Tag Archives: bazaars

Mobbed in Urgut and Stunned by Samarkand

Nisha on the hunt

It keeps getting better and better. Today was all about mad buying, incessant rain, a delightful spell of snow, a clean toilet (!), stunning mountains views and a godforsaken village outside Urgut.

After two nights in Shahkrisabz with intermittent electricity and NO HEATING (read: no hot water!), we were ready to leave for Urgut. The regular route via a mountain pass was closed, undone by a harsh winter. We headed out by another road in heavy rain. All of a happy sudden, snow began to fall. It was beautiful to see rolling meadows of green get powdered with a delicate white… the donkey’s saddle bags and the shepherd’s shoulder collecting their final load of snow before spring sends the winter packing.

As luck would have it, when we reached Urgut’s famous Sunday ‘Bozaar’, the snow had let up. But the ground was terribly slushy and the market packed. Trolleys overflowing …

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Day 11: A Royal Breakfast, Bukhara Artisans, Chatty Uzbek Dinner

Coin Necklace

After a rather cold and miserable day in Bukhara, we woke up feeling hungry and ready for a new day. Our lady at Amelia served us breakfast fit for queens. The table was loaded with pancakes, rice porridge, potato pies, sausages, cheese, non, yoghurt – a treat that was tucked in with great enthusiasm by both of us. With all that nutrition in our systems, we set off to explore the many domed (covered) bazaars of Bukhara famous in the good old days for trading gold, spices, prayer caps and more. The walk through the crossroads of these markets gave us leads to master artisans in the area.

We met the master of copper chasing (the art of decorating metal items in relief). His tiny workshop was lined wall-to-wall with his handiwork. Each piece had been meticulously etched three times – which gave every plate its depth and sturdy weight. …

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Arastan is Born…

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The sights, sounds, smells of ancient trading routes…

the bustling bazaars and souks of ancient Constantinople…

the coming together of diverse cultures, peoples, traditions, crafts…

the colours of the deserts, the camel caravans traversing them…

the bridge between East and West through ancient cities: Chang’an, Dunhuang, Kashgar, Yarkend, Khotan, Herat, Almaty, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Merv, Nishapur, Isfahan, Babylon, Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, Konya, Constantinople…

the art and architecture of majestic monuments: Daming Palace, Khoja Akhmad Yassavi mausoleum, Registan, Minaret Kalyan, Ichan-Kala, Buddhas of Bamiyan, Chogha Zanbil, Meydan-e Imam, Shirvanshahs’ Palace, Karatay Han…

the silks, the perfumes, the spices…

the gems: lapis lazuli, jade, cornelian, turquoise…

the embroidery, suzanis, carpets, kilims, dhurries…

the mosaics, patterns, designs…

Arastan is an endeavour to share the history and culture of the Silk Road through a range of exquisite handcrafted products including silks, gems, carpets and ceramics. These are made by artisans and master craftsmen following centuries-old traditions, …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

    You can read about the reasons for closure.

    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

    Relive our travels and stories by browsing our articles and archives from the menus below.

  • Browse all our articles

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