When I was a kid growing up in Tehran, one of the favorite metaphors for an untidy place was to compare it to the Shoosh square in southern Tehran. Actually at one time Shoosh square and street were merely downtown areas but the city had sprawled north leaving the Shoosh area in the south, relatively speaking.
So I always imagined the Shoosh area as a chaotic and super-crowded section of the city. I had never visited that part of the city to confirm my suspicions, not until my recent trip. Tehran has now limited subway service that operates surprisingly smoothly and Shoosh is one of the train stops.
Taking the subway train from the northern Tehran I jumped off at the Molavi street at a location that apparently used to be called the Execution square years ago. Walking around the street it appeared that most of the architecture and structures hadn't changed much in years. Small stores lined the Molavi street and the narrow alleys were home to most of the locals. I hung a right on some road and pushed forward and suddenly there it was, Shoosh square.
Like many rumors and myths debunked by personal observation, Shoosh square wasn't nearly as chaotic and jammed with people as I had imagined. Yes, it was crowded, it was a bit grimy, and somewhat archaic in parts, but nowhere near what my imagination had constructed.
I walked the Shoosh street, visited the fabric stores, the crystal stores, herbs and dried fruits stores, and the street market and capped the adventure by having a couple of cups of tea at a tea-house. Returning to northern Tehran on the subway train, I knew I would be back again to this area for more exploration.