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The word “bazaar” is used to refer to several different types of marketplaces, depending upon their location. In the Middle East, where the word originates, it refers to a central open market which a large number of goods can be found for sale. In the West, it is used to refer to a flea market or a store which sells miscellaneous objects, frequently to raise funds for a charity. It is also used in the context of stores stocking Middle Eastern or Asian themed items. In all instances, the bazaar carries a wide assortment of goods.
In the Middle East, a bazaar is typically located in a street or partially covered area specifically set aside for the purpose of establishing a bazaar. Individual salespeople have stalls with rear areas which can be secured at night. The word “bazaar” comes from a Pahlavi word, baha-char, which means “place of prices.” The word was adopted into the Persian language as “bazaar”, and then became widespread throughout southern Asia and the Middle East.
Numerous old Middle Eastern cities have famous bazaars, including Tehran's Grand Bazaar in Iran, which is believed to be the largest in the world. The open market bazaar contains food, instruments, household goods, clothing, storytellers, books, and many other items, often sold by competing salespeople who attempt to win customers from each other with bidding and price wars. For visitors, the bazaar is an interesting place to step into, as the layout and bargaining style have not changed dramatically in many centuries.
Outside the Middle East and neighboring nations, a bazaar is most frequently a store filled with miscellaneous objects. The word is also used to refer to a Middle Eastern themed store, and the Middle Eastern quarters of many large cities have bazaars which sell items like Indian saris, Persian rugs, and everything in between. These stores are frequently run by people who have immigrated from the Middle East or Southern Asian, and usually cater specifically to an immigrant clientèle.
A bazaar in the sense of a shop filled with an assortment of items, usually for charity, is often found in Britain. They are frequently attached to churches and charities established to promote animal welfare or provide assistance to the poor. This type of bazaar usually is stocked with items donated by members of the general public who wish to support the charity, meaning that a widespread of goods can be found for sale.