb is to look for muted colors, which shows that the yarn used was dyed naturally, rather than with chemicals, which tend to be more vibrant.
Iran is also known for its intricate and beautiful metal work and wood carving. Metal handicrafts, including intricate enamel, is popular and beautiful, and can be found at affordable prices. It is well worth shopping around to get a feel for the prices and don't forget to haggle to get a good bargain.
Visitors will also find that there are plenty of western-style shopping malls in Iran's capital and new ones are popping up every year. The main malls include the Golestan Shopping Center and Tirajeh Shopping Center. Visitors will find international brand names as well as local stores. Shopping at the malls is less intimidating than the bazaars, but expect to pay a little more since there are fixed prices.