Tajikistan: Khujand – Panjshanbe Bazaar
And the title for the most iconic, authentic, hectically original, and awesomely spectacular market goes to the Panjahanbe Bazaar in Khujand. Located right across the city’s old mosques and facing the Registan Square, the covered bazaar and the surrounding open area flooded with sellers is totally the place to experience Tajikistan and its people, culture, and cuisine! The bazaar is a feast for all senses, bursting with colors, smells, sounds, and visual candy of authenticity. Anything and everything is here – appetizing Tajik round breads, nuts (loads of almond types) and spices, pickled vegetable (including the wild mountain garlic that I think I could eat pound after pound), all sort of varieties of rice, butcher and dried meats. Oh, and fruits – sweet lemons, massive watermelons, ultrasweet cantaloupes, pomegranates bursting at the seams with juicy insides, chocolate and regular persimmons (wow!), apples and pears, and more! The bazaar building is also quite spectacular, with decorated painted roof and columns and second floor bridges and overpasses.