Journey to the Source

Persian carpets

Traditionally bought as luxury items and used as investments to be sold off in times of need, Persian carpets are possibly Iran's most famous export - and understandably so. Since carpets have been produced here for over 2,500 years, the Iranians know a thing or two about making them.

Traditionally bought as luxury items and used as investments to be sold off in times of need, Persian carpets are possibly Iran's most famous export - and understandably so. Since carpets have been produced here for over 2,500 years, the Iranians know a thing or two about making them.

The provenance and design of each carpet is crucial. Each region produces characteristic carpets and symbolic patterns - such as lamps to indicate the sacred lamp in Mecca or dogs to ward off evil spirits - are often woven into the wool, cotton or silk. If you want the real thing, buying a good quality carpet in modern-day Iran is not as straightforward as it should be, since - due to high demand, cheaper production costs and competition from India and Turkey - many of the carpets are mass-produced by factory machines rather than woven in the traditional way by nomadic weavers and small village workshops.

So, choose carefully. According to the Lonely Planet Guide to Iran (£11.99), buying in an Iranian bazaar can be a real gamble and it's worth reading up before you go. You also need to take into account the fact that you will probably have to pay to get your carpets home - certainly if they take up more space than 12 square metres in total.

If you don't have the patience to seek out the country's small weaving centres, there are plenty of carpet-buying opportunities in Tehran. The Grand Persian Carpet Exhibition and Carpet Conference takes place in the capital each August and is a good place to buy or browse. If you can't afford the carpets here, admire them from afar at the city's famous but fairly small Carpet Museum in Lale Park, off Kargar Street. Alternatively, haggle your way with care through the carpetsellers along Ferdosi Street in Tehran Bazaar. Philippa Goodrich recently paid $300 (£190) for a good quality 3ft x 4ft carpet here.

If you bought a similarly-sized handwoven carpet back in the UK at Mansour (56 South Audley Street, London, W1, 0171-499 5602), you could expect to pay upwards of £500 so, buy in Tehran and use the £310 you save to put towards a £380 return flight from London to Tehran with Iran Air (0171- 409 0971). That way, you can use the free internal flight that comes with this ticket to go carpet-hunting further afield.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin