A Visit to the Chorsu Bazaar

The famous Chorsu Dome

Last Sunday Nadia and I went shopping in the Tashkent landmark, the Chorsu Bazaar. She needed some clothing material for a skirt her seamstress is making for her. I went along to help with the weekly grocery shopping. The Chorsu Bazaar is one of the largest markets in the city and the most famous. It is the heart of the old side of Tashkent. When the Russians captured Tashkent in 1865, they built a new section on the south side of the main canal and the north side was the old Tashkent. Chorsu is like the center of the old city. Next to the bazaar is the Kukeldash madrasa which dates back to around 1570. The next time I go I’ll check it out.

Nadia buys vegetables

Uzbek Travel has an informative historical piece on the Chorsu Bazaar. “Chorsu” means “4 waters” or confluence and it refers to the time when the city was divided into 4 dahas. Chorus was the meeting place of the leaders of the dahas. It is an appropriate name as people still gather here today to buy and sell an overwhelmingly vast array of goods, ranging from fruits and vegetables to carpets, kitchen appliances, clothes, etc.

The market is vast and easy to get lost with many buildings and outdoor areas. It is part of the fun and one of the best places in the city for people-watching. There are always interesting characters and photo opportunities abound. We found the prices cheaper than in our neighborhood Mirabad Bazaar. The iconic blue dome was built in 1980 during the Soviet era and is an homage to the great domes of the Silk Road trading markets.

Chorus Bazaar

Uzbekistan has delicious table grapes. On sale, last weekend were two popular varieties, the Kish-Mish Kora (Black Kishmish) and the Rizamat. It is funny that a country with such outstanding table grapes does not produce excellent wines. There are many varieties and they are some of the juiciest and most tasty grapes I have ever tried. The dry climate and strong sun produces tasty fruits and vegatables.

It was a delightful afternoon of soaking up the sights and sounds of the Chorsu Bazaar. I think Nadia and I will try to make a point of going more often. It makes the mundane task of weekly grocery shopping “exotic”. This is one of the benefits of living internationally is experiences like purchasing goods in a market that dates back centuries. It also struck me the differences between the Russian and Uzbek sides of the city. One feels like Eastern Europe and the other feels like Asia. If you want to get the pulse of Tashkent, this is the place.

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