Bazaar of Isfahan
By: Mohammad Gharipour, 12 December 2003
D- 3. d. Timce (Covered halls)
Timce is an economic complex, which was designed like sarai but smaller and also often roofed. In timce some shops are located around a courtyard. These timces in the Bazaar act as shopping complexes for special products. After Safavid, attempts have been made to design timces in all bazaars of Iran, especially in the bazaars of Isfahan and Tabriz and some of them are considered as masterpieces of the Safavid architecture. The most famous timce in the bazaar of Isfahan is Malek, which is intended for selling carpets.
|Figure 23: Timce Karim-e Poosti
||Figure 24: Timce Malek
There are three kinds of timce in bazaar of Isfahan:
- The most common is a roofed, double-storied space with a square or rectangular courtyard like Atighe-Forousha timce for antique shops.
- A double storied non-roofed or roofed complex, which is very similar to sarai with roofed corridors in front of shops like Malek timce.
- A single storied complex, roofed or non-roofed, like Sa'adat timce or Karim-e Poosti timce.
|Figure 25: An open timce
D- 3. e. Hojre (Shops and workshops)
Shops and workshops, called hojreh, are simplest and smallest, but they are the most important elements of a bazaar. The shops are located in both sides of the raste and corridors. These are mostly double-storied, but in some parts of the bazaar with less importance, these stores are single-storied. The first floor of shops is usually factory or commercial space, while the second floor is usually the warehouse or an office for commercial trades. The area of the shops is between 10 and 25 m2.
|Figure 26: A hojre in the bazaar of Isfahan
||Figure 27: A hojre located in Naghsh-e-Jahan Square
All the shops and workshops in the bazaar are separated from the streets (raste and corridors) with steps. This difference between the level of the shop and the street is related to the kind of business and craft inside the shop. For example, the level of shops in some parts is about 15 cm above the route, and in some cases (usually workshops), it is 15 cm lower.
The connection of shops or workshops to the streets is based on their functions. In some parts of the bazaar such as druggist stores or provisions stores, shops are in more contact with customers and people are able to come in and evaluate the quality of products to select. In some other parts such as coppersmith's raste, shops are connected to the Bazaar through a long corridor (inside the shop) to increase the safety of the raste. In some other parts, like the raste for goldsmiths', shops are higher than the level of the bazaar to guarantee the security of the shop.
The value of shops is related to their distance from the main street of bazaar. Closer to the main raste, the value of the shop is higher. But in general, the most expensive shops in the bazaar of Isfahan are located around the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square. These shops have two doors; one of them is opened to the square and another one to the internal layer of the bazaar located behind the square.
- Adib Saberi. famous Iranian historian who visited the bazaar in the 17th century, believed that timce was a developed form of caravanserai.
- Soltanzade Hosein. Iranian Bazaars, Cultural Research Bureau Publication, 2001: 77.
- All the shops and rooms in caravanserais, sarais and all parts of an Iranian bazaar are called hojre.
- In some markets like the bazaar of Shiraz shops are placed on a platform, which is about 50cm higher than ground level.
- ibid: 78.
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