The Bustling Kolkhoznyy Rynok (Central Market) in Bukhara

One of the market’s stands offering traditional flatbreads

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Since its very beginning, the ancient city of Bukhara has been serving as a cultural and commercial crossroad between Europe and East Asia. While the city’s centuries-old bazaars are mesmerizing places to explore, it is the Soviet-time Kolkhoznyy Rynok which truly offers a shred of authenticity. Home to dozens of stalls, the market’s striking sights, odors and flavors offer a glimpse into Uzbekistan’s rural and agriculturally fertile regions.

With its history stretching back as early as 3000 BCE, Bukhara was for centuries a major trade hub along the Silk Route, connecting east and west. It was here, where an incessant influx of goods-carrying caravans from all over the world flooded the streets with spices, gemstones, textiles, tea and pottery, to name just a few.


While Bukhara’s days of glory are long gone, its cultural heritage as a market-town is still alive and kicking. In fact, throughout the city, there are several ancient bazaars where vendors and tourists haggle over intricately woven carpets and knickknacks. However, visitors who wish to experience a more contemporary facet of the city will find it in an unpretentious marketplace, nestled on the outskirts of Bukhara’s historic core.


Located in front of Chashmai Ayub Mausoleum and Talipach Gate, Kolkhoznyy Rynok (Markaziy bozor) is a soviet-era market, whose assortment of fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products and local eats easily dwarfs any of its age-old counterparts across the city. This modern-style bazaar is divided into multiple sections, where farmers from nearby villages and towns sell their fresh produce.


Conspicuous by their scrumptiousness are the nuts and sweets stands. Aside from the typical dried fruits, almonds, walnuts and apricot kernels, one can also find here a local candy made of milk powder and garnished with pistachios. Another enticing part of the bazaar is its bread section. Freshly baked Uzbek flatbreads known as lepeshkas are neatly stacked here, spreading mouthwatering scent that wafts in all directions.


Facing the iconic walls of Bukhara is the marketplace’s parking space, where alongside the shoppers’ vehicles are also makeshift stands that spilled out of the main complex, including piles of watermelons and Uzbek melons, famous for their juiciness and sweetness alike.


What Kolkhoznyy Rynok might lack in glamor and historic merit, it more than makes up for in a multi-sensual experience that reflects the city’s modern-day character.