When we were planning our trip to the Fergana Valley, and realized we would be there on a Sunday when the Kontepa Bazaar would be on, the decision was easy to take. We slept in Fergana, got up early the next morning, and caught a marshrutka to the bazaar. When we approached an area with lots of people and vehicles, we knew it was time to get off, and walked into the bazaar. Even at this early hour, it was already quite full of people, most of them dressed in traditional clothes.
We saw row upon row of stalls with clothes, with silk, with shoes, and I realized that I was surrounded virtually solely by women. But as soon as we reached the car and motorcycle section of Kontepa Bazaar, the proportion of men and women changed drastically: there they were, the Uzbek men! The more we walked, the more we realized that we could buy almost everything here: from traditional Uzbek boots to screws, from fine silk to wall plugs. But more interesting than the items for sale, were the people selling and buying.
Women wearing colourful head scarfs, men with the traditional skull caps: they were everywhere. Since we skipped breakfast before coming here, we decided to sit down in a corner of the market and have a cup of tea from a friendly tea man. Instead of moving around ourselves, we now had the advantage of just looking all around us. We did not go unnoticed ourselves of course, and the Uzbeks invariably appeared very friendly, smiling at us, and posing for pictures. Some tried to strike up a conversation, and some of them worked out, albeit often in a basic way. After our break, we continued strolling the huge Kontepa Bazaar, discovering always new sections, when we realized that the crowd was thinning, the temperature rising: it was time to go. It proved to be the most authentic Uzbek experience of our visit to the country.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Kontepa Bazaar (Uzbekistan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Kontepa Bazaar.
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