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Tehran's Famous Flower Market

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

One of my all time favorite films is My Fair Lady and my favorite scene is the flower market in the early morning hours. So a few days ago we booked a taxi for about 5 a.m. I had decided to make my long term wish come true and go to see one the two famous Tehran flower markets.

Flowers are a part of daily life in Iran and especially in Tehran. There are a huge number of flower shops, big and small, here. I love flowers and love to have them around the house, yet I have always been averse to buying them for myself as they are rather dear and to me seem an unnecessary extra except for special occasions, friends and family.

We were up and ready to go by 5.15, and soon after the taxi arrived to take us for a long drive around the unbelievably quiet almost car-free highways from north Tehran down toward the south east. Even at that early hour and despite the fact that our driver, Mr. Amir-Taher knew his way around well, and drove quite fast - he had once been a racing driver - it took us over an hour to get there. The fact that he knew where to go was a condition when I booked the taxi the night before, simply because I did not have a clue except that it is on the south east of Tehran.

So we drove down Modarres, east into Sadr, then down around Lavizan Park and then east again and then got to the South Terminal and Afsariyeh expressway, passed Baseji Square, towards Mashhad road (Imam Reza Highway) and just after Tambakouyeh we arrived at what is known as the Imam Reza Flower market, where you feel as if you can almost touch Bibi-Shahbanou mountain which seems so close and because of pollution we hardly see it from the north of Tehran, patiently waiting to be appreciated. There is another flower market, we were told, at Pirouzi Avenue in east Tehran.

I do not know what I expected, but I assure you firstly it is a jolly pleasurable experience and secondly I bet that you cannot come home empty-handed no matter how much you resist. If you need a lot of flowers for any special occasion it is definitely worth one's while to go there. We simply filled up the trunk of the car, and spent only around 22000 tomans ($23).

At the flower market, I talked to several people who worked there. Many of the businessmen who have a stand there have their own flower gardens near Tehran, in Garmsar, Varamin or even as far away as Isfahan and Mahalat the flower center of Iran, one told me. The market is open from 4 a.m. until 10 a.m. but many of the big buyers had already left by the time we arrived at 6:30.

There are many errand boys who carry the purchased flowers to the cars of the flower shop owners. It is a predominately a male business. I think besides myself there I only saw two other ladies, one was burning esphand to keep the bad spirits away, if you paid her something, and there was one lady buyer.

Maybe it is because in their business they have to get up so early and so see the best part of the day. I found the people who work there mostly positive, camera friendly and active. Many of them were reading newspapers that they would use to wrap the flowers in later. The market seemed quite active, although not terribly tidy and clean. There were several large open sheds where the flowers were put on display wrapped ready for the customers to choose.

There were so many gerberas, tulips, roses, carnations, lilies, irises, gardenia and camellias as well as many others. I was so touched by seeing all these lovely flowers of all colors and so many choices. We bought so much that for the first time in my whole life I had enough flowers to fill all the flower vases in the house. It was so great and gave me such a pleasure and feeling of love and peace.

Jaye shoma khali (your places were empty)

I have a few pictures of this lovely place for you to share.

... Payvand News - 6/18/07 ... --

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