If you are planning a trip to Iran, you may be thinking what you should buy as souvenirs from this country. A lot of us like to bring something home as a reminder of our travels. Not to mention that many believe souvenir shopping to be one of the most delightful activities one can experience during vacations. Iran has a rich art heritage and is full of shops displaying beautiful handicrafts all made by local artists. That’s why it’s easy to end up feeling confused by the number of options when it comes to shopping from Iran! As a Souvenirs Festival will be held on 10th of December in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari province, we decided to jot down a list of souvenirs to introduce the famous items that most travelers choose to bring back home from this country!
Souvenirs for Foodies!
If you are looking for something tasty, small and easy to carry to bring home from Iran, this list is for you! You can find most of them in Tehran bazaars and souvenir shops but we suggest you to buy each of them from the city of its origin for better price and more authentic feel.
Gaz: the Famous Iranian Nougat
Made of egg whites, rosewater, almond and pistachios, this heavenly sweet candy is one the best choices for every traveler who wants to buy one of the yummy souvenirs of Iran.
Gaz is mostly famous as the sweet of Isfahan. Strolling through the grand bazaar of Isfahan and testing different sweets while chatting with welcoming locals are part of your trip to this beautiful city for sure. So take your time and visit a few pastry shops in this city. We bet you won’t leave Isfahan without a pack of Gaz in your suitcase!
Don’t forget the Pistachios!
Nuts make for the most popular souvenirs of Iran. In fact, they are one of the main treats in every Iranian family’s home. Pistachios of Iran are not something to miss out on when buying edible souvenirs in this country. They come in different shapes and have a wide range to choose from. Such as salty, dried and raw pistachios. The raw ones come in soft outer shells that are easily removed. They are not dried or roasted and have a sweet and fresh taste which is very popular among Iranians. Compared to other countries, pistachios are quite affordable in Iran. So make sure you buy some while traveling across this country!
Indulge in Baghlava (Baklava) of Yazd
Iranian Baghlava is a sweet pastry mainly found in Yazd pastry shops and contains pistachios, almonds, saffron, honey and rosewater. It is usually served as a dessert with tea and is known as one of the most popular sweets of Iran.
Make sure you try some Ghottab!
Ghottab is another popular pastry from Yazd. This dumpling-like sweet is made of almonds, cardamom and rosewater and has a nutty texture. It is usually served with tea and makes for a perfect treat for any party and gathering.
Binge on Smooth and Sweet Persian Cotton Candy
It turns out that Yazd is a heaven for those with a sweet tooth! Pashmak is another pastry that is made in Yazd. It is made from sugar, flour, oil and cardamom and is available in different colors. Don’t miss the pleasure of feeling it melting in your mouth. So make sure you give it a try!
Khorma (date) from South of Iran
If you travel to the southern cities of Iran, you’ll get amazed by the many different types of dates there exist! You can find these sweet fruits in different shapes and colors which are all very tasty. Some of them are fresh and some are dried. The dried ones can be kept for a long time and are often served as an alternative to sugar cubes with black tea.
Saffron: the Red Gold of Iran
It works like pixie dust to Persian cuisines! Saffron plays a huge role in the kitchen of every Iranian family! If you are a fan of Saffron, you have to buy it while you’re in Iran because the best quality Saffron is found in this country and you won’t find a more affordable one in any other place!
Mashahd is the city which is mostly known for high quality Saffron but you can find it in other cities as well.
Iran Souvenirs for the art lover
After tasting a lot of tasty pastries and buying some from the bazaars of Iran, you may want to go for a bit of art hunting. Iran is a country with amazing handicrafts and art techniques that date back to the ancient times. If you are an art admirer and are looking for some handicrafts, have a look at the following list!
Exotic Persian Carpets
Who doesn’t love these elegant masterpieces? Persian carpets are pure works of art that have become an integral of Iranian household decoration, literally, you can find beautiful carpets in every Iranian household! Not to mention that some of them are very expensive and are regarded as luxurious household items. Handmade carpets, all woven with love, are one of the most famous souvenirs of Iran. The patterns, colors and the softness will leave you just astonished. Even if you don’t want to buy a carpet, wandering in carpet bazaars and watching that much beauty is a great experience that you should not miss in your trip to Iran.
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Delicious pastries are not the only famous souvenirs of the city of Yazd! Termeh is another thing that travelers fall in love with during their visit to this city. It’s a luxurious handwoven cloth that is available in different colors and designs in bazaars and souvenir shops . Although Termeh is mainly used as tablecloth, it is also used in making bags, shoes, cushion covers and bedclothes. You can also find this ancient handicraft in the form of wall decorations. If you are willing to give a Persian twist to your household decoration without paying a large amount of money on Persian carpets, Termeh is the one to go for.
The Delicate Persian Enamel (Minakari)
As you walk along Isfahan’s souvenir shops, you get amazed by beautiful vases and bowls featuring exquisite floral designs that are known as Minakari. They are mostly found in blue but green and red ones are also popular. These Iranian handicrafts will give a Persian aura to your living room and will remind you of the wonderful time that you spent in Isfahan.
Ancient Pesian Inlaying (Khatamkari)
Khatamkari refers to the Persian version of the art of marquetry which includes decorating the surface of wood or metal with pieces of wood, bone or metal. It’s interesting to know that in the Safavid era, Khatamkari was known as the art of the royal family. Princes and princesses used to learn it from the experts of this art alongside learning music, painting or horse riding.
You can find a wide range of items with Khatamkari decorations during your visit to Iran such as jewelry boxes, chess boards or clocks.
Marvelous art of Ghalamkari
Another famous handicraft that you can find in Isfahan, Ghalamkari is an Iranian art of painting on cloth. As the patterns painted in Ghalamkari are very similar to those common in Persian tilework, a lot of tourists choose to buy at least one table cloth with ghalamkari to take back home as a reminder of Persian domes. Although the Ghalamkari art of Isfahan is very famous, you can find excellent items In Kashan, Tabriz and Rasht too.
Take Your Time!
Although choosing the right souvenir can seem confusing at some point, it is a very fun and delightful activity that most travelers enjoy doing. The good news is that most Iranian shopkeepers are very welcoming and patient and let you take as much time as you need to choose your perfect item. Whether it’s a delicious pastry, an awe-inspiring handmade carpet or a rosewater sprinkler with Minakari, you must buy something that has an Iranian spirit and reminds you of your trip!
The most exciting thing about souvenir hunting in Iran is that in some handicraft shops, you can watch the craftsmen and craftswomen working on their pieces of art. This is a very precious experience. Even if you’re not willing to bring anything home from Iran, spend some time among the handicraft shops as an observer and enjoy the atmosphere!