National Geographic : 1975 Jan
... while old ways linger on Savoring a water pipe, merchant Mahbub Zolfogari (left) relaxes at a teahouse in Meshgin Shahr. Such gatheringplaces, called chaikhanes, abound in Iran, where they serve as time-honoredforums for exchanging ideas, insults, and gossip. But the nerve center of every Iranian city is the bazaar.Here may be found goods of all descriptions,from coffins to caviar. A delicately patterned vault in the Shiraz bazaar (below) teems with browsers and buyers. These supermarkets of the Orient sprawl, sometimes for miles, through labyrinthine passageways alive with sights, sounds, and smells of the East. In the Isfahan bazaar,a boy (upper center) sits stiffly for a photograph. World-famous Persian carpets (lower center), seemingly too lovely to walk on, captivate a shopper in Tehran.A new 9-by-12 rug may cost $10,000.