Asia is associated with hot sun, fruits, and, of course, bazaars. The famous Tashkent markets Chorsu and Oloy (Alay) are known to every tourist. The Alay Bazaar is a market with a long history. It is not for nothing that it most often appears on photo postcards from Tashkent. It was created in the 1870s. It was precisely during this period that the Russian Empire expanded its possessions to Uzbekistan. For military families, they began to rebuild houses, plan streets, and a New City appeared.
The market was rebuilt among the first but had no name. However, it soon became known as the Alay, in the manner of the local people. Alay is translated from Turkic as “soldier”. It is understandable because the first Russian settlements consisted of the military and their families, who visited the market. There is also a legend that the place of the bazaar was Mount Oloy, where merchants and caravaners gathered. There’s no scientific evidence of that.
The Alay market is one of the oldest in Tashkent. You can find a huge number of photos of the beginning of the 19th century, where you can clearly see the streets along the bazaar and the market itself. The layout of the streets has been preserved to this day, although all nearby buildings have long been renovated.
The market was closing and resuming its work. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that at that time it was not the main point of sale, as there was Voskresensky bazaar, which is now gone. But time has determined its meaning, and now it has been functioning without interruption for decades.
Since the independence of Uzbekistan, the bazaar has been reconstructed many times, a two-story pavilion with jewelry and workshops has appeared. Today it is the one who meets the visitors at the entrance. Passing under the dark roof of the pavilion, enjoying a variety of jewelry, visitors enter the inner part of the market. Eyes accustomed to the semi-darkness of the jewelry department, can not immediately see the shining rows. You can find anything you want at the Alay Bazaar. Long rows of dairy, meat, fruit, sweets, vegetable rows, many small shops, and workshops where you can stroll and enjoy the variety of choices, the hospitality of the sellers.
The ability of local sellers to sell their goods is incredible. Only in the Alay market, you can find perfectly packed fruit baskets, which can be presented at a major event, whether it’s a wedding or a public holiday. Designer talents are also observed in the sellers of sweets, who can elegantly arrange halva of different kinds that it would be a pity to eat this masterpiece of oriental ornament.
Earlier, until 2011, the market had a department with clothes, bags, and shoes. But after the bazaar was reconstructed, it was dismantled. In its place, there is a spacious parking lot where you can leave your car. The bazaar is always very clean and quiet, there are not as many people here today as before. Order and security are monitored by law enforcement officials. But Alay remains one of the most visited tourist attractions of the city as before.
Rest under the vaults of chinaras becomes especially pleasant when you have sun-filled Uzbek fruits and fragrant oriental sweets at hand. Canaan Travel recommends that you take time out during your Tashkent trip to visit a real oriental bazaar.