Amidst the hustle and bustle, the wafting aroma of spices, and the arrays of colourful fabrics is Minab Thursday market. One of its kind and I dare say the most dazzling bazaars 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 Thursday market 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 Iranian bazaars in big cities which tend to have a male dominant environment, here in Minab Thursday market, 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.
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 is left intact which makes Minab Thursday Market such an exotic destination.
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.
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 Thursday market 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. 😉
Tips on visiting Minab Thursday Market:
#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 as 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.