Trading domes of Bukhara
Covered markets and passages were notable achievement for Europe only in the 19th century. In Russian cities only at the turn of the 20th century people began to raise the guest houses. And in Asia with its summer heat and winter winds, the covered markets were the prose of life from time immemorial. Huge trading domes with unshakable stone arches were in many Asian cities. They are clearly like the dome-shaped covered markets of many Uzbek cities, primarily Tashkent bazaar Chorsu. But we can contemplate four medieval (16th century) trading domes in Bukhara. Their scale is impressive even now.
In Bukhara the bazaars were a place of trade, a meeting place for business people, a place of spectacle and entertainment at the same time. Located along the main thoroughfares, crowded with benches and handicraft workshops, they always swarmed with riders and wayfarers, a cluster of loaded bullock carts and camels.
The trading domes of Bukhara became the same symbol of the city as the fortress of the Arch or Kalyan Minaret. They are located on a busy highway in the heart of Bukhara from Lyabi-House to the Mir-i Arab Madrasah. The erection of the covered bazaars refers to the flourishing of the Khanate in the 16th century, when the state was ruled by representatives of the Sheibanid dynasty, under which its capital Bukhara was also experiencing an unprecedented prosperity. During this period, many religious architectural ensembles were built, including 360 mosques and 80 madrasahs. The commercial life of Bukhara became very lively. Mass construction of the covered markets, which were built mainly at the intersection of several busy streets, was developed. First they built a dome "taki", and then under its covered space shopping benches, as well as workshops of artisans were set up.
The list of trading domes in Bukhara:
In 1569-70 the largest of the surviving shopping arcades of Bukhara - Toki Zargaron ("the dome of jewelers") was built. This is an excellent building. This is the dome passage that is a vault above the roadway in conjunction with a gallery for shops and repair shops. Toki Zargaron dome accommodated 36 workshops and jewelers' shops.
The dome covers of Toki Zargaron are strict and precise. They are not decorated; everything is subordinated to the building logic.
This trading dome of Bukhara is rightfully considered the largest indoor bazaar in the city. Another feature of Toki Zargaron is the shape of the dome - it is extended upwards, and has vertical bulging ribs.
If you move from here to the south, and turn to the left you can see one of the great market buildings of the Sheibanid era. It is the arcade of Tim Ablullah Khan (1577). The main dome of the building is set on an octagonal base. It is surrounded by a gallery, covered with small domes. The peculiarity of the construction is a special lighting. The temperature here is always cool, regardless of the season. For centuries, cloth and carpets have been traded here, and today a traveler can also purchase something he needs.
In the dome Toki Telpak Furushon one could buy luxurious headdresses: gold embroidered skullcaps, fur-caps, cunningly rolled turbans. Five streets converged to the building.
At first, books were traded here, but later there was the trade of male, female, children's headgear, skullcaps, shawls, turbans and fur hats. There were also niches, storerooms and hangars.
The western passage of Toki Telpak Furushon leads to the street Mehtar Ambar. The first building on the right is Kuleta, the ancient caravanserai (16th century). A little forward is the Kurpa Mosque. And the Mullo Tursunjon Madrasah is almost at the end of the street.
The trading dome of Bukhara Toki Sarrafon is situated on the ancient canal Shohrud. Under this dome "money dealers" - "sarrafs" - money changers were sitting with their hand-held safes and boxes. Several centuries ago they exchanged money from merchants from around the world, and also thus made usurious operations. Usurious operations were conducted exclusively by Hindus or Jews, since Islam categorically forbids this kind of activity.
Gold embroidery items, earrings, pendants, precious harness, dishes were also sold here. Today moneychangers do not work here; but there is a great choice of Asian carpets and souvenirs.
The Dome Toki Sarrafon is the most richly embellished of the four trading domes in Bukhara.
Make an exciting trip to Uzbekistan, visit Bukhara, walk through the trading domes of Bukhara, buy something for memory, and always remember your trip through Uzbekistan.