Minab Thursday Market, A Feast For The Senses

Amidst the hustle and bustle and where the wafting aroma of spices beguiles you to one direction and the arrays of colourful fabrics to another, is Minab Thursday market. One of its kind and I dare say the most dazzling I have yet discovered in Iran.

Upon a friends suggestion and despite our fully packed itinerary for a trip to Hormozgan, we managed to squeeze Minab in, only for it to surpass our expectations. An hour drive from Bandar Abbas and we were dropped off at Minab’s bazaar, where we thought we’d go for a quick look and head out for the Thursday market just in time.

Minab is a small town a bit further east from Bandar Abbas. Tourism is slowly picking up here but even so, we were almost the only tourists visiting during winter time. The town, although not very prosperous, is culturally replete. It’s easy to realise that women have a big role here. Not only in flaunting colourful chadors, but also in running the economy. They sell anything from bread and fruits, to chadors, niqabs, embellished trousers and fish jam!

Unlike the bazaars in big cities which tend to have a male dominant environment, here in Minab, women were taking the lead. Although dressed up quite conservative to what we are used to and hidden behind colourful masks, they were assertive and showed no intimidation in working alongside men.

Minab Thursday Market

Picking out handmade burqas!

Minab Thursday Market

Fish jam! Probably one the weirdest things we ate on our trip. It was a mixture of fish, spices and the soil of Hormoz which is known to be edible. To be honest, it was bad! I mean really bad. The locals seemed to love it and would eat it with bread, just as it is.

Minab Thursday Market

These women were selling tobacco in a form I had never seen. Apparently eating it just like that would get you high enough!

Minab Thursday Market

Loads of nuts and spices!

Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market

The women in the south of Iran might be relatively more covered than those living elsewhere in the country (even though more colourful) but they proved to be one of the most assertive I've ever seen. Here's where I saw the most number of women working at the bazaar which is more like a "manly" atmosphere in other cities. They would sell anything from handicrafts to tobaccos and smoke shisha while doing it, and cared the least what the world might think. _______________________________________________________ جنوب از معدود جاهايى در ايران است كه بازارش تحت سلطه ى مردان نيست. حتى در بازار ماهى فروش ها هم تعداد زنان فروشنده قابل توجه بود. زنانى كه با برقعه نشسته اند، هر چيزى از صنايع دستى تا تنباكو مي فروشند و در اين حين قليان هم مى كشند. ككشان هم نمى گزد كه دنيا چه فكرى راجع بهشان مى كند…

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Ah hour later we got a taxi and were headed to the market. Minab Thursday Market starts functioning as early as 5-6 am and ends around 1-2 pm. The most interesting and crowded part of the bazaar is the handicrafts section right in the middle where local women dressed in beautiful chadors are selling their artwork.

The traditional outfit for women of Hormozgan province includes silky embroidered trousers, a patterned chador and in some cases a handmade ornamented burqa or mask. The chadors come in all kinds of colours and patterns. Some of them are even beaded which are used for formal gatherings and weddings. It’s hard to find women dressed in modern clothing, something I absolutely loved to witness as it has become a rare thing in most parts of the country. Here however, the culture was left intact which makes Minab such an exotic destination.

Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market

Coming from a city where seeing women smoke is not a usual scene and normally frowned upon, we quickly noticed that things were very much different in Hormozgan. Smoking of any kind was the norm and it applied to both men and women.

Minab Thursday Market

Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market

Minab Thursday Market

These patterns were designed to be applied to the traditional silk trousers. You could buy the pattern and do the sewing yourself.

Minab Thursday Market

These trousers were already embellished and ready to be taken to the tailor to have them fit to your size.

Minab Thursday Market

We tried on these beautiful beaded chadors in Bandar Abbas but if you’d like to buy one, I’d recommend getting them at Minab where they tend to be way more cheaper. We also tried the trousers but found them to be quite uncomfortable. As for the masks, I got one to take back home as a souvenir. 😉

Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market Minab Thursday Market
Minab Thursday Market
Minab Thursday MarketTips: 

#1. I’d highly recommend getting to the market a lot sooner than we did as it gets very very crowded around noon.

#2. Beware that most local women in the region are very strict about photos.. If you’re going with a big camera like we did, be very cautious. If you like to take pictures, try starting a conversation with people and ask for their permission. Many of them won’t allow you to do it, but some will.

#3. There’s a hotel in Minab if you’d to stay the night as there are quite a few other places you could visit. Since we were very keen on getting to Hormoz island as soon as possible, we only spent half a day here and routed back to Bandar Abbas.

Minab Thursday Market

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