The most famous Iranian souvenirs that will surprise your friends
Iran has many products and souvenirs that are exported all over the world. In other countries, Iranian products such as carpets, saffron, caviar seeds, and pistachios are very popular. These products are so world-famous that the name of Iran is known only by them.
Iranian rugs have a long history. From ancient items, the Iranians have been weaving rugs and other floor mats. According to historiographers, travelers, and historical records Iranian peasants and nomadic tribesmen have been weaving carpets from ancient times. The oldest Iranian rug was a small rug with genuine Achaemenid patterns which was discovered by archeologists in the frozen grave of a Sogdian army commander at Pazyryk Valley 80 km away from Outer Mongolia. Researchers believe that this rug is a Median or Parthian handwoven carpet. From ancient times Iranian rugs have been trading rugs. In his book about Cyrus the Xenophon, the Greek historian, says the Iranians are spreading rugs under themselves in order to have a soft cushion on it. A Chinese almanac says during the Sassanid Period Iranian woolen rugs were exported to China. The immense Baharestan Rug in the Ctesiphon Palace has been lauded much in the post-Islamic literature. The art of carpet weaving reached a peak during the Safavid Period. Right now 40 percent of the Iranian carpets are exported from East Azerbaijan Province.
According to linguists, caviar is derived from the Persian word 'khagavar' which means laying eggs. Caviar is the eggs of a surgeon and is the most costly foodstuff in the world. The Persian Gulf preserves 93% of the total caviars in the world and several types of caviar-breeding fishes are being reared such as sturgeon and goldfish. The eastern shores of the Caspian Sea especially near Turkmansahra shores (stretching from Hassangholi Harbor to Minakaleh Harbor) are the most important places where caviar is being caught. In fact, most of the caviar in Iran is being caught in this region. Caviar is full of energy and has a fine odor. The proteins in the caviar consist of acid amines, histamine, and other useful ingredients. The fat in the caviar also contains 25% cholesterol and 75% lecithin. Eating caviar can prevent people from depression or peripheral vascular diseases because it contains a great amount of Omega 3.
The original habitat of pistachio was Iran and from Iran, it spread to other countries. Presently pistachio is one of the important non-oil exportable goods in Iran, but the history of the export of pistachio goes back to the Achaemenid Period. During that time the wild pistachio trees grew in special regions in Iran such as the existing Khorasan Province. Nowadays pistachio is the second biggest non-oil exportable item in the country after carpets. Right now 55 percent of the pistachio in the world is produced in Iran and 60 percent of it is exported to the world. The country's income from pistachio is approximately 400 million dollars a year. Pistachio has been cultivated in various regions in Iran from ancient times and there are many pistachio tree jungles north of Iran, especially in regions bordering Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Historians believe that the pistachio tree was domesticated in Iran about three or four thousand years ago. The pistachio seed contains ample Vitamin A and non-saturated fat acids, Vitamins E, B1, B2, and B6; potassium, protein, zinc, selenium, phosphor, calcium, fibers, and other useful and healing ingredients.
Za'faran (saffron) is a term derived from Old Persian and Sanskrit languages and has been spelled so in Shahnameh, the epic of kings. Arabic texts seldom refer to saffron and wherever they speak about it they refer to Persian books from Avicenna and Razi. Saffron's habitat is in Iran and India and it doesn't grow in any Arabic country in a natural manner. The cultivation of saffron in Iran began approximately three thousand years ago. It is red, precious, and void of the stem and has a bulb. Since saffron grows in deserts it is known as red gold or desert gold. Out of 150 flowers, only one gram of saffron is extracted and from approximately 147 thousand fresh saffron flowers only 1 k of dry saffron is extracted. Thanks to its excellent taste, color, and perfume saffron are used in various Iranian dishes. It is used in chemistry and medicine too. Due to limited cultivation saffron is very dear. By producing nearly 100 tons of saffron a year Iran is the foremost producer of this herb and Spain which produces 25 tons of it a year is a second-biggest producer in the world. India, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, China, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Greece although produce 25 tons of saffron and are together they are the third producer of saffron in the world. Saffron's real habit is the arid deserts south of Khorassan. It is a rare herb growing in very rigid climates and from ancient times its birthplace has been Iran. Saffron is a medical and industrial herb. Saffron which is the red crest of the herb above the root is light red when harvested but it gradually turns to dark red. Fresh saffron has a lovely perfume and gives a special flavor to the food. The main income of the farmers in Khorassan is from saffron which they call 'red gold'. Saffron trees need water only in November and December and rainwater is enough to irrigate it and many people are engaged in the cultivation of saffron in the country. Being small in size and light transportation of saffron is not costly and it fetches considerable foreign exchange for the nation. Statistics about the cultivation of saffron show that approximately 100 thousand families in Torbat-e Heydariyeh, Qa'enat, Ferdows,
Gonabad, Sarayan, Birjand, and Kashmar in Khorassan and Eqlid and Estahban in Fars earn their bread from saffron. Out of 230 tons of saffron produced in the world in a year nearly 170 tons are produced in Khorassan. Laboratory tests conducted in Europe have revealed that saffron reduces fat and cholesterol and increases oxygen in the plasma. The common people use saffron as a tranquilizer, increase the appetite and facilitate food digestion. In the past, saffron was used in Germany as a tranquilizer and for healing stomach ache and asthma. The scientific name of saffron in medicine is called 'Tinctura opii Crocata. Saffron is believed to relieve depression too.
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