Monday, June 18, 2012

Tashkent's Flea Market: Tezykovka, Yangiobod

Tashkent flea market uzbekistan tours
I bought a miracle 'flower-making' vegetable tool
Tashkent's flea market was once the largest in the Soviet Union. Some years ago it moved to the Yangiobod district of Tashkent, and locals call it Tezykovka.

In a dilapidated warehouse complex that formally stored vegetables for the city, it is an extraordinary setting, possibly 2 square kilometres, of everything from gas masks to rabbits, wrenches to ikat-patterned teapots.

It is open on Saturdays and Sundays, rain or shine. If you revel in junk and treasure, you can easily spend the entire day there poking around. It is organized into specific sections: the bird section, hosting a dazzling display of birds and remarkable cages; the animal section with cats, dogs (including some very mean looking breeds), rabbits and chicks.

There's a covered area of old wares, such as Russian porcelains, Soviet memorabilia, and other vintage items. Of course there are stalls and stalls of books, home wares, clothing and spare parts. It's a sea of *stuff*. And best of all are the hundreds of stalls that are jaw-droppingly full of tools, nails and plumbing bits.

Tashkent flea market uzbekistan tours
Left: hundreds of stalls like this; right: a neatly-arranged selection of items including the Russian brand 'Surprise' hairdryer

The market is about 25 minutes from the city centre by taxi. (Fare around 10,000 soums - $4). Or you can catch bus 30 from Mustaqillik metro stop. As always in Central Asian bazaars, watch your belongings.

If flea markets are your *thing*, note that it's easy to get lost, so go with a Russian-speaking friend. Even consider hiring a guide if you are new to the city. There are food stalls where you can sip tea and eat plov in-between browsing.

A young Pole studying in Tashkent described it as "the flea market where one can buy anything from toothpicks to Kalashnikovs", and kindly posted the YouTube clip below from his visit. (8 mins)

Tezykovka is a world away from Uzbekistan's ancient monuments or Tashkent's cool boutiques and bars: it's another slice of this marvellous city, a great melting pot of goods and people. Irresistible.

Related posts: 48 Hours in Tashkent
Tashkent's Soviet Buildings