Uzbek Tales pt. 5: Urgut Bazaar

Urgut Bazaar is one of the most authentic market we visited in Uzbekistan. The roads were muddy and dirty and everything from fabrics, to carpets to goat heads were sold. A truly original place and somthing that would be hard to emulate.

Free Apple  - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Queenie in Urgut Bazaar

Getting There

Getting to Urgut from Samarkand is easy: just take the bus. Many people suggested we rent a driver for a day, or hire a Mashrukta but at the end of the day we asked around and figured out which bus to take. It wasn't that hard! The bus was fairly cheap and since we were among the first to get on, we did manage to get seats. The trip itself from Samarkand to Urgut was (if memory serves correctly) about an hour, and it wasn't too uncomfortable although the bus did fill up the closer we got to Urgut.

The Market  - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Urgut Bazaar

Urgut Bazaar

The Lonely Planet we had says of Urgut that the town is "one of the best places to buy silk and old textiles in the country." However, the Lonely Planet continues saying "some readers report being disappointed by this markt, but that may be because they showed up on the wrong day. This market in only happening on Sunday and to a lesser extent on Thursday." Well we were definitely not disappointed, and we went on a Tuesday. The market itself was a hustle bustle of activity. From the crowded traffic in the street in the market entrance, to the bustling business of all the vendors and stalls in the market, the market itself was filled with color and sound. As the two videos show, the market is busy and the people incredibly friendly.

Outside Urgut Bazaar

Inside Urgut Bazaar

As you can see from the video above, the market is crowded with people and different foods. Actually, we found the market to be divided into distinct sections: food, fabrics, clothes, carpets etc. It was fairly interesting to drift through the different sections and see the different wares for sale. We later learned that the cotton for the fabrics and clothes was produced in Uzbekistan and shipped to Korea/China to be woven into fabrics and clothes. These were then shipped back to Uzbekistan to be sold. The controversy was that instead of building a fabrics/clothes factory, the government had invested a significat amount of money into building a car factory when they didn't have the technology or experience to do that.

Lunch - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Goat Head

Vendors - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Bread Stands

Vendors - -Urgut, Uzbekistan
Spice Sellers

Oil Sellers  - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Oil Vendors

Fruit - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Fruit Vendor - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Selling Bread - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Market Street - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Fabrics - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Carpets - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Queenie Shopping - Urgut, Uzbekistan

Lunch in Urgut Bazaar

One of the highlights for me was eating in the bazaar. We walked into the restaurant area of the market and found a restaurant serving shashlik (skewered meat) and plov (a traditional Uzbek rice dish). bearing in mind the market and restaurant didn't have the highest standards of hygiene, we were a little concerned but decided to try the food anyway. The food turned out to be awesome and we didn't get sick so the risk was worth taking.

Lunch in Urgut Bazaar

Market Plov -  Urgut, Uzbekistan
Plov - Part of our lunch

Fellow Diner - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Fellow Diner - this guy helped us order and chased off beggars

The People

Of course the best part of the market (as always) was the people. Always friendly, always smiling, always waving at us. We really did feel welcome and although we did draw a lot of attention our way, at no point did we feel uncomfortable. We were warned we should be careful of pickpockets so we made sure wallets and valuables were stashed away properly so nothing would get stolen but we we felt safe all the time.

Tajik Girl in Urgut Bazaar
Tajik Girl - notice the single drawn in eyebrow which is considered attractive in Tajik culture

Market Boys -  Urgut, Uzbekistan
Market Boys - these kids were so excited to see us and have their picture taken. They were really friendly.

Vendors -  Urgut, Uzbekistan
Worker - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Market Worker

Video Review  - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Reviewing Videos

Mother and Daughter - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Mother and Daughter

Shopper - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Out Shopping

Vendor  - Urgut, <br />Uzbekistan

Old Man in Urgut Bazaar
Old Man

Market Workers - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Market Workers

Urgut Bazaar - Mom and Baby

Market Girl  - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Market Girl

One of the great things of walking through the fabric section of the bazaar was the color of the sunlight streaming through the fabrics. The light was soft and colored and almost magical and seemed really surreal and out of place in a place like Urgut. Truly magical and added to the color and the splendour of the market.

Streaming Light

Fabric Shimmer -  Urgut, Uzbekistan
Fabric Shimmer in Urgut Bazaar

The Bus Home

So after drifting around the market for a couple of hours it was time to head off back to Samarkand. We found the bus (pretty easy) and jumped on. Now the conductor on this bus was really funny: the bus filled up pretty quickly and when a lady with a baby got onto the bus he insisted I sit down and hold the baby. The baby was horrified. No matter how much we protested he wouldn't let us stand. Even when old ladies got on the bus he insisted we sit and berated anybody who tried to take our seats. He also berated anybody who didn't want their photo taken and took photos of everybody (we haven't included those here). The bus was pretty full but by the time we got back to Samarkand it had emptied out.

Kid and Us - Urgut, Uzbekistan
With the kid on the Bus

Crowded Bus - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Crowded Bus

Fellow Passanger - Urgut, Uzbekistan
Bus Passenger

All in all it was an awesome day. We went to the market on the Tuesday and were duly impressed and would encourage all travellers to Samarkand to go to this market. It is colorful and loud and raw and real and it is what you are in Central Asia to see. Later on when we were in Bukhara we went to the local markets that were highly sterilized, super hygenic shopping places that show some level of modernization is creeping into Uzbekistan, but Urgut will take you back a few years, and its fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.


"Trafalgar Square" (1) 798 District (1) Africa (1) Airport (1) Archive (1) Art (1) Asia Art Center (1) Aviary (1) bagpipes (1) Ban Nam Dee (1) Beihai Park (1) Beijing (5) Birds (1) Bitan (1) Boracay (2) Bozburun (1) Buddhism (1) Buddhist Temple (1) Bunny Chow (1) Cafe India (1) canopy tour (1) cat (1) China (15) Christmas (2) Colombo (3) COPE (1) curry (1) Cycling (28) Cycling in Taiwan (8) dance (3) Dog (1) Durban (3) East Rift Valley (1) Eco Lodge (1) Elephant (3) Elephant Ride (1) Ella (1) Family (6) Fire (1) Flower Market (3) Food (2) France (1) Friends (19) Fulong (1) Galle (2) Galle Face Hotel (1) Gokova (1) Guandu Nature Park (1) hiking (2) Hong Kong (5) Hot Springs (1) Hsin Tien (1) Hualien (1) Hutong (1) Ilan (2) Japan (3) Jing Shan Beach (1) Kandayan Dancers (1) Kandy (5) Kandy Lake (1) Kaohsiung (2) Karkloof (1) Kayak (1) Keelung (4) Khiva (1) kitten (1) Koh Samui (1) Laos (9) Laos COPE (1) Laos Puppies (1) Laos Travelogue (3) Leofoo Village Theme Park (2) Library (1) Lion Dance (1) Little England (1) London (13) Luang Prabang (3) Marmaris (3) Matara (3) Mimi (2) Miscellaneous (32) Monkeys (1) Moses Mabhida Stadium (1) Namtha (1) Namtha. Huay Xuay (1) New Zealand (11) Nuawara Eliya (1) Nuwara Eliya (2) Osaka (3) Our Stuff (11) Pettah Market (1) Philippines (2) Photowalk (1) Pinglin (2) Pinnawala (1) Pot Pie Cafe (1) Pudding (1) Puppies (1) Puppy (1) Restaurants (11) Shek O (2) Shihmen Reservoir (1) Singapore (1) Snake Charmer (1) Snow (1) South Africa (12) Sri Lanka (17) street performers (1) Sung River (1) Sunset (3) Ta An Park (2) Tad Sae Waterfall (1) Taipei (18) Taipei and Taiwan Travel Guide (6) Taipei Fine Arts Museum (1) Taipei Hsin-Beitou (1) Taipei Restaurant (1) Taipei Video (6) Taiwan (24) Taiwan Video (5) Tamsui (2) Tangalle (1) Tangelle (1) Temple (1) Temple Lunch (1) Tennoji (2) Thailand (1) Tissahane (1) Train (1) Travel (62) Travel Guide (1) Travelogues (7) tuk tuk (1) Turkey (11) Unawatuna (1) Unawatuna Beach (1) Urgut (1) Uzbekistan (8) Vang Vieng (4) Vang Vieng Eco Lodge (1) Victoria Park (1) Vientiane (3) Vientiane COPE (1) Wattay International Airport (1) Wedding (2) Weherahena Temple (1) Willesden Green (1) Worship Team (2) Xindian (1) Yala Nature Reserve (1) Yangmingshan (1) zip-line (2) 六福村 (2) 北京 (2) 北海公园 (1) 大安森林公園 (1) 建國花市 (1) 新店 (1) 石澳 (1) 石門水庫 (1) 碧潭 (1) 花東縱谷 (1) 衚衕 (1) 金山海灘 (1) 關渡自然公園 (1)

Popular Posts