Trading Domes of Bukhara
Trading Domes of Bukhara
Bukhara is popular for it its old town trading domes that stretch from Lyabi-Khauz to the Miri-Arab madrasah. Current Bukhara trading domes date back to the 16th century when Bukhara’s ideal location along the Silk Road gave it an advantage and the city grew rapidly. Even though several centuries have passed, four of the five dome covered bazaars still remain in the Bukhara old city. At the time of their peak, they were all connected to each other with long passages of archways.
The domes still remain as a popular places to visit for locals and foreign visitors and have therefore become an iconic image of Bukhara. Each trading dome was concentrated for a certain kind of merchandise. For instance, one of them had a money exchange, another sold leather and hats and the next one focused on food and so on. It was the Sheibanids who began to turn Bukhara into a large trade center, located at the junction of many caravan roads. The symbols of the success of this goal were the trading domes, which gathered merchants from different parts of the world to trade under their safe roofs.
Toki Zargaron trading dome or bazaar is the most northernmost of the domes. It is located in the historical center of Bukhara, in the middle of a street crossing between the Poi Kalon ensemble in the west and next to the Ulugbegs and Abdulaziz Khan madrassas in the east. Toki Zargaron is considered the largest covered bazaar in Bukhara. Its name originates from the 36 workshops and stores of jewelers and “Zargar” translates as a “jeweler”. Built-in 1569-1570, it became the first trade dome of Bukhara, which had just acquired the status of capital.
Tim Abdulla Khan
Abdullah Khan trading dome was built in 1577 and it was placed just next to the Toqi Zargaron, specifically about 100 m south. This trading dome is quite different compared to its fellows as the style of this building is focused on lighting, having many of small windows and holes in the domes. While walking inside, you can notice the cool temperature regardless of the outside weather. Over the centuries, people traded here fabrics and carpets and the same items are sold there today as well.
Toqi Telpak Furushon
Toqi Telpak Furushon is a large trading dome located south from the Toqi Zargaron and Tim Abdulla Khan domes. In the beginning, it was the place for trading of books and it was called Kitab Furushon, but later it was appointed to trade hats for men, women and children along skullcaps, scarves, turbans and fur hats. The Toqi Telpak Furushon was built at the end of the 16th century and it is built over a hexagonal floor plan which covers about 40 meters in diameter. The large central dome has a diameter of 38 meters and rests on a drum with arched windows providing light into the bazaar. The large dome is surrounded by smaller domes with shops inside.
Toki Sarrofon translates as the Money Changers Bazaar and it used to house one of the largest currency exchanges in Central Asia. Traders from India, China, and other countries change their currency here with the money-changers, called Sarrof. Hence the name of the bazaar. Here moneychangers dwarfed in their stalls by huge piles of coins and notes, who would exchange Persian, Russian, Afghan and local currencies into the bronze, silver tenge and gold tiles that circulated as legal tender in Bukhara’s bazaars. Toki Sarrofon stands just behind the Lyabi-Khauz square.