Iran Standard Time: a day at the Kerman bazzar

Merchants navigate between the lazy and business savvy – seemingly contradictory traits that define the bazaar


Kerman termeh
Pateh, embroidery on wool, is an art form that has been practiced for ages by Kermanis. Photograph: Tehran Bureau

One time in Keman, my grandmother sent me to the bazaar for cumin. I asked for a quarter of a kilo. Perched comfortably on his chair, the spice seller looked me in the eye and raised his brows in a „no“.

That’s the stereotypical Kermani attitude for you, too blasé to even speak. Trying to trump him at his own game, I pretended not to understand the gesture until he was finally forced to reply: „We don’t have any.“

I pointed to a huge sack of cumin in the back.

He grumbled like a bear deep in winter slumber. „You said you want a quarter of a kilo. You want me to get up and walk to the back and open the sack and weigh your purchase … do all that work, for a quarter of a kilo? Nope, my child, I don’t have a quarter of a kilo.“

Such incidents aren’t rare here. A merchant unwilling to rise from his seat might ask you to come back the next day when the shop is busy and he’s up anyway, or he might just ignore you – gaze through you with eyes half closed until you go away. I always react to rudeness in other circumstances, but somehow these shop owners don’t bother me. The bazaar exemplifies Kerman’s whimsical, lazy spirit, often exacerbated by the region’s avid taste for opium. (Kermanis distinguish traditional leisurely use from addiction.)

The Kerman bazaar is one of my favourite places. Not only is it beautiful – despite the fact that it is crumbling – but the spirit of the city sieves through it. Underneath brick domes, through bustling hallways, the conversations and negotiations with the shop owners give glimpses of the heart of the city, 600 miles (965 km) to the southeast of Tehran.

At the same time they are also savvy businessmen. How they negotiate these seemingly contradictory traits is part of what defines this bazaar. In Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad, the bazaars have lost their identities – the styles and attitudes that made them unique to their particular geographies and histories. In an age where their sons are no longer being trained at their sides, I often wonder what will become of this place when the old men are gone. When the last of these bazaaris leaves his shop, the spirit of this bazaar too will fade forever.

I have heard of the old bazaar district in Mashhad that was completely demolished to make way for new development under the shah despite his wife’s efforts to preserve it. And I wonder how many other places across Iran, cities and towns I’ve never heard of, had bazaars and neighbourhoods now gone without a trace.

Each section of Kerman’s bazaar leads to a courtyard, with rooms all around it. These are the caravans for which the bazaar was once known. In the old days, like hotels, they hosted travellers and itinerant merchants. The caravans were still in good shape only 20 years ago, my uncle says. Now they are in disrepair, used mostly as storage and parking spaces. The bazaar’s gorgeous blue hand-carved wooden doors are also steadily being replaced by iron ones. Mine will probably be the last generation to see a hint of what the bazaar used to be, of the life that it once breathed into the city.

The copper-making section is one of the parts of the bazaar I cherish most. Kerman copper was once an industry and an art, made manifest in the beautiful, intricate engravings on dishes from centuries past. The very fact that there are still a few copper shops left is something to be grateful for. The copper section of the bazaar in Yazd, 220 miles to the northwest, has all but disappeared.

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Four Prisoners Executed in Kerman (Southeastern Iran)

Iran Human Rights: Four prisoners were hanged in the prison of Kerman (southeastern Iran) early this morning.

According to the state run Iranian news agency Fars, three of the prisoners were convicted of participation in possession of 121 kilograms of morphine and 440 grams of opium, while the fourth prisoner was convicted of trafficking of 5475 grams of heroin and 6440 grams of opium, said the report. None of the prisoners were identified by name.

According to Iran Human Rights’ annual report on the death penalty in 2012, at least 76% of all those executed in 2012 were charges with drug related charges. IHR has received many reports on unfair trials, torture and forced confessions in the drug-related cases.

Five Prisoners among them two Afghan citizens were hanged in the prison of Zahedan, according to the website of the „Human rights and democracy activists in Iran“ (HRDAI). The report has not been confirmed by the official sources.


Iran: Hinrichtung in Kerman, 26.01.2013 / Execution of One prisoner in Kerman city of Iran. 26.01.2013

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Heute früh wurde laut der staatlich gelenkten iranischen Nachrichtenagentur Fars in Kerman ein Mann öffentlich gehängt.

Der nur mit „Yaser K.“ bezeichnete Häftling sei der Vergewaltigung schuldig gewesen. Die Hinrichtung des Mannes, dessen Alter nicht bekannt gegeben wurde, fand demnach auf dem Khajou-Platz am Morgen des 26. Januar statt.

In den vergangenen zehn Tagen gab es acht öffentliche Hinrichtungen, eine öffentliche Amputation und vier öffentlich vollzogene Auspeitschungen.

Sugar sellers, Kerman Bazaar

Traditional carpet weaving workshops in Kerman

KERMAN. June 10 (MNA) — Carpet-weaving is one of the main industries of Kerman province in the southeastern Iran. It is historically a major traditional profession for the majority of families in the city and the carpets produced there are renowned internationally.

Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Der Freitag: Ein Name, ein Leben

Im Iran gibt es zahlreiche Waisen, um die sich der Staat nicht kümmert. Einrichtungen von Privatpersonen übernehmen häufig diese Aufgabe. Zu Besuch in einem Waisenhaus

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(Alle Fotos: Kai von Rabenau)

Vor dem Autofenster zog die bizarrschöne, karge Bergwüstenlandschaft an uns vorbei. Der Himmel war wolkenverhangen. Wir waren auf dem Weg nach Bam – der alten Stadt im Südosten des Irans, die 2003 von einem Erdbeben zerstört wurde, bei dem über 30.000 Menschen ums Leben kamen. Wir wollten dort ein Waisenhaus besuchen, eines der Häuser, die Homayoun Sanati in der Tradition seines Großvaters gegründet hatte und im Rahmen einer Stiftung führte. In einem Land, das in den Achtzigern eine ganze Generation an den Krieg mit dem Irak verloren hat, sind Waisen ein großes Problem, dem der Staat nicht gewachsen ist. In der Region um Bam taten das Erdbeben und Drogen ihr Übriges.

Homayoun Sanati war ein charismatischer und warmherziger, aber vor allem auch ein pragmatischer Mann. Weil der ehemalige Händler auf dem Basar in der Provinzhauptstadt Kerman europäische und amerikanische Bücher übersetzt und auch selbst verlegt hatte, musste er nach der Revolution für fünf Jahre ins Gefängnis – wegen „Korruption der Jugend und Verbreitung amerikanischer Kultur“. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Shahzadeh Garden in Mahan, Kerman

The magnificent Shahzadeh garden, located in Kerman desert, and known as „a corner in heaven“ has been registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as one of the masterpieces of traditional gardens.

Introducing Shahzadeh garden, Mahan-Kerman

Shahzadeh Garden is located at a point 35 km from south-eastern Kerman, and at a point 6 km from Mahan, on the Kerman-Bam Road near the altitudes of Joupar. It is an Iranian garden benefiting from the best natural situation. Shahzadeh garden, Mahan has been constructed in Ghajar Era, at 11-year old sovereignty of Abdolhamic Mirza Naseroldoleh. This garden is located near the tomb of Shah Nematollah Vali on the hillsides of Joupar altitudes. Fertile soil, sufficient sunshine, mild wind, and access to Tigaran water had made it possible to construct a garden on that scale on an arid and barren land. Shahzadeh Garden is located on Joupar altitudes in an area of 5.5 hectares, in a rectangular form and slope of about 6.4%. A long fence separates it from the undesirable atmosphere of its peripherals.

Garden’s feeling

When you enter the garden, in the whole space along the main axis landscapes of Joupar altitudes are seen. This long landscape is hidden by the huge size of the main structure and is reinforced by the trees at both sides having different colors at different seasons. The water’s overall stream along the garden’s main axis and the waterfalls and their sounds, have contributed to a high quality for this axis. Tree reflections, the facade structure and the gazebo have contributed to a relaxing feel about the garden, one of peace and solitude. Light and shade play a significant role in this landscaping.

Source: Investigating the characteristics of Persian gardens: taking a close look at Mahan Shah Zadeh garden – by L. Tajaddini, Department of Architecture, Islamic Azad University-Bardsir branch, Bardsir, Iran

Das andere Iran: Kerman

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Schönheiten eines wundervollen Landes. The province of Kerman in southeast Iran offers many unique tourists attractions and each year it hosts many visitors during the Persian New Year Norouz. Kerman Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Kerman is located in the southeast of Iran with its administrative center in the city of Kerman. Mentioned in ancient times as the Achamenid satrapy of Carmania, it is the second largest province of Iran with an area of 180,726 km square. The population of the province is about 2.65 million. The main townships of Kerman province are: Baft, Bardsir, Bam, Jiroft, joupar, Rafsanjan, Zarand, Sirjan, Shahr-e-Babak, Kerman, Mahan, Rayen , Kahnuj, Ghale-Ganj, Manujan, Roodbar-e-Jonob, Anbar Abad,and Ravar.

Photos: Artist uses street installation to bring attention to the cutting of trees in Kerman

Photos by Hamid Sadeghi, Mehr News Agency

In recent weeks, many trees have been cut in the city of Kerman in southern Iran. The trees in the city have been infested with an insect which has been hard to eradicate, and thus they have sustained substantial damage. According to the municipality, the trees are being cut to prevent spread of the disease and to potential damages or injuries in case they fall. (read report – in Persian)

However, some are blaming the city for being too aggressive in cutting the trees and for not having proper plans to deal with the sick trees. To bring attention to the issue, a Kermani artist (unnamed) has become creative and used the trunks of the cut trees to create an eye-catching installation in the streets of Kerman.

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