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Monumental Shopping Arcades


Monumental Shopping Arcades. Toki Zargaron. Toki Telpak-furushon. Toki Sarrafon

On the main streets of medieval Bukhara they used to build domed shopping arcades. Three of them, built in the 16th century, have survived to the present day. Toki Zargaron (‘Dome of Jewelers’) is located at the intersection of two arterial roads next to Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrassah. Tok means ‘an arch’ or ‘a vault’; this word was also used to call the street shopping arcades. The four vaulted passages of Toki Zargaron opened to Great Silk Road caravans to come in. The large ribbed dome with 16 windows stands on an octahedral base. And all around there cluster smaller domes topping craftsmen’s workrooms and shops. The spacious and cool halls under these domes accommodated over 30 workrooms and shops of jewelers who manufactured and sold here rings, earrings, necklaces, stamps, splendid settings for weapons…

The shopping arcade Toki Telpak-furushon (‘Dome of Headgear Salespersons’) comprised 5 streets fanning extensively. By means of cranked turnings skillful constructors transformed the streets into a regular hexahedral base. The central dome crowning Toki Telpak-furushon has a circle of windows. In the past the shops met the customers with abundance of turbans, fur hats, and skullcaps embroidered with silk and decorated with beads.

At the Y-intersection of two streets, one of which ran right to the city’s central square – Registan Square, there rises Toki Sarrafon (‘Dome of Moneychangers’). Recent archeological excavations showed that over a thousand years ago at the site of Toki Saraffon there used to be a building that had suffered heavy fire damage. The building was provided with a sewerage system; its residents used high-quality earthenware. The latest coins found there during the excavations date from the 10th century. Within 400 years, from the 11th through the 15th centuries, the building was reconstructed several times and was adapted at one moment for a ceramic workshop, at another for a glass-blowing shop. In the 16th century the dome of Toki Sarrafon was erected on the ancient baked brick foundations. Under its four intersecting arches there is a passage. The very name of the dome is evidence to the fact that in the Middle Ages Bukhara was one of the largest trading centers on the Great Silk Road. Here the local merchants could exchange their money for foreign currencies before leaving for far-away lands, whereas foreign merchants readily acquired Bukhara’s coins.

Today under the three ancient domes there is a busy life, too. Just like in the Middle Ages the structure houses craftsmen shops where tourists can buy a memory token of their trip: a skullcap with gold embroidery, a metal tray with beautiful engravings, a ceramic dish, a jewelry box with beautiful painting or carving…

Sightseeing Places in Bukhara

The Samanids Mausoleum Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum
Kalyan Mosque Kalyan Minaret
Miri-Arab Madrassah Chor-Minor Madrassah
Modari-khan Madrassah Abdullakhan Madrassah
Ulugbek Madrassah Abdulazizkhan Madrassah
Lyabi-Hauz Architectural Complex Chor-Bakr Necropolis
Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace Magoki-Attori Mosque
Bolo-Khauz Mosque Bakhouddin Nakhsbandi Complex
The Ark Fortress Monumental Shopping Arcades
Abdullakhan Tim Abu Ali ibn Sino Museum
The sixteenth century bathhouses Ancient Settlement of Paykend