Hassan, 59, carpet seller, decorating the courtyard in front of his shop at Tehran grand bazaar. This is sometime near the birthday of the Imam Mahdi, who disappeared in 874 A.D., and whose return the Shiites have been expecting ever since. It is one of the rare joyous celebrations of the religious calendar. The Bazaar of Tehran is the most important economic center of the whole Middle East. It is a maze of covered streets where the crowd pushes and jostles in semi-darkness, clients mingling with goods carriers providing thousands of flashy or dusty small shops. The big merchants of the Bazaar were the ones who paid for the special Air France flight that brought back the Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran on February 1, 1979, and they’ve been reaping the benefits of that investment ever since, dictating as they see fit the broad lines of Iran’s economic policies after the Revolution.
Three generations of Teheran bazaar merchants