BĀZĀR ii. Organization and Function



ii. Organization and Function

1. Rural market.

Both weekly market days and regular fairs occurred in pre-Islamic times. Among the latter, for example, was the bāzār of Māḵ in Bukhara (Naršaḵī, p. 29, tr. Frye, pp. 20-21). There was an annual fair in Ṭawāyes, a borough of Bukhara: “In former times there used to be a fair for ten days in the season of the month of Tīr. The nature of that fair was such that all defective goods, such as curtains, covers (barda wa sotūr; actually “slaves and horses”), and other goods with defects, were sold in this fair. There was no way or means to return goods in the fair, for neither the seller nor the buyer would (return or) accept them back on any condition. Every year more than 10,000 people came to this fair, both merchants and buyers. They even came from Ferghāna, Chāch and other places, and returned with much profit” (Naršaḵī, tr. Frye, p. 13, text p. 17). There was a bimonthly village fair in Varaḵšā (Faraḵšā), another borough of Bukhara: “In this village there is a market every fifteen days. When the market is at the end of the year they hold it for twenty days. The twenty-­first day they celebrate New Year’s day and they call it the New Year’s day of the farmers. The farmers of Bokhara reckon from that (day) and count from it” (Našaḵī, text p. 25, tr. Frye, p. 18 [slightly incorrect]). According to Adam Mez, in early Islam markets were only held on certain days, such as the Tuesday market in East Baghdad. Also in ʿAskar Mokram (Ḵūzestān) a Friday market was held (Mez, p. 452; see also Le Strange, Lands, p. 177). Often these fairs were known by the name of the month in which they were held. These types of markets were mainly rural and of a regional nature. They, of course, also were important for urban traders, who went there to sell and/or buy wares. Such rural markets continued throughout Iranian history down to the present day. In many ways they had a function similar to that of the urban bāzār, though less clearly differentiated. For, apart from their purely economic purpose, these markets presented occasions for celebration and for organizing other social functions. In Perrīm in Deylamān, for example, “Every fifteen days a market day is held there, and from all the region men, girls, and young men come there dressed up, frolic, organize games, play on string instruments, and make friends. The custom of this province is such that each man who loves a girl, beguiles her, carries her away, and for three days does with her as he likes. Then he sends some one to the father of the girl that he should give the girl in marriage” (Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, tr. Minorsky, p. 136). Similar social functions are found in contemporary rural Iran, as detailed studies on northern Iran in particular have shown. These rural bāzārs, in addition to their purely economic function, still provide opportunities to meet people, to exchange news, to select partners, to make merry and organize games (e.g., wrestling), and to commemorate important religious events. In the past, they were also the settings for dealing with intervillage conflicts and for collecting taxes (for more information see A. Ḵosravī, Rāhnamā-ye ketāb 9/1-2, 2535 = 1355 Š./1976, pp. 20-29).

2. Urban market.

Because the role of the bāzār has not fundamentally changed throughout the history of Iran, the following discussion is analytical rather than chronological in nature. The urban bāzār was the central business district of the cities in the Iranian cultural area. But it was far from being just a marketplace. The bāzār was and is a social institution, comprising religious, commercial, political, and social elements. The bāzār is the center par excellence of personal transactions, commerce, and communication in urban life; thus one needs to under­stand the bāzār’s function within its context, the city. In Iran, the city forms a political, commercial, cultural, and religious center for its hinterland. The bāzār has played a very important role in this relationship, reflecting the character of the Muslim city. The unity of the Muslim town was not civic, but functional. There was a rigid allocation of space for public purposes, divorcing the place of public activities and business from the place of residence. The latter was the arena of private life, epitomized by the uninviting narrow streets and by the orientation of private houses away from the streets. Moreover, the city quarters reflected the segre­gation by religion, ethnic group, occupation, and wealth. The occupants of the several quarters would meet regularly but in the bāzār and mosques; in the bāzār the minorities might have their place, but separated from their Muslim colleagues. Also, public places such as the bāzār were looked after by the government, which saw to it that the moḥtaseb or dārūḡa controlled people’s behavior in public and had the bāzārs cleaned and guarded at night (Ebn Oḵowwa, pp. 7-14; Grune­baum, pp. 141-158; Hourani and Stern, pp. 42-46).

Spatial organization. The morphology of the bāzār is easily described, and its similarity to the markets of classical antiquity has been pointed out by many writers. As in pre-Islamic times the three major functions (government, religion, and commerce) were in close proximity to one another in the Muslim Iranian city. However, the original layout of the cities in the Iranian cultural area was somewhat different from the classical situation in western Asia. The marketplace was often outside the walls of the city proper or šahrestān (q.v.). This situation persisted in many Iranian cities until the 5th/11th century. Around that time the center of urban life gradually passed from the šahrestān to the suburb (rabaż) where the bāzār was located. The cities of Jaxartes province were exceptions to this general rule, for there the bāzār, together with the citadel and Friday mosque, was inside the city walls before the 4th/10th century (Le Strange, Lands, pp. 475, 477-79, 481, 484-85). After the 4th/10th century the suburbs of the city also were circumvallated, though this had taken place in Qom even earlier (see Spuler, p. 287). Another early instance is that of Baghdad, where the caliph al-Manṣūr decided to relocate the markets, which were originally inside the new round city; he had them transferred to Karḵ, a suburb which had constituted a commercial center since pre-Islamic times, and thus restored the status quo ante (Lassner, p. 116).

The bāzār, often on a linear plan, was near the main thoroughfares leading to and from the main city gates (e.g. Nīšāpūr as described by Eṣṭaḵrī, apud Barthold, tr. Soucek, p. 97). The Friday mosque, the royal or gubernatorial palace (kāḵ) or citadel (qaḷʿa, arg), and the bāzār formed a triad and were the foci in each city. Since the 4th/10th century this configuration was found in most if not all big cities, such as Isfahan, Kermān, Yazd, Tabrīz, Mašhad, Shiraz, Ardabīl, Hamadān, Sūš, Ker­mānšāh, Nīšāpūr, Marv, Herāt, Kabul, Balḵ, Bukhara, and Samarqand (Le Strange, Lands, pp. 168, 180, 187, 197, 240, 266, 301, 349, 379, 384, 399, 408, 420, 461, 464). The early central bāzārs were often without roofs; however, a roofed bāzār existed in Samarqand around 950 a.d. (Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, tr. Minorsky, p. 113), while in Yahūdīya (near Isfahan) there were both roofed and open bāzārs (Le Strange, Lands, p. 203). In general, they were linear market streets up to one mile long. Arab geographers noted that the bāzārs were mostly well stocked, clean, and pleasant to be in; some were two stories high and others could be closed by gates (Le Strange, pp. 194, 204, 336, 446; Nāṣer Ḵosrow, Safar-­nāma, p. 138). In its later form the center of the bāzār was typically a vaulted brick beehive structure. Holes in the roof provided light and ventilation for the occupants. The better parts of the bāzār, in general, were also covered, but only in the most exclusive parts were domed roof used. Parts of the bāzār complex even looked like ordinary shopping streets. Some bāzārs such as those in the Caspian area and the pre-1305/1880 Tabrīz bāzār had very little roofing (Schweizer, pp. 32f.; Wirth, 1971-72).

The central bāzār developed into a complex of streets, lanes, sarāys, bathhouses, mosques, and madrasas. The buildings on transverse connecting streets, which were called rāst or rāsta (quarters), were one or two stories high and included retail shops (called maḵzan in the early period, later dok[k]ān) adjacent to manufacturing stalls (kār-ḵāna). This was often reflected in such names as 13th/19th-century Tabrīz’s rāst-e Bāzār-e Jadīd and rāsta-ye Bāzār-e Qadīm (Schweizer, p. 40) and Kermānšāh’s Bāzār-e rāsta-ye Rajab-ʿAlī Ḵān and Bāzār-e rāsta-ye Kal Ḥasan Ḵān (Rabino, p. 5). These rāstas were connected to one another by means of ḵāns, caravanserais, dālāns (passageways or cul-de-sacs), and tīmčas (shopping arcades; see Gaube and Wirth, pp. 101-03). The caravanserais were used as warehouses, for wholesale trade, as business offices, as hostelries, and for manufacturing, functions which probably date back to Sasanian times (Pigulevskaya, p. 160).

Caravanserais were initially known as ḵāns (probably originally ḵān-anbār) and in Transoxiana as tīms (Mo­qaddasī, p. 31; Mez, p. 452); it was only after around 390/1000 that the term kārvānsarā (see caravansaries) came into use (Spuler, p. 427 n. 15). The early ge­ographers mention the existence of ḵāns, which were also called dārs (e.g., in Kāzerūn: Mez, p. 452 and Le Strange, Lands, pp. 215, 266) and which were covered and could be closed so that expensive goods could be stored in them. A special development was that of the qayṣarīya, a superior caravanserai, in general a very large, luxurious, and secure market hall, where only the best and most expensive goods were stored and traded. It is certain that the qayṣarīya was developed from the Byzantine basilica. (The term qayṣarīya is perhaps derived from Caesarea, a town in Asia Minor, but the history of the term is not known.) The tīmča or shopping arcade in general is a smaller type of caravan­serai, but devoted mainly to retail trade. A ḵān could be small, but generally it was a big building with a large courtyard. Here camels could enter, be unloaded or loaded, and stabled. The first story often was devoted to wholesale trade (warehouses), while the second story often served as offices (ḥojra). An uncovered bāzār lane was called goḏar (Bakhtiar, pp. 320f.; Najmī, pp. 51-53). Where two or three market streets intersected, a new localized busi­ness center, called čahār-sū (crossroads), came into being. Depending on its location, such a crossroads bāzār could become the economic heart of that part of the city, as, for example, in Herat (English), Lār (Wirth, p. 255), and Ardabīl (Le Strange, Lands, p. 168). Such crossroads bāzārs were not uncommon, as is attested by the frequent occurrence of čahār-sū in the nomenclature of Iranian cities. In Isfahan alone we know of sixteen čahār-sūs (Honarfar, p. 998; Gaube and Wirth, p. 295).

Bāzārs in general also were adjacent to large open spaces, meydāns, as was true of the earliest bāzārs in Kermān, Karaj, Zarand, Nīšāpūr, Bukhara, and Samarqand (Jaʿfarī, p. 25; Le Strange, Lands, pp. 197, 308, 384, 461, 464, 478-84). The most striking example is that of the Naqš-e Jahān (Meydān-e Šāh) in Isfahan, one of the most beautiful malls in the world (for aerial views, see Gaube and Wirth, pl. 4). But similar malls, albeit less attractive, were also to be found in other cities, such as Tabrīz, Shiraz, Kermānšāh, etc. Here often an open­-air market was held, either daily, as in Isfahan in the 11th/17th century, or weekly. Such weekly bāzārs were also organized in other parts of a city, such as the Bāzār-­e Kohna in Isfahan and Jolfā (Taḥwīldār, p. 114; Wills, p. 142).

Some of these bāzārs were quite large, well constructed, and crowded (Jaʿfarī, pp. 36, 40, 62, 88). A street in Isfahan, for example, is reported to have had no fewer than fifty caravanserais in 444/1052 (Nāṣer Ḵosrow, p. 139). Chardin reports that in 1047/1673, the bāzār of Tabrīz had 300 caravanserais and 15,000 shops (Schweizer, pp. 32-46). The large number of caravan­serais may reflect the fact that, generally speaking, there were two sorts: one for the use of pilgrims, travelers, and caravans and the other for the merchants. It is impos­sible to have a clear estimate of the former since they were scattered about all over town and many private houses also were used to house the great number of pilgrims who visited the city. Of the latter kind there were only a few, the most important one being occupied by the most important merchants. Kermān in 1876 had eight such caravanserais, Kermānšāh had about twelve (Rabino, pp. 72-75), while Isfahan had twenty-nine around 1890 (Soltani-Tirani, p. 25). Non-Muslims and merchants from out of town had their own caravan­serais, for example, the Jews and Zoroastrians had their own caravanserai, as did the Hindu merchants in Kermān; Russian merchants also had their own tīmča. The Khorasanis had their own separate caravanserai (Wazīrī, p. 32).

Functional organization. Because of its accessibility, the central area of the bāzār is highly valued; it is where the best shops are found. This is expressed to some extent in the rent for the location; however, more important than rent is the “key money” (sar-qoflī), which in the 14th/20th century has determined the real value of a location. There is no information on whether this system prevailed in earlier centuries, but the system of ḥaqq-e bonīča resembles it (see asnāf; bonǰča). Sarqoflī is the payment to the owner of the shop to “buy the key.” The sum paid does not depend only on the size of the shop, but also on the site value. The sum is negotiated between seller and buyer and is extremely sensitive to market conditions, and therefore substan­tial variations occur, even among adjacent properties. The key money sometimes reaches amounts of more than 50,000 tomans (for detailed information see, e.g., Clarke and Clark, p. 24).

Product groups or guilds were found in clusters in the bāzār as early as 390/1000 in Iranian cities. The degree of concentration, however, differed from trade to trade. From 13th/19th-century source material it is clear that trades were concentrated in the central bāzār, had shops in the smaller bāzāṛčas in the city quarters, or were spread out all over the city. For individual trades the combination of these three possibilities was common. In almost all large cities the spatial organization of trades was in accordance with Fraser’s description of 13th/19th-century Iran: “Each class for the most part is keeping to their respective quarters, so that smiths, braziers, shoemakers, saddlers, potters, cloth and chintz sellers, tailors and other handicraftsmen may generally be found together; but confectioners, cooks, apothe­caries, bakers, fruit and greensellers are dispersed in various places” (Fraser, pp. 32-33). In some trades the degree of concentration was very high, to the point that particular sections of the bāzār were known by the dominant products sold or produced there. Other crafts could either be clustered or more evenly distribu­ted throughout the main bāzār and/or the smaller bāzārs. As a general rule, luxury trades occupied the best locations, while poorer ones or those that were handicapped by noise and bad smells or presented a fire hazard were relegated to the periphery (Wirth, pp. 239-44). “Approaching to the gates [of the town] one will find, apart from the caravanserais for the people from the rural districts, the makers of saddles and those of pack-saddles whose clients are recruited from amongst those very country people. Then the vendors of victuals brought in from the country who sometimes will form a market outside the gates . . . ” On the periphery of the town were situated “such industries as require space and whose vicinity might be considered undesirable; the dyers, the tanners, and almost outside the city limits, the potters” (Grunebaum, p. 147). The principle of shop location then was applied rationally in terms of both land and service functions; however, this was not a static process. As the bāzārs changed, so did the choice locations. Rich merchants, waqf (q.v.) supervisors, and the government built new sarāys or extensions of the bāzār, thus changing its spatial organization. Comparing data on the concentration of crafts from the 11th/17th or even the 13th/19th century with contemporary information, we find that changes have occurred. Schweizer, for example, compared data supplied by Wilson for the Tabrīz bāzār in the 1890s with the situation in the 1970s and found that roughly speaking the same commercial activities were carried on in the same bāzārs, but that in the Rāsta-ye Bāzār-e Jadīd and the Tīmča-ye Gorjī structural changes had taken place (Schweizer, p. 42; for the situation in Isfahan, see Soltani-Tirani, p. 5; in general see Wirth, pp. 236f.).

The various functions of the bāzār. The bāzār is a complex where many commercial, economic, and other activities take place; among them are manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and itinerant trade, banking, regional and international commerce, temporary residence, and cultural, social, political, and religious activities. Production of goods was concentrated in the bāzār and caravanserais, where one site served both the purpose of manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing. Economic specialization was determined by product rather than by process. The production and/or sale of a product was under the loose control of guilds. The distributional difference among the aṣnāf was not caused by the integrity of the guilds, which were loosely articulated, weak organizations. Like other groups the guilds were controlled in the economic sphere by rich guild mem­bers and wholesale merchants, who also controlled other economic activities. Manufacturing, therefore, especially of textiles, also was carried out in the residential areas of the city and in the rural areas.

In addition to the fixed stalls and shops there was also a multitude of itinerant providers of goods and services. These either walked around peddling their wares, or had open-air, fixed locations (e.g., barbers and street ven­dors, dast-forūšān). These peddlers and hawkers were generally also financed by the same economic powers as the craftsmen and traders, in front of whose shops they plied their trades or crafts (Najmī, p. 94; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī, I, pp. 159-64).

The bāzār was also the city’s financial center. Apart from real estate and costly objets d’art, money could only be invested in trade. Iran’s rulers and elite therefore invested heavily in commercial enterprises by either building or buying caravanserais and shops or by participating in commercial ventures. Sultan Maḥmūd of Ḡazna, for example, built a large and lucrative bāzār in Balḵ (Bosworth, Ghaznavids, p. 140). The Buyid Ażod-al-Dawla invested in a caravanserai, which gave him a very profitable return (Mez, p. 452; see also Le Strange, Lands, p. 266). Many members of the elite became the silent partners of wholesale merchants, who held great power over the business community through their influence, which was a function both of their economic power and their political contacts with the elite. When in need of money the elite did not hesitate to borrow from merchants and ṣarrāfs (money lenders). Money could be loaned out at monthly, weekly, and even daily rates; thus anyone with surplus cash would lend it to a ṣarrāf or a merchant of his acquaintance. The role of the “investment bankers” was especially import­ant, for they practically conducted all money transac­tions in Iran. Advances on crops were another important source of capital, Iran having an economy based on agriculture; advances were mainly made on cash crops such as wheat, rice, silk, cotton, and wool. Another important activity was the organization and financing of textile production and after 1287/1870 of carpets in rural areas. Most peasants had little or no capital and were obliged to seek credit from urban or itinerant dealers or get advances on, for example, unfinished carpets (see, for the 19th century, Floor, 1979; see also Lambton, pp. 121-30).

The bāzār’s interest in the rural hinterland extended beyond the financing and organizing of agriculture. Many guilds, such as those of the bakers, butchers, and grocers, concentrated their activities on providing the city’s population with its basic needs. But among the city’s guilds can be distinguished a great number whose activities for the most part were directly related to the agricultural sector. These activities in­cluded the collection, storage, and simple processing of agricultural commodities, the distribution of soil additives (fertilizers), and the production of agricultural implements and equipment. These traders also produced and traded a substantial part of the goods and services bought in the bāzār by peasants and herdsmen. The incomes of these bāzārīs therefore fluctuated with farm incomes (and even more so with the level of agricultural production) rather than with urban in­comes (Taḥwīldār, p. 107; Ehlers, 1983).

Another aspect of the bāzār’s economic function was its role in interregional and international trade. Most products produced in a city’s hinterland only served that region’s needs; however, often a city and its dependent region also would produce or manufacture products that were exported to other parts of Iran or the world. Conversely, products not produced in Iran, but for which a market existed, were imported from abroad. The wholesale merchants with their commercial and credit contacts played a pivotal role in the organization and finance of this trade. The qayṣarīya and other important sarāys were headquarters of these oper­ations. These activities more often than not resulted in an influx of foreign merchants who sought permanent or regular residence in the bāzār. From the beginning of foreign trade such foreign merchants as Indians, Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Italians, and many other nationalities were regular visitors to Iran. Of particular interest, if only because their archives provide so much interesting information, are the Dutch East Indies Company and the British East India Company, whose employees lived for long periods in various towns of Iran from the early 11th/17th century on. They, like other merchants, lived in a caravanserai in the bāzār of Isfahan, from which they carried on their import and export trade with Iranian colleagues (Mez, chap. 26; Barbaro and Contarini, p. 127; Floor, 1979; Naršaḵī, text p. 18).

The bāzārīs did not live in the bāzār complex, which had no permanent residential quarters. However, caravanserais, in addition to their trading and manufacturing functions, also served as hostelries, where tourists or visitors on business stayed. The restau­rants and bathhouses found in and around the bāzārs also catered to the bāzārīs themselves, who enjoyed the convenience of a nearby bath or of having meals brought to them in their stalls or offices. They also frequented the restaurants as well as the coffeehouses and later teahouses, which could be found in the bāzārs. Several guilds had their own favorite cafés or pātūḡs (hangouts), where they met after working hours. Those bāzārīs who were members of Sufi organizations such as the Faqr-e ʿAjam (q.v.) met in these pātūḡs to stage and attend the soḵanvarī (literary) sessions (Maier and Gramlich). Others would meet in the local zūr-ḵāna or gymnasium, many of which were in or near the bāzār area. The ʿĪd-e Qorbān procession, in which villagers often participated, was also an annual socioreligious event (Floor, 1984). The ʿĪd-e Ābrīzān (water sprinkling) festival, which is of pre-Islamic origin, was also celebrated by some or all of the bāzār population, as in Isfahan (17th century) or in Kāšān up to 1930 (Kuznetsova, ed., p. 86; Narāqī, p. 274). That “bāzār” and “festival” were often synonymous is already attested by Bīrūnī who mentions the occurrence of festivals in Qom (ʿĪd-e Bīst o dovvom or Bāḏrūz) and Isfahan (kazīn or kažīn) in the 4th/10th century (Āṯār al-bāqīa, Pers. tr. A. Dānāserešt, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, pp. 300-01; tr. Sachau, pp. 214­-15). As can still be seen in many bāzārs large sums of money were invested to make them pleasant work environments. The qadak dyers’ guild in Isfahan, for example, occupied rāstas with high domed roofs con­taining 136 shops, each of which had two stories and was roomy, clean, and pleasant. There were benches to sit on, winter and summer sleeping places, ponds, water pools, wells, cisterns, and apparatus for dyeing and fulling. In the 19th century many government officials and merchants who either knew or had dealings with the guild leaders came to these shops for their daily rest (Taḥwīldār, p. 93).

The bāzār played a social role in another sense. Kinship was especially important in the bāzār. “The bazaar was one large kinship unit, since intermarriage within the bazaar was preferred and practiced” (Thaiss, p. 199). The rate of endogamous marriages therefore was higher among bāzārīs than among other groups. The social aspect of the bāzār was particularly apparent in the joint prayers of traders in nearby mosques, many of which were to be found in the bāzār. It should be stressed here that, with the exception of a few special cases, none of the social events discussed were peculiar to one guild; they cut across guild lines, and being a bāzārī was a more important criterion than being a member of a particular guild (Floor, 1984).

In addition to daily prayers, the bāzār community participated in the weekly hayʾat-e maḏhabī or religious gathering. These gatherings were hosted by a different bāzārī each week and were led by wāʿeẓes, preachers. Special gatherings were organized by the bāzārīs for the Moḥarram processions. These could take the form of participation in the flagellation processions (sīna-zanī, qamma-zanī) and the taʿzīa processions, where bāzārīs (sometimes particular guilds) formed so-called dastas (groups) with special banners to commemorate the martyrdom of the imams. To that end the bāzārīs also maintained special standards (ʿalam), stored in the bāzārs, as in Kāšān to this day. The weekly hayʾat-e maḏhabī not only served religious purposes but also provided a venue to meet and discuss economic and political problems or to arrange marriages. “It is through these interpersonal networks and the partici­pation of the same individuals in several different gatherings during the week that bazaar information, ideas, and rumors are passed on” (Thaiss, p. 202). There is no evidence for the existence of bāzārs that catered in particular to the needs of pilgrims in holy places like Qom and Mašhad as Wirth (p. 299) asserts. In Mašhad, for example, only evidence to the contrary was round (Pagnini Alberti, pp. 7f.).

Political function. The Friday mosque—the main religious and political center of the city—and the bāzār are always found together. In the mosque the population prayed in congregation, came to hear proclamations of its rulers, and gave vent to feelings about the ruler’s policies. Political will was also often expressed through the mobilization of the bāzār community. This could take various forms ranging from supporting the ruler to challenging his authority. In the former case the community might illuminate the bāzār to celebrate a victory or another important political event, or, con­versely, could express its disagreement by refusing to celebrate such an event. Political involvement could be expressed in more drastic ways, of which the most powerful was closing the entire bāzār complex (taʿṭīl-e bāzār), which, in fact, amounted to an economic and political strike against the government. The most famous example of the use of this political weapon was the bast (sanctuary) of the bāzārīs in 1906, which triggered the Constitutional Revolution of 1324/1906. Demonstrations and other forms of violence were regular occurrences in the bāzār (See asnāf). An example was the uprising of the Tabrīz bāzār against excessive taxation by Shah Ṭahmāsb I and the brutal behavior by his governor in 979/1571. Although properly speaking it was not purely an uprising of the bāzārīs, craftsmen and traders played the leading roles, according to Ḥasan Rūmlū (Aḥsan al-tawārīḵ, ed. Navāʾī, pp. 455-57). When in 1066/1657 the dārūḡa of Isfahan treated the guilds of Isfahan harshly, the bāzārīs protested to the dīvān-beg (lord high justice), but to no avail. After seeing that demonstrations, too, had no effect they finally shut the bāzār down. This was followed by a peaceful demonstration witnessed by Shah ʿAbbās II, who ordered the chancellor to examine their complaints. When this failed to produce the desired result, the bāzārīs took sanctuary and sought intercession from a powerful religious leader. This finally led to an acceptable solution (Qazvīnī, pp. 219-22). Similar events have occurred throughout Iranian history. In 1362 Š./1983 demonstrations in the bāzār of Tehran were organized in support of one or the other political candidate or to protest a particular economic policy (e.g., nationalization of foreign trade).




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(Willem Floor)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 1, pp. 25-30