Panjshanbe Bazaar - Gastro Obscura

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Panjshanbe Bazaar

A bustling bazaar with an elaborate facade in Central Asia’s underrated capital. 

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In the main square of Khujand, a city once central to the Silk Road trading route, sits an elaborately designed bazaar. Across from a pair of elegant mosques, the Panjshanbe Bazaar makes itself known with an enormous powder-pink facade, a neoclassical confection accented with statues of field workers and an elaborate green dome. It’s an excellent example of the blending of architectural styles and historical present across Khujand: a blend of Soviet grandeur and Islamic detail work.

The main hall of the bazaar was built in 1964, and its facade has been rebuilt multiple times since. Walk inside and you’ll find locals shopping for groceries and clothing, with salespeople’s loud supplications adding to the enormous space’s buzzing energy.

You’ll find multiple tables of plastic-wrapped wreath-like flatbreads, the ubiquitous Tajik staple called non. Follow your nose to the section of the market dedicated to the region’s street foods, and pick up some plov, skewered meats, fried bread, lamb-stuffed manti, and kurut: pungent, cheese-like balls made of dried yogurt.

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December 28, 2023

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