TEHRAN – Tired of bringing home the same old magnets and postcards from your travels? On your next trip to Iran, take home something that they will not only love (or love), but which they can also put to good use.
Plus, a lot of people like to take a little something home to remember where they’ve been. Not to mention, displaying such a keepsake around the house can be a great conversation piece when you have guests.
Here are 10 awesome Iranian souvenirs to take home:
Minakari is the ancient art of painting natural patterns such as flowers and birds on the surface of metals, mainly copper. It is usually made in Isfahan.
Majority of Iranians have a sweet tooth and that is why hundreds of types of candy are produced in all corners of the country. Over the ages, the art of Minakari has fascinated many personalities, including the French traveler Jean Chardin and the American orientalist Arthur Pope. The prices are varied, so you can spend a lot or a little money on these special works of art.
Persian rugs and carpets
Handmade Persian rugs are sought after internationally for their delicate patterns and good quality. They are almost expensive but they are worth every penny.
However, if you can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can check out other types of rugs such as Gilim (Kilim) and Gabbeh (Gabba). They are both made of hand spun natural woolen yarn and the colors are created by a natural vegetable dye. Unlike rugs, they do not have plans and they are inspired by everyday events so as not to be copied.
There are some differences between Gabbeh and Gilim. These objects are found all over Iran, but the Tabriz rugs and the rugs made by the Bakhtiari and Fars tribes, have superior qualities.
Sweets, nuts and spices
Majority of Iranians have a sweet tooth and that is why hundreds of types of candy are produced in all corners of the country. Those who love sweets will be fascinated by Sohan de Qom and Gaz d’Ispahan. In addition, Iran is considered to be the center of pistachio production in the world and is the best place for foreign tourists to buy it as a souvenir. Saffron is another famous souvenir from Iran, known as red gold, and is widely used in Iranian foods and pastries. Mashhad is the main saffron producing city in Iran. Rose water is another great souvenir from Iran which is mainly produced in Kashan.
Khatam is the art of joining wooden or bone polygons with special glue. It is a very delicate art and requires many different specialists. The best types of Khatam are those with no space between polygons. The main centers of this art are Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran. Khatam items are mostly practical items, so they can be very useful keepsakes.
Turquoise is one of the Iranian souvenirs, which is not specific to Iran. But you can find one of the best types of turquoise in Iran because it is strong and hard and suitable for jewelry making.
Turquoise is the national gemstone of Iran and is centered in the city of Neishabour. So, if you have a particular taste for jewelry, be sure to visit northeastern Iran.
Iranian metallurgists are famous all over the world. Ghalamzani is an ancient ironwork that has a long history in Iran. It is the art of engraving designs on the surface of metals such as gold, silver, copper and bronze using a bar and hammer. Ghalamzani is done mainly on dishes such as vases and large plates. Artists working in this field are mainly found in Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, Kermanshah and Tehran. So if you go through central, south, east or west of Iran, you will have the chance to see these artists and their art.
Miniature is the art of drawing small pictures, which was used to decorate ancient or medieval manuscripts. It is a global art and has developed in Europe and Asia according to their different cultures. Therefore, you can see thumbnails all over the world, but it is different in each country. In Iran, the Miniature continued its development as a type of painting and some contemporary artists have worked in this field such as the famous painter Mahmoud Farshchian. There are stores all over Iran, which sell various types of paintings, including miniatures. It is therefore one of the Iranian souvenirs accessible almost everywhere.
The termh is a handmade fabric with silk thread and generally used as a tablecloth. It is expensive because of its quality, special yarn and perfect design. Nowadays, Termeh is mostly made with mechanical tools, but handmade ones are more valuable. The most beautiful pieces of Termeh can be found in the town of Yazd.
Ceramics and pottery
Pottery and ceramics are also not specific to Iran, but Persian culture and art history have specialized this art in Iran. Most Iranian cities have shops that sell pottery and ceramics. The center of this art in Iran is the city of Lalejin in Hamedan, known as the center of pottery in the Middle East. So if you want to buy small inexpensive Iranian souvenirs and care about its Persian look, pottery and ceramics are good choices.
Each city in Iran produces its own type of fabric. It is also observable in the traditional and local costumes of different cities. For example, Qalamzani is a special printing technique used in Isfahan to create Iranian designs on fabrics. Pateh, which is traditionally performed by women in Kerman, features abstract patterns on thick woolen fabrics with colorful cotton sutures. Termeh is originally from Yazd and is the art of printing paisley patterns on silk fabrics.