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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Persian Carpets: Definite Souvenir from Iran

Persian carpets are pretty famous across the world and are a collector’s delight. While the fine silk ones with intricate patterns cost a bit, the woollen ones with simpler designs cost lesser. If you are looking for one authentic souvenir from Iran, this has to be it. They make for great decorative accessories for your house and also as gifts. Personally, I got one for my own house and gifted one to my sister.

One can either buy these carpets from the bazaars of Iran across its many cities or from tribal people (women from the smaller desert towns and villages) who make these on their own. It will always be cheaper to procure these carpets directly from the weaver, but you will get variety to choose from at the bazaars. To give you an idea of price, a 5 feet by 3 feet silk carpet would cost upwards of USD 1500 and a similar sized one made out of wool would cost you anything from USD 100 onwards. Based on my experience with carpets from Kashmir, I found that Persian carpets were priced slightly higher than the ones at Kashmir. May be a 30% difference. But, the local people at Iran offer a counter argument that it depends on the silk. Chinese silk is the cheapest. Then Indian. And Persian silk is the most exquisite and hence the most expensive.

Carpets to choose from at the grand bazaar of Isfahan, Iran

Isfahan is the hub for most carpet bazaars, but be prepared to shell out a premium as a lot of tourists pick up their carpets from here. Shiraz, Tehran, Yazd or even Mashaad offer cheaper carpets, especially the woollen ones. But, if you have your eye on silk carpets, Isfahan is your best bet.

The thing to note with purchasing carpets with Iran is that you have to pay in cash (USD or Iranian Rials). Only some shops accept credit cards and that too charge an additional fee for it. It is best to get the silk carpets shipped directly to your country as custom officials have been known to prevent tourists from carrying silk carpets back to their own country. A similar check was carried out for me, but since I was carrying only woollen ones, they let me bring it to India.

The silk carpets are much lighter than the woollen ones and are easier to maintain. It is best to have an expert with you or at least do some background research before buying a silk carpet, which are the most expensive ones.



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