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Afghanistan: Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar

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Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar | Afghanistan | Asia

[Visited: October 2017]

On our first walk towards the Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif, we pass street stalls, shops, and small underground shopping malls. When we get out at the north side of the park surrounding the Blue Mosque, we realize we have arrived at the main bazaar of this northern Afghan city. We find ourselves in a chaotic, noisy, busy, and utterly interesting marketplace, with stalls selling anything you could imagine. The more we walk around the streets and alleys, the more we realize we have only seen a small part of this bazaar. After every turn, another street appears, full of stalls, of people, of wares for sale. What is even more exciting, is that people are very open to foreigners, showing us something, expressing their gratitude that we are visiting, showing off for a picture.

Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Vegetable market in Mazar-e-Sharif

Are we looking to buy something? Not at all. We are just looking for entertainment, in watching people walk by, watching people looking for a deal, watching sellers screaming their offers to the crowd, watching fruit carefully piled up on old wooden carts, watching a boy press juice of pomegranates (OK, I admit we bought those rich juices frequently!), watching women in burqa scan the selection of shoes in a stand, watch an old man repairing shoes on the sidewalk with a thick needle, watching young men pushing carts heavy with boxes through the holes in the street, watch men waiting for customers behind their decorated naan, watch an old man sitting behind his cart full of exotic spices.

Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Crowd walking in the bazaar of Mazar-e-Sharif

All the while, we ourselves turn out to be a sight for all those at the market. People stare at us, giving us a thumbs-up, smile at us, greet us with a Salaam, with the right hand on the heart, trying to talk to us. Boys run towards us, wanting to shake hands, often asking to be in a picture. After that first day, we come back to the bazaar time and time again, exploring new streets and new sections of the bazaar, making new friends. And even after three days of exploring various parts of the bazaar, it still feels we have only scratched its surface: there are so many more backstreets, inside alleys, underground parts where shoppers probably go in winter, that we pass by but did not go into.

Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Selling bread at the market
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Cooking products for sale
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Corn seller at the bazaar of Mazar-e-Sharif
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Butcher in the bazaar of Mazar
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Shoe repair in the street
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Selling clothes in the street
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Section of the bazaar of Mazar
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Women at a shoe stall in the bazaar of Mazar-e-Sharif
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Collection of products for cooking: lentils, spices, seeds, honey, oil, and more
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Selling vegetables at the market of Mazar-e-Sharif
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Guys at the market of Mazar-e-Sharif in a motorized tricycle
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Man with wheelbarrow full of melons in the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif
Picture of Mazar-e-Sharif Bazaar (Afghanistan): Selling pumpkins at the market of Mazar-e-Sharif

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