Tashkent was one of the ancient, political, economic, cultural and educational centers of Central Asia on the Great Silk Road.
From all gates of the city roads led to Old Juva bazaar. The names of streets and mahallas around the bazaar that are preserved up the present time give important information about the lives craftsmen in the city.
In 1813 the Russian Ambassador Philip Nazaroff, who had been in Tashkent describes the city as a big trade center, where caravans from different countries come and go away.
The Old Juva bazaar was not only used for trade, but also was a place for rest.
After the orders of the city khokim were announced in the mosques, they were also announced by the heraldry in the bazaar. Like in any other big city of Central Asia there were night bazaars during Hayit and Ramadan (Islamic holidays). During night bazaars one of the main streets of the city was decorated. In front of the tea houses and workshops on both sides of the street wooden tables were put out, and there were sold different kinds of fruits and food. Flutes, pipes and drums were played, special heraldry called people to the night bazaar. In one side of the circus acrobats, clowns and puppet performers performed their art, and in the other side there were Kurash (wrestling) and shows with trained animals. Musicians, singers, comedians, humorists and dancers showed their skills in the tea houses.
In the middle of the XIX cc as Russian and other European tradesmen established their business in Tashkent bazaars, the Old Juva bazaar got more crowded. As a result different trade companies built their shops and offices there. Among them are the local firm of the Yaushev brothers in Mahsiduzlik (Leather boot makers) street and the office of Emil Cindel fabrics manufacturing company, who worked together in collaboration. Later it became known among people as the “Cindel House” (Russian: Cindel Dom). In 1928 the Youth Theatre was established in this building. At the same time, in the area of the Old Juva bazaar trade shops and offices selling different goods were built, such as Grakhovskiy, Nikiforof, Zakho, Yu.Davidof and Shamsi Asadulla’s son. The Old Juva bazaar was called with different names in different periods:
Registan (Persian: sandy place) – The meaning of the name indicates that it is the first name of the bazaar, since in Central Asia bazaars were mostly organized in sandy and stony places. In fact the land around Old Juva were not usable for agriculture in former times. Also the central squares in Central Asian cities were called Registan.
Qushbozor – In the XV-XVI cc the city territory widened towards the urda and Beshyoghoch. Tashkent’s shakhristan formerly called Binkat was slowly falling into ruin. For that reason the new khan’s urda and shakhristan, suitable for the demands of it’s time, were built in the present Qoratosh and Olmazor mahallas. Instead of the old bazaar, which became empty, a new bazaar appeared. The potters, copper masters, nail makers and weavers setting up their workshops in the new bazaar parallel with the Registan bazaar continued their trade. These two bazaars being joined together for some time were called Qushbozor (Uzbek “qush”means couple). According to what Maqdisiy, the X cc historian writes, “Metalwork, saddles, and other craft goods were taken from Tashkent to other cities. Tashkent was famous for it’s arrows and beautifully decorated dishes”.
Chorsu (Persian:”four sides”) – first it was one of the ancient mahallas of Beshyoghoch daha. As mahalla it was originated in the XI cc, bordering the Tikanlikmozor and Chuqurqishloq mahallas and the Registan bazaar. The roads from the main gates of the city met here (like Samarqand road and the Beshyoghoch street). In medieval cities the crossing of the two biggest streets were called Chorsu. In these places usually trade shops and craft workshops were situated. Naturally this mahalla, bordering the bazaar, automatically became a part of of the Registan bazaar. In ancient sources the name is encountered in the forms “Chorsuk”, “Chorbozor”. “Suq” in Arabic means “bazaar”. Later in oral speech it transformed into “Chorsu”.
Old Juva. It was one of the ancient mahallas of Sebzor daha. It bordered the Ohunguzar, Janggoh, Pushtihammom and Tinchob mahallas and the bazaar. The main streets of the city such as Takhtapul, Zarqaynar, Qorasaroy led to it. Mahsiduzlik street most of the mahalla’s craftsmen had their workshops. It was a melting pot of trade. It is natural that, after some time this ancient mahalla, consisting a part of, later the main part of central bazaar, was called by the name of Old Juva.
The historian V.A. Bulatova says, that according to the well known scientist O.Smirnova “Eski” in old Sogdian language means “high”. And further she says that this term is quite suitable for ancient Tashkent. As evidence she refers to a legend saying that Tashkent rises on a mound of seven streams and seven hills. Another professor, Kh.Kh. Khasanov, says, that “Eskijuva” is a mahalla name which came from “Juvakhona” (juva-weapon, khona-warehouse) since in ancient times there was a place for keeping weapons. In fact “jiba” means “chain mail”.
Pastbozor. People today still call this bazaar “Pastbozor” (past-low.Uzb), the reason is that the bazaar remains situated in a low place. In the ancient Turkic language the watery lowland was called “Choch”.
October bazaar. During soviet time there was a restaurant built in the centre of the bazaar called “October”. Then Eski Juva mahalla was made into a square, and a statue of Kalinin was put up, and the square was called Kalinin square. For 70 years it was called Kalinin square, but this name didn’t penetrate into people’s minds. So, the bazaar used to be called Chorsu, Eski Juva or Pastbozor.
Oloy bazaar (Amir Temur street). In the beginning this area functioned for several years as a small bazaar for sheep, farming and agricultural goods. In 1928 the Oloy bazaar was officially founded and after independence it was rebuilt as a modern bazaar.
According to some historians, the khokim of Oloy vilayet Qurbonjon dodkho (procurator), who was the first among women in Central Asia with her sons to be awarded the title of “Dodkho”,later “Princess Oloy”. In order to gain independence she and her sons joined the popular movement “Pulatkhon”. The 25th of April 1876 she had successful attack on the troops of M.D.Skobelev (a Russian general who later founded the new city of Ferghana with his name), but later she lost the battle after being betrayed. Some of her people were imprisoned, others fled in different directions. Some of them found refuge in the Oloy bazaar area and started trading there. Therefore the bazaar was called Oloy.
Piyon bazaar. In 1866 in the area of the city, where the Russians lived, Yakshanba bozor (Voskresenskiy bazaar, Sunday bazaar) was opened. It was situated in the former Jizzakh and Mahram streets. Mostly alcohol was traded here, and there were many cafes selling vine. Some of the young and rich people visited this area to drink vine or vodka. Therefore this bazaar was called by local people as Piyonbozor (From Russian: “Pyaniy-Drynken bazar”). The bazaar existed until 1930. Later here was built the theatre called Alisher Navoiy. Since 1947 this place has been called Theatre Square.
Qaymoqbozor. It was built during the time of Tashkent’s khokim Yunuskhuja and was considered to be the biggest bazaar after Eski Juva bazaar. In 1810 a new bazaar appeared on the hill of the urda ruins. Mostly the trade here was with milk products, and therefore it was called “qaymoqbozor” (Uzbek: qaymoq – a milk cream). The bazaar was approximately between the Usmon Yusupov, Navoiy and Qodiriy streets and the Anhor canal.
We will begin with, the current urban market - Siab, located at the historic site between the mosque of Bibi Khanum complex and Shokhi Zinda, a short walk from the Registan. From times immemorial, this place was the center of social life of the townspeople, folk festivals were organized here, buying – selling was here, currency was exchanged; shops of craftsmen and artisans, ganch carvers, engravers, jewelers and ceramists were also here.
Looking at today's Siab market, it seems that nothing has changed. Of course, eventually historic buildings lost, but not city’s spirit. The same money-changers, the same farmers and farm workers - shop assistants, the same ranks of craftsmen are there. Like any self-respecting bazaar, Siab - is the embodiment of abundance of goods, trade fervor, talent, street artists and a warm atmosphere of teahouses located around shopping malls.
But there is something that will not let to confuse Samarkand Siab Bazaar with any other - it ranks with the famous Samarkand bread, seventeen species are sold here. Traditional Uzbek bread - pastil, baked in a clay oven - tandir has a round shape resembling a disk of the sun. In Samarkand, cakes are quite special. What is the reason for that may be that is Samarkand air according the legend, or mastery of bakers who came from the village of Gala-Osie, but the famous Samarkand pastil turns out very tasty, fluffy, thick, heavy, beautifully decorated, generously sprinkled with cumin and sesame seeds and has a property for a long time does not grow stale (they say for 3 years). And if you want to take away from Samarkand, something truly original, go to the Siab bazaar, and take pastils you liked for yourselves, your good friends.