Central Asia is associated with architecture, fruits and, of course, with markets. Oriental bazaars are among the most popular places in this area. The Siab Bazaar located in Samarkand can be easily named as one of the most famous markets in Uzbekistan, and, perhaps, the most famous one. It is situated near the famous attractions of the city — the Bibi Khanum Madrassah and the Khazret-Khyzr.
The large territory of the bazaar consists of numerous rows. It has grown from the small ancient trade pavilion to a huge market with an area of almost five hectares. A short while ago, the restoration of the market was carried out, and today guests are greeted by a triple arch with ornaments in the usual dark and light blue colors.
The territory of the bazaar is tidy and clean, since this is the main place where people look for oriental sweets and jewelry. Some rows are located under metal canopy, while the others have a wooden one supported by pillars. This adds color to the design of the market and makes it more comfortable to visit in the hot season.
There are always many people there. The constant hum of voices of buyers and sellers reminds us that people are supposed to bargain here. This is the way the things are done in the East — if you buy a product at the indicated price without even trying to bargain the price down, you can offend the seller. Each tourist tries to demonstrate their knowledge of eastern trade; this is why speech in different languages is often heard in the general hubbub. In any case, everyone is satisfied with the result.
It is impossible to leave the Siab Bazaar empty-handed. For the most part, this is a dekhan (agricultural) bazaar, which means that the abundance of all kinds of fruits, vegetables, spices, berries, watermelons and melons will surprise even experienced tourists. All this is grown on the fertile land of Uzbekistan by skilled gardeners and farmers.
Though the market occupies the huge territory, it is difficult to get lost there. All rows are grouped according to kinds of goods — here one can buy fruits and other vegetables, and dried fruits with nuts have their own place as well. However, you can easily lose your head when choosing goods you like because sellers try to outdo each other offering visitors to taste dried apricots, salted pips, navat or parvarda, completely free of charge. Traditionally, having weighed the required amount of the product for the buyer whom the seller likes, the latter adds a bit more to demonstrate generosity and cordiality.
Samarkand flatbreads occupy the bread row. Here you can find a huge number of bread products of different size, density, type and taste. The most popular kinds include katlama (flaky flatbread) and patyr (thick flatbread weighing a couple of kilograms). If necessary, sellers coat it with oil so that it does not become weathered and stale. The bread is always fresh, straight from bakeries, so you can even burn yourself. However, this does not stop tourists because its aroma is felt from afar and attracts them. A flatbread with halva and a bowl of tea is the best choice if you feel hungry.
There are also small cafes at the bazaar, often of the open-air type, where you can enjoy delicious shashlik, pilaf or shurpa. This is an excellent opportunity to take a break, recharge energies and continue your journey through the Siab Bazaar. It is recommended to devote at least half a day to this trip to fully plunge into this atmosphere and feel truly happy.
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