It sometimes seems that Uzbekistan runs on plov, the heavy, calorie-laden dish that is the nation’s undisputed favourite.Read more...
Chorsu Bazaar - A view from our expert author
The commercial centre of Tashkent, these mosaic trading domes offer visitors the opportunity to eat shashlik or haggle for souvenirs at one of the many colourful stalls.
Meaning ‘the crossroads’, Chorsu is the commercial heart of Tashkent and has been for hundreds of years. Originally open to the air (as parts of it still are today), the maze of covered stalls was largely cleared away in the mid 20th century. In their place Soviet architects designed and built vast mosaic-covered domes, blue & turquoise space bubbles that still protect merchants and their goods from the elements and give the bazaar’s skyline its distinctive shape. Each dome houses a different type of good: take a stroll around the dried fruit and nut stands if you want to try plenty of free samples but beware of the dried cheese balls: they’re something of an acquired taste. If you have the time to hunt, almost everything is for sale here: plastic Chinese household goods battle for attention with hand-painted ceramics and fox fur hats, almost-antique nick-nacks, dried fruits and imported car parts in varying states of decay. The market is liveliest first thing in the morning when the wholesale deliveries are made, and the cheap chai and kebab stalls provide ample sustenance while you watch the world go by. Come here to get a feel for ‘real’ Tashkent & an echo of Silk Road trade in centuries past.
(Photo: © Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare)