Shopping in Uzbekistan: What to Buy, Where to Go, and What I Learned Exploring Central Asia’s Top Bazaars and Boutiques

Shopping in Uzbekistan is a wonderland for those interested in handicrafts and unique souvenirs. Across the country, markets and boutiques overflow with goods reminiscent of the country’s history as one of the most influential places on the Silk Road.

Uzbekistan’s prized skill in applied arts was so lauded back in the country’s glory days that craftsmen from Uzbekistan traveled to India to help build the Taj Mahal. It was Shah Jahan, a distant descendant of Uzbekistan’s notorious leader, Amur Timur, who commissioned the structure.

I found so many amazing things while shopping in Uzbekistan that I had to check an extra bag on my flight back home (I’ve never been one for traveling light). My experience shopping in Uzbekistan wasn’t purely commercial—I made so many meaningful connections with locals and learned tons about the culture during my exploration of bazaars across the country.

Shopping in Uzbekistan markets.

There are plenty of treasures to be found in the country that are unlike any other in the world—like the stunning handmade silk velvet ikat coat I’ve now worn to the office not once, but three times—but some souvenirs in Uzbekistan aren’t worth your time.

For as many unique goods fill Uzbekistan’s stalls, there’s an equal amount of imported objects from nearby countries like China and India that are better left alone.

The souvenirs and bazaars below are must-knows if you’re looking for the best things to buy in Uzbekistan.

Shopping in Uzbekistan. Best souvenirs to buy and markets to go to.

What to Buy in Uzbekistan: Best Souvenirs

Uzbek ikat fabric.
Feruza Ikat in Bukhara is one of the most robust ikat stores in Uzbekistan, offering high-quality ikat textiles made of cotton and silk.
Ikat fabric in Uzbekistan.
The ikat fabric above is a silk-ikat blend. This narrow width is the most typical for ikat textiles.

1. Ikat Fabric

Ikat textiles ruled the runways in the early 2010s, yet most fashion enthusiasts don’t know that Uzbekistan was behind several top couture collections.

Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta found himself collaborating with Rasuljon Mirzaakhmedov, a 5th generation silk weaver, to make unique ikat fabric in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley, hailing the pattern as versatile for all seasons.

To this day, the designer’s namesake fashion house still calls on Uzbekistan for its ikat needs, working with Bibi Hanum in Tashkent.

Ikat fabrics are woven by hand in Margilan, the capital of all ikat in Uzbekistan. The Ferghana Valley city is off the beaten path for most tourists to the country (and a lengthy train journey), but a must for textile enthusiasts. If you’re able to make the journey, stop into Yodgorlik Silk Factory to see how the fabric is made.

Ikat can be woven as lightweight cotton, a thick silk/cotton blend, pure silk, or silk velvet. It’s used for everything from traditional Uzbek clothing to vibrantly colored robes and furniture upholstery. Ikat is typically woven in extremely narrow widths (12 to 24 inches), which can limit its use.

If a visit to Margilan is out of the question, turn to one of the many ikat stores in Samarkand or Bukhara instead.

Ikat clothing can easily be found in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, or Khiva. Fabric by the meter isn’t as widely available. Bukhara has the highest concentration of ikat fabric, followed by Samarkand, which has a couple of stores that stock it. Though Tashkent has a couple of ikat retailers, they’re less accessible for tourists than in Samarkand and Bukhara.

Discover Uzbek ikat fabric online here.

Price of Ikat fabric in Uzbekistan:

  • Cotton ikat fabric (100%): $5 to $10 USD per meter (standard narrow width), $20 USD per meter (wide width)
  • 50/50 silk/cotton blend ikat fabric: $15 to $25 USD per meter
  • 70/30 silk/cotton blend ikat fabric: $20 to $25 USD per meter
  • 100% silk ikat fabric: $15 to $40 per meter

Where to buy Ikat fabric in Uzbekistan: 

  • Best quality: Feruza Ikat near Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara
  • Best value: Ikat by Asmira on Islam Karimov Street between Bibi Khanym Mosque and the Registan in Samarkand
  • Markets for ikat fabric in Uzbekistan: Kumtepa Bazaar in Margilan or Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara
Silk ikat robes and embroidered jackets at a cloth market in Uzbekistan.

2. Silk Jackets and Robes

Silk ikat robes and jackets grace the racks at markets across all of Uzbekistan’s most popular cities.

The lightweight pieces vary greatly in quality and price—silk/cotton blend robes at souvenir stores are usually less than $40. A 100% silk ikat robe could cost over $70 USD at a designer store.

Silk velvet ikat jackets are also popular, typically costing $40 USD or more. My silk velvet ikat coat from Ikat by Asmira started at $100 USD. I negotiated it down to $75 USD on the grounds that I was also purchasing several meters of ikat fabric.

I found the highest-quality silk robes and jackets at Ikat by Asmira in Samarkand and Feruza Ikat in Bukhara. Both stores take custom orders if you don’t find something you love.

Samarkand’s Islam Karimov Street (Tashkent Road) overall had the highest quality ikat clothing at the best price. Though Bukhara has nice pieces as well, pricing is typically better in Samarkand.

Price of silk jackets and robes in Uzbekistan:

Silk jackets and robes range from 180,000 to over 620,000 som ($15 to $50 USD) in Uzbekistan.

Where to buy silk jackets and robes in Uzbekistan: 

  • Luxury: Bibi Hanum in Tashkent
  • Best value: Ikat by Asmira on Islam Karimov Street (Tashkent Road) between Bibi Khanym Mosque and the Registan in Samarkand
  • Markets: Islam Karimov Street in Samarkand, Chorsu Milliy Kiyimlar Bozori in Tashkent, and Kumtepa Bazaar in Margilan
Embroidered jackets, one of the best souvenirs to buy in Uzbekistan.

3. Embroidered Jackets

The embroidery in Uzbekistan is incredible—hand-embroidered suzanis and colorful, quilted embroidered jackets decorate the streets of almost all of the country’s top cities for tourists.

Step into Samarkand’s Siyob Bazaar (Siyob Bozor) to try your hand at negotiating for one of these elaborate jackets. Lining the large food market are dozens of souvenir vendors with ikat robes, knickknacks, and yes—embroidered jackets.

Pricing varies greatly based on the jacket’s base material and the complexity of the embroidery. A simple jacket at a souvenir stall might be $40 USD, while a luxurious silk piece could be over $200 USD.

Embroidered jackets can be found for sale online here to give you an idea of style and design before you go.

Price of embroidered jackets in Uzbekistan:

Embroidered jackets in Uzbekistan range from 500,000 to over 1,850,000 som ($40 to $150 USD) depending on jacket length and quality

Where to buy embroidered jackets in Uzbekistan:

  • Best quality: Vendors in Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent
  • Best value: Vendors on Islam Karimov Street (Tashkent Road) in Samarkand
  • Most affordable: Vendors in Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
Silk scarves at Barakhan Madrasa in the Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Silk and wool scarves hang in a store at Barakhan Madrasa in the Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

4. Scarves and Pashminas

Most cashmere pashminas and silk scarves in Uzbekistan aren’t produced in the country but are imported from nearby India or China. Even imported, these scarves are far less expensive in Uzbekistan than in the United States or Europe.

That said, if you go to the right vendors, you’ll find some Uzbek-made silk scarves. My favorite vendor for scarves in Uzbekistan is located in Tashkent’s  Hazrati Imam Complex. When facing the interior of the madrasa from the entrance, the shop is located in the far right corner.

Not only was pricing fair for the above-average quality, but the shop owner and her daughter were warm and welcoming, engaging me in meaningful conversation for the better part of an hour.

Hazrati Imam Complex is undoubtedly the best place to buy scarves in Uzbekistan. Although pricing is higher than at typical souvenir stores in the country, the quality is far better and totally worth it.

In the far left corner of the madrasa, a vendor had beautiful embroidered pashminas that I’d never see again in the country (and still wish I’d bought).

I walked away with a gorgeous silk and felted camel wool scarf for my mother that I negotiated from 300,000 som ($24 USD) to 220,000 som ($17.50 USD).

Price of pashminas and silk scarves in Uzbekistan: 

  • Cashmere pashminas and embroidered silk: 185,000 to 310,000 som ($15 to $25 USD)
  • Silk scarves: 85,000 to 125,000 som ($7 to $10 USD)

Where to buy pashminas and silk scarves in Uzbekistan: 

  • Best quality: Vendors in the madrasa at Hazrati Imam Complex
  • Affordable: Vendors on Islom Karimov Street or Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
Traditional fur hats in Uzbekistan.

5. Fur Hats and Coats

It’s impossible to visit Bukhara without noticing the fur hats at souvenir shops. These funky hats can usually be rented for a simple photo or can be purchased.

Most vendors for these hats are located around Toqi Zargaron, a trading dome in Bukhara, and Kalon Minaret nearby. A couple of vendors have also set up shop inside Abdulaziz Khan Madrassah, though you’ll need to pay admission to get in.

Tourist traps aside, if you’re willing to venture into more local markets in Uzbekistan, you can find deals on genuine fur coats.

When in Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand, step past the produce vendors and souvenir stores and into the local part of the market around the corner. As you enter the crowded, covered market, you’ll emerge onto a steep, open-air hill crowded with vendors as far as the eye can see.

Descend down the hill, and you’ll find Shodiyona Shopping Center, a mall. On the ground floor of that mall, women’s fashion stores stock fur-trimmed coats in an array of colors, starting around $120 USD (the good stuff costs closer to $200 USD).

Price of fur hats and coats in Uzbekistan: 

  • Fur hats: 300,000 to 400,000 som ($24 to $32 USD)
  • Fur coats: $100 USD and above

Where to buy fur hats in Uzbekistan: 

  • Fur hats: Vendors around Toqi Zaragon in Bukhara and vendors in Itchan Kala in Khiva
  • Fur coats: Shodiyona Shopping Center in Samarkand
Traditional doppa and tubteika hats seen while shopping in Uzbekistan.

6. Embroidered and Crocheted Doppi and Tubeteika Hats

Fur hats aren’t the only headwear spotted around Uzbekistan. Doppi (doppa) and tubeteika are also common souvenirs. These hats, embellished with embroidery, are skullcaps worn around Central Asia and in Uyghur communities.

Doppi have four corners forming a square shape, while tubeteika are round.

In Uzbekistan, doppi and tubeteika are often covered in colorful embroidery, though you might also see more subdued versions featuring a velvet or felt base with single-colored embroidery.

Price of doppi hats in Uzbekistan:

Doppi and tubeteika cost 80,000 som to over 200,000 som ($6.40 to $16 USD) in Uzbekistan based on quality.

Where to buy doppi hats in Uzbekistan: 

  • Vendors in all of the madrassahs of the Registan in Samarkand
  • Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
  • Vendors in the madrassahs of Bukhara

7. Needlepoint Pouches

Needlepoint embroidery isn’t just for doppa in Uzbekistan. Flat, needlepoint pouches are easily found in souvenir bazaars in the country.

The practical souvenir won’t run you much or take up a lot of that precious luggage space—these bags typically only cost a few dollars and are thin and lightweight.

Negotiate these to a lower price by buying a few of them—they make for great gifts for friends and family.

Price of needlepoint bags in Uzbekistan:

When shopping in Uzbekistan, you can find needlepoint embroidered pouches for 50,000 to 75,000 som ($4 to $6 USD).

Where to buy needlepoint pouches in Uzbekistan: 

  • Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
  • Ark of Bukhara in Bukhara
Suzani blankets, one of the best things to buy when shopping in Uzbekistan.
Uzbek suzani embroidery.
The reverse side of these suzani tapestries proves that they’re made by hand and not machine embroidered.

8. Embroidered Suzanis

Uzbekistan’s most impressive embroidery can be found in its suzanis. The integral art form to Uzbek culture originated as a way to protect textiles and other belongings in yurts across Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Today, it’s still often used for home decor and furnishings.

Hand-embroidered and typically in the form of pillows, table runners, wall hangings, duvet covers, or prayer mats, at least one suzani is a must-have souvenir for any traveler in Uzbekistan.

Suzanis vary widely in quality—inexpensive suzani might have embroidery on cotton, while more expensive versions use silk as a base material. You’ll easily be able to tell the difference as silk suzani have a sheen to them, while cotton suzani has a matte appearance.

See stunning, intricate examples of hundreds-year-old suzanis at Tashkent’s Museum of Applied Arts, then buy one for yourself in one of the country’s bazaars. If you don’t want to drag one home, suzanis are available for sale online also.

I found the best suzanis were in Bukhara, though they required more negotiation than in Samarkand.

Understandably, suzani prices vary a lot based on size, material, and embroidery quality. Before you start negotiating your price, it’s essential to check the back of the suzani to ensure it’s actually hand-embroidered. You’ll know immediately if it is—hand-embroidered suzanis have small knots and threads on the backside.

Despite these being completely hand embroidered, they’re still relatively affordable—I was able to find a beautiful pomegranate suzani table runner for $10 USD, negotiated from $20 USD in Ulugʻbek Madrasasi in Bukhara.

Price of suzanis in Uzbekistan:

  • Suzani pillow cover: 60,000 to 125,000 som ($5 to $10 USD) for cotton suzani pillowcases
  • Suzani table runners and tapestries: 85,000 to 150,000 som ($7 to $12 USD) for cotton, over $20 USD for silk
  • Cotton suzani blanket: 430,000 to over 1,250,000 som ($35 to $100 USD) for cotton and upwards of $150 USD for silk-cotton blends, depending on size and quality. Prices tend to start over $100 USD, so you will need to negotiate with an aggressive first offer.

Where to buy suzanis in Uzbekistan: 

  • Vendors near Kalon Minaret in Bukhara
  • Vendors in Ulugʻbek Madrasasi in Bukhara
  • Vendors around Toqi Zargaron in Bukhara
  • Vendors in the Ark of Bukhara in Bukhara
Embroidered bags seen while shopping in Uzbekistan.

9. Embroidered Bags

If a small needlepoint pouch or suzani pillow isn’t cutting it for you, try tracking down a larger embroidered bag instead—one of the Uzbekistan souvenirs you can use daily.

Large embroidered tote bags are not quite as common as embroidered jackets, needlepoint pouches, and home decor, and as a result, tend to have a slightly higher premium than the other items.

I mostly saw these bags across Bukhara. Unlike the sturdy silk velvet tote bags found in high-end stores, these are normally flimsy cotton bags made of inexpensive cotton, embroidered in the suzani style.

Price of embroidered tote bags in Uzbekistan:

Based on quality and size, embroidered tote bags cost around 175,000 to over 300,000 som ($14 to $24 USD) in Uzbekistan.

Where to buy embroidered tote bags in Uzbekistan: 

  • Vendors across all of the trading domes and bazaars in Bukhara
  • Vendors in Itchan Kala in Khiva
  • Dor-Us Siyadat Complex in Shakrisabz

10. Silver Jewelry

Traditional Uzbek accessories have some serious style. After seeing beautiful examples of finely detailed silver jewelry at the Museum of Applied Arts in Tashkent, the jewelry sold at bazaars in Samarkand and Bukhara started piquing my interest.

Unfortunately, much of the silver jewelry in Uzbekistan sold in souvenir stores doesn’t use high-quality 925 sterling silver—instead, it’s 800 silver or lower. For that reason, I didn’t walk away with any Kashgar Boldak (traditional dome-shaped earrings) knowing that it would only irritate my ears.

If you don’t have metal allergies and love the ornate, bohemian style of Uzbek jewelry, you’ll be in heaven shopping the markets for these pieces.

Price of silver jewelry in Uzbekistan:

Silver jewelry prices vary a lot in Uzbekistan depending on quality. Expect to pay 120,000 to 800,000 som ($9.50 to $64 USD).

Where to buy silver jewelry in Uzbekistan:

  • Vendors in Khorezm
  • Vendors across markets in Bukhara
  • Alay Bazaar in Tashkent (Oloy Bozori)
Obi non, traditional Uzbek bread at a market in Tashkent.

11. Bread Stamps

As I strolled down the streets of Tashkent during my first day in Uzbekistan, it became obvious that bread is a big deal in the country.

The fluffy, circular bread sold at carts and in bazaars across the country is known as obi non or lepeshka. In the center, a distinct design is stamped into the loaf.

This design varies by region in Uzbekistan both in pattern and in color—you’ll notice that designs in Samarkand might be simple with seeds decorating the loaf, while in Bukhara, designs are larger and more intricate.

Am obi non will run you around $1 USD in Tashkent and Samarkand. If you want to try your hand at making it at home, pick up a bread stamp in Samarkand or Bukhara—truly one of the most unique souvenirs in Uzbekistan.

I shopped around for several bread stamps while in Uzbekistan for friends and family at home who enjoy baking and might like to use them as a pie stamp.

It was at Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand that I got the best price, thanks to a tip from one of the housekeepers at my hotel, who pointed me to the local side of the market.

There’s a vendor at the top of the hill in the part of the market behind the souvenir shops that sells bread stamps, though you’ll find far better quality if you go down to the bottom of the hill.

When looking down the hill, my favorite vendor for them is on the bottom right corner—the shopkeeper actually stopped me from purchasing the lower quality stamps at her store, despite them being the same price.

Bread stamp prices in Samarkand were non-negotiable and solidly 15,000 som ($1.20 USD) for a three- to four-inch stamp. In Bukhara, stamp designs were prettier but far more expensive. A vendor near Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara quoted me 150,000 som ($12 USD) for a five- to six-inch stamp.

Unless you’re an avid breadmaker or pie enthusiast, stick to buying your bread stamps in Samarkand or online, as they can be tricky to take home.

Price of bread stamps in Uzbekistan:

Bread stamp prices vary by size in Uzbekistan, typically costing 15,000 som ($1.20 USD) in Samarkand, 130,000 to 250,000 som ($10.50 USD to $20 USD) in Bukhara

Where to buy bread stamps in Uzbekistan:

  • Most affordable: Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
  • Best quality: Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara
Dried fruit and nuts at Chorsu Bazaar, one of the biggest markets in Uzbekistan.
Chorsu Bazaar is one of the top markets for shopping in Uzbekistan for dried fruit, nuts, and spices.

12. Dried Fruit and Candied Nuts

Dried fruit and all kinds of nuts—candied, raw, and roasted are to be found in Uzbekistan’s many food markets.

The top floor of Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent is a haven for them. Tables are stacked high with toppling buckets and boxes of dried fruits, nuts, and spices as vendors call out to passersby.

Frosted Afghan almonds, known as nuql or nuqal, are among the most popular nuts to buy in food markets, along with dried apricots and golden raisins.

Prices for dried fruit and nuts are far less expensive in Uzbekistan than in the West. At Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent, I was quoted 105,000 to 150,000 som ($8.50 to $12 USD) for a kilogram of frosted almonds, but I was able to negotiate down to 45,000 som ($3.60 USD) for a half kilogram.

Price of dried fruit and nuts in Uzbekistan:

Dried fruit and nuts are sold by the kilogram in Uzbekistan for 60,000 to 200,000 som ($4.80 to $16 USD) depending on the variety.

Where to buy dried fruit and nuts in Uzbekistan: 

  • Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent (upper level)
  • Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand

13. Wooden Goods

Hand-carved wooden goods, like book stands, boxes, and decorative plates, are among the most beautiful souvenirs to take home from Uzbekistan, but they’re also among the most expensive.

I was a little sticker-shocked when small painted wooden hair clips were $10 USD each in Tashkent (even more in Bukhara) compared to the prices for the exhaustive hand-embroidered suzani I saw.

That said, you’ll still be able to save money compared to prices at home and will walk away with a true work of art to remember all of the wood carvings to be found in Uzbekistan’s mesmerizing landmarks. It’s tough to find these complex wooden goods online, so you should splurge in the country if you’re eyeing one.

Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent also has several high-quality vendors for wooden goods, though the old bazaar of Khiva often receives the most attention for its woodcarving.

Bukhara, Fergana, Khiva, Samarkand, and Tashkent remain the country’s core centers for woodcarving schools—each with its own distinct style—so you should be able to find pieces worthy of taking home regardless of where you are.

Price of wooden goods in Uzbekistan:

  • Wooden plate: 180,000 to over 1,250,000 som ($14 to $100 USD) depending on size and intricacy
  • Wooden box: 130,000 to over 560,000 som ($10 to $45 USD) based on size and carvings
  • Painted wooden magnets: $4 to $7 USD
  • Painted wooden hair clips:  $7 to $12 USD

Where to buy wooden goods in Uzbekistan:

  • Bazaars in Khiva
  • Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent
  • Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara
Uzbek ceramic plates and tiles.

14. Painted Ceramic Plates and Goods

If the tile-clad landmarks that attract tourists to Uzbekistan weren’t already an indication, the art of ceramics is one of the oldest forms of applied arts in the country, according to UNESCO.

Ceramics in Uzbekistan vary in shape and pattern, based on the ceramic school that produced it, explains the Embassy of Uzbekistan. These schools are centered in Tashkent, Samarkand, Khorezm, Gijduvan and Rishtan.

In the Fergana Valley and Khorezm, old ishkor glaze is used to produce azure tones, while in cities like Bukhara, Samarkand, and Tashkent, ceramicware is painted with lead glaze, which allows for a broader range of colors.

For the most traditional ceramics in Uzbekistan, visit Rishton (Rishtan), the oldest ceramic center in central Asia—the majority of ceramics you’ll see in Uzbekistan are from this city in the Fergana Valley.

Avoid worrying about breaking a plate on the way home by buying this souvenir online instead.

Price of ceramics in Uzbekistan:

  • Large plate: 140,000 to 250,000 som ($11 to $20 USD)
  • Cup and saucer: 50,000 to 70,000 som ($4 to $5.50 USD)
  • Tea set: 150,000 to 250,000 som ($12 to $20 USD)

Where to buy ceramics in Uzbekistan:

  • International Ceramics Center in Rishtan
  • Gijduvan Ceramics of The Narzullaevs in Gijduvan
  • Toqi Sarrofon in Bukhara
Painted Christmas ornaments for sale at a mosque in Uzbekistan.

15. Painted Christmas Ornaments

Whenever I travel, I must track down a souvenir Christmas ornament. Christmas ornaments don’t take up much space in a suitcase, and once a year, I get a fun reminder of where I’ve been without needing cheesy tourist souvenirs on display at all times.

I was losing hope that I’d find a Christmas ornament in Uzbekistan before visiting Tilla-Kari Madrassah in Samarkand. Ironically, several vendors inside of Tilla-Kari Madrassah’s mosque sell detailed hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

Better prices for Christmas ornaments are to be found in Samarkand’s Siyob Bazaar, but the selection is best in the mosque. I didn’t find Christmas ornaments anywhere else in Uzbekistan but Samarkand.

Price of Christmas ornaments in Uzbekistan:

Painted Christmas ornaments cost $5 to $20 USD in Uzbekistan, depending on size.

Where to buy Christmas ornaments in Uzbekistan:

  • Tilla-Kori Madrassah in Samarkand
  • Vendors in Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand

16. Babaychiki Figurines

Vendors aren’t the only friendly faces in Uzbekistan’s markets. Babaychiki, traditional figurines in Uzbekistan, smile up at shopping tourists dressed in national clothing.

These figurines, made of clay, come in a range of sizes and represent everyday life in the country. Some hold large ceramic vases covered in an ikat pattern, while others have their hands full of obi non (traditional bread).

If you’re shopping for younger friends and family, consider buying one of Uzbekistan’s national dolls instead of a babaychiki. These Uzbek dolls, made of wood and textiles, are usually inexpensive, ranging from $3 to $12 USD.

Price of Babaychiki figurines in Uzbekistan:

  • Small babaychiki: 20,000 to 40,000 som ($1.60 to $3.20 USD)
  • Large babaychiki: Up to 150,000 to 200,000 som ($12 to $16 USD)

Where to buy Babaychiki figurines in Uzbekistan:

  • Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
  • Markets in Bukhara

17. Hand Forged Steel Knives

In Uzbekistan, even knife-making is an art. In the country’s knife-making towns of Chust and Shakhrikhan (Shahrixon) in the Fergana Valley, artisans turn steel into sharp blades.

Known as pichok (pichoq, pchak), which translates into “knife,” this traditional Uzbek knife made of hand-forged steel is a favorite souvenir for tourists. Shakhrikhan, home to Uzbekistan’s oldest and most skilled blacksmiths, is where the most desirable knives are from.

Knives in Uzbekistan vary widely in price based on quality and length. If you’re sticking to the tourist route, most knives are to be found in Bukhara. Stepping off the beaten tourist path and venturing into Chust and Shahkhrikhan will reward travelers with better prices and selection.

If you pick up knives in Uzbekistan, make sure you’re ready for their upkeep. These knives should be regularly oiled to prevent rust and wiped dry before being stored.

Price of knives in Uzbekistan:

The price of knives in Uzbekistan varies by size and steel quality, but they usually cost between 200,000 and 1,250,000 som ($16 to $100 USD).

Where to buy knives in Uzbekistan:

  • Bazaars in Chust, in the Fergana Valley
  • Bazaar of Shahrixon (Shakhrikhan) in the Fergana Valley
  • The market near Kalon Minaret in Bukhara
Engraved copper plates, one of the most popular Uzbekistan souvenirs.

18. Copper Plates

Copper plates in Uzbekistan are a marvel. Outside of Toqi Zargaron in Bukhara, a copper worker chips away at a plate, which will eventually be filled with intricate embossing like the others for sale, possibly further illustrated by brightly colored enamel.

Taking home one of these plates is easier said than done. Pricing varies widely, making it difficult to know what a fair price really is. Start with a lowball offer and work from there, keeping in mind that this will be a pricier souvenir purchase.

I found the majority of these plates in Bukhara, where artisans use a form of deep embossing known as kandkori. Khiva, Samarkand, Kokand, Karshi, Shahrisabz, and the Fergana Valley are also considered centers for this art form.

Price of copper plates in Uzbekistan:

Large copper plates range in price from 650,000 to 2,000,000 som ($52 to $160 USD) in Uzbekistan.

Where to buy copper plates in Uzbekistan:

  • Vendors around Toqi Zaragon in Bukhara
  • Ark of Bukhara in Bukhara
Silk rugs for sale at a market in Uzbekistan.

19. Rugs

Two types of rugs are commonly sold across Uzbekistan: oriental silk rugs and camel wool rugs. Camel wool rugs tend to be more traditional, often featuring Uzbek motifs. Silk rugs are usually oriental rugs.

These days, many Uzbek rugs aren’t made in Uzbekistan at all but in neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Carpets made in Uzbekistan often hail from the Fergana Valley, Khiva, and Samarkand. In Samarkand, the Samarkand Bukhara Silk Carpets Factory allows visitors to see how rugs are woven.

Rug prices in Uzbekistan vary a lot, so it’s tough to give a true fair price you should expect to pay. Familiarize yourself with pricing for similar rugs at home or look at Uzbek rugs online before you go to determine if you feel you’re getting a good deal.

Stay skeptical when shopping in Uzbekistan for rugs—vendors have been known to grossly exaggerate the age of their rugs to make them sound like coveted antiques.

Price of rugs in Uzbekistan:

  • Silk rugs: 6,000,000 to over 15,000,000 som ($475 to $1,200 USD) depending on size and quality
  • Uzbek camel wool rugs: 2,500,000 to over 6,500,000 som ($200 to $520 USD) based on size and quality

Where to buy rugs in Uzbekistan:

  • Silk rugs: Vendors in Itchan Kala in Khiva
  • Uzbek rugs: Vendors in the market around Kalon Minaret in Bukhara

Where to Go Shopping in Uzbekistan: Best Bazaars (Markets) and Boutiques

Vendors at Chorsu Bazaar, one of the biggest markets for shopping in Uzbekistan.
In Chorsu Bazaar, vendors for pickles and dairy are on the outer rings of the ground floor, while butchers occupy the center rings.

Chorsu Bazaar

Chorsu Bazaar is one of my favorite places to go shopping in Uzbekistan. You won’t find souvenirs here, outside of some dried fruit, nuts, spices, and tea, but the market is still a must-go when in Tashkent to experience shopping in Uzbekistan as a local.

The first floor of Chorsu Bazaar is stuffed to the brim with butchers and women selling traditional pickles of all varieties and fresh dairy products.

Upstairs, vendors call out to shoppers, enticing them with loaded tables of dried fruit, nuts, tea, and spices. They won’t take no for an answer when they offer you free samples of these delicacies—you’ll leave not needing lunch.

Outside of Chorsu Bazaar is the product market, where small mountains are made of fairytale-esque pumpkins and tables are filled with fruit, vegetables, and grains.

Sailgokh Street, known for antique shopping in Uzbekistan.
Antique vendors sit on Sailkgokh Street during daylight hours.

Sailgokh Street

Sailgokh Street is one of the most unique places to go shopping in Uzbekistan. Known for its antique market, it’s best experienced in the early evening, when young locals hang out for the carnival games, street food, shopping, and many ping-pong tables.

Antique vendors lay out their treasures on bed sheets, rugs, and blankets, ranging from Soviet war memorabilia to darling vintage boxes and even Florida license plates. A few vendors selling canvas paintings are scattered in the mix.

Stick to window shopping at Sailgokh Street. The Uzbek government bans the export of antiques over 50 years old in an effort to protect its cultural heritage.

Barakhan Madrasa at Hazrati Imam Complex, one of the best places to go shopping in Uzbekistan.
Barakhan Madrasa is located at the back of Hazrati Imam Complex, behind the mosque and museum.

Hazrati Imam Complex

Barakhan Madrasah at Hazrati Imam Complex in Tashkent is a treasure, mostly because the goods are expensive and of high quality.

It’s at this madrasah that I found some of the highest quality souvenirs in Uzbekistan, some of which I wouldn’t be able to find again in the country (though not for lack of trying).

Skip the large fixed-price souvenir shop in the back, and stick to the smaller vendors in the courtyard.

Siyob Bazaar, a popular market in Samarkand for shopping in Uzbekistan.

Siyob Bazaar

Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand is not what meets the eye. While most tourists stick to strolling the market’s large produce area and shopping the souvenir stores, an entire world exists around the corner.

After buying your fair share of halva (a honey, butter, and flour sweet found across Samarkand) in the produce market and haggling for a few souvenirs, pick up a refreshing glass of fresh pomegranate juice and exit the market onto Imom Al-Bukhoriy Street, just before Shah-i-Zinda Street.

Here, you’ll find a separate entrance into a covered market mostly consisting of fabric and trim vendors. Walk through the market, and you’ll emerge onto a hill that has everything from home appliances to shoe vendors.

At the bottom of this hill is my favorite vendor for bread stamps. Pick up a couple, then continue to Shodiyona Shopping Center, the mall at the bottom of the hill.

Ikat shopping in Uzbekistan.
Ikat by Asmira is high-end ikat boutique on Samarkand’s Islam Karimov Street (Tashkent Road).

Islam Karimov Street (Tashkent Road)

Islam Karimov Street (formerly known as Tashkent Road) connects Bibi-Khanym Mosque and the Registan in Samarkand, offering ample opportunities for souvenir shopping along the way.

Vendors on this road tend to have better quality than those in Siyob Bazaar—and they know it. Prices are higher, but at bespoke ikat tailors, like Ikat by Asmira, the elevated pricing is justified by far superior quality.

Islam Karimov Street is the best place to buy textile goods in Samarkand, such as ikat robes and silk scarves.

Fergana Valley

Despite your best negotiation tactics in Samarkand and Bukhara, the best price (and quality) for Uzbek handicrafts is still probably found in the Fergana Valley.

The Fergana Valley is home to several craft villages. Shop Kumtepa Bazaar in Margilan, the city where most ikat textile weaving is done in Uzbekistan. Stop by the bazaar of Shahkhrikhan where blacksmiths are regarded for their knife-making mastery. At the International Ceramics Center in Rishtan, potters craft unique home goods, supplying the majority of Uzbekistan’s souvenir stores.

Tilya Kori madrasa at the Registan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Tilya-Kori Madrassah

The mosque in Tilya-Kori Madrassah in Samarkand’s Registan is a must-visit stop in the city, regardless if you’re shopping, for its enchanting architecture.

When your neck starts getting tired from looking up at the ceiling, turn your attention to the mosque’s vendors. Beautiful suzani and rugs are on display to the left of the entrance, while to the right, vendors sell hand-painted goods such as small paintings and Christmas ornaments.

Prices are much steeper than at the souvenir stores in Siyob Bazaar, and some of the goods are the same. Start your shopping at Siyob Bazaar before heading to Tilya-Kori to ensure you’re getting a fair price or something truly one-of-a-kind.

Trading domes in Bukhara, Uzbekistan for shopping.
Toqi Zargaron, seen above, is one of the historic trading domes in Bukhara.

Trading Domes of Bukhara

Tim Abdullah Khan Trading Dome, Toqi Sarrofon, Toqi Telpak Furushon, and Toqi Zargaron are Bukhara’s historic trading domes. They’re a must-go when shopping in Uzbekistan.

Haggle, and haggle a lot. The bazaars and fixed-price stores in and around Bukhara’s trading domes can be pricier than in other markets in Uzbekistan.

Despite the premium pricing, Bukhara’s trading domes were by far one of my favorite places to shop in Uzbekistan—they had some of the best souvenirs I saw, and a wide array of Uzbek applied arts.

Itchan Kala

Itchan Kala is the walled old town of Khiva. A World Heritage Site, the town itself is worth a visit—the shopping is a bonus.

Vendors line the streets of Itchan Kala, selling souvenirs and handicrafts. Hand-embroidered suzanis, glazed ceramics, silk scarves, carved wooden decor, and camel wool garments are all on display in this open-air craft fair.

Madrasa open for shopping in Uzbekistan.
Doppa and tubeteika hats for sale at Abdulaziz Khan Madrassah in Bukhara.

Mosques and Madrasahs Open to Tourists

Though I doubt you’ll ever be without shopping in Uzbekistan if you find yourself unable to find souvenir stores, turn to the town’s landmarks.

Vendors tend to station themselves in and around mosques and madrassahs (historic Islamic schools).

I usually find pricing at mosques and madrassahs to be premium compared to local bazaars, but you may be able to get a good deal if you’re visiting on a slow day for tourism.

Shopping in Uzbekistan at local stores and markets.

What to Know Before Shopping in Uzbekistan

How to Negotiate Prices in Uzbekistan

If you’re new to negotiating, Uzbekistan is an amazing place to start. Shopkeepers tend to be friendlier and less pushy than in other countries I’ve traveled to (shopping the Marrakech souks is not for the weak).

Overall, you don’t need to start negotiations quite as low as you do in countries like Vietnam, Morocco, or Turkey.

Starting with a price of 25% to 50% of what the vendor initially offered is a good place to begin, with the expectation that you’ll likely land somewhere in the middle. If it’s really too low, the vendor will just shake their head and won’t bother to counter.

Familiarize yourself with prices in advance to gauge your initial offer. There were a few times, in Bukhara especially, where prices were so inflated that I offered a price 80 to 85% less than what the seller first stated to land somewhere around 60% off.

Negotiation works in some, but not all boutiques, depending on what you’re buying. I managed to be offered anywhere from 15% to 25% off in stores.

In markets for household goods and clothing typically reserved for locals, such as that hidden behind Siyob Bozor in Samarkand, prices were widely fixed but extremely fair and much lower than those geared towards tourists.

Ceramic teapots at an antique store in Uzbekistan.
These beautiful ceramic teapots were found at a large antique store across the street from Chor Minor Madrasa in Bukhara.

Cash is Required for Shopping in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is surprisingly modern in many ways (the high-speed trains come to mind) but still old-fashioned in others.

Though credit card transactions are starting to become more popular, the country is still widely cash-based, especially when shopping in Uzbekistan.

At one point, ATMs in the country didn’t accept foreign debit cards, and a black market currency exchange played out on the sidewalks, but that’s now changed due to the government embracing tourism and cracking down on illegal cash trading.

Most ATMs in Uzbekistan accept foreign credit cards from regions like the United States and Europe without issue. The one time my card was rejected was because the machine ran out of cash, not because my bank wasn’t accepted.

Bring a few hundred dollars in your local currency just in case your card is accepted. The easiest place to exchange it into Uzbekistani som is at the Tashkent airport currency exchange in the baggage claim.

It’s rare to see currency exchange on the sidewalks these days, but if you do, avoid it. It’s highly illegal and carries a high risk of counterfeit bills. Those still in the game tend to target bazaars popular with tourists (I was approached at Siyob Bazaar).

Don’t Withdraw Too Much Cash

When you withdraw cash at an ATM in Uzbekistan, you’re unlikely to find anywhere to exchange back what’s leftover at the end of the trip.

Tashkent’s simple international airport lacks the typical tourist trappings of larger cities. There are a couple of information desks selling SIM cards, a single ATM, and a few baggage claims when disembarking. The lone currency exchange is only for arrivals before leaving the security area, not departures.

Check-in at the terminal is similar. Currency exchange desks do not exist in the departures area, though there are a smattering of souvenir shops that might take your som. Some, however, prefer euros.

ATMs are readily available in all of Uzbekistan’s major cities and are safe to use. Withdraw only as much as you think you need—you can always go back for more.

Shopping in Uzbekistan at a local market.
Don’t let this shopkeeper’s stoic expression fool you—he was so friendly and excited to pose for a photo.

Interacting with Shopkeepers in Uzbekistan

I’ve never had a more positive experience shopping at local markets than I did in Uzbekistan. Shopkeepers are generally warm and friendly.

When you decline an offer, you won’t be followed or harassed. Instead, you might get some good-natured last-ditch attempts to close the sale and a friendly wave goodbye if you still decline.

One of the best moments of my trip happened when I was shopping in Tashkent. At the Hazrati Imam Complex, I strolled into a scarf store and met a shopkeeper and her daughter.

What began as a quick stop turned into a heartwarming conversation that lasted almost 45 minutes. It ended with a warm hug and the shopkeeper saying, “You really remind me of a daughter.”

This is a country for community—don’t rush shopping in Uzbekistan. Take your time, talk to the locals, and set aside your nerves about reaching out.

Uzbek Phrases for Shopping in Uzbekistan

English is becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation in Uzbekistan, however, many people in the country only speak Uzbek. Older locals might speak Uzbek and Russian.

In my experience, the calculator app on your phone goes a long way in easing price negotiations in foreign countries, but it is important to know a few phrases in the local language.

Keep the following Uzbek phrases in mind when shopping in Uzbekistan:

  • Hello (informal): Salom (sah-laam)
  • Hello (formal): Assalomu alaykum (ah-salaam ah-lay-koum)
  • How much? (informal): Qancha?
  • How much is this? (formal): Buning narhi qancha?
  • Yes: Ha
  • No: Yo’q
  • Thank you: Rahmat
  • Goodbye: Xayr
Dried fruit and nuts at Chorsu Bazaar, a large food market in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Know Uzbekistan’s Customs Restrictions

Sailgokh Street is one of the most unique places for shopping in Uzbekistan, but you’ll need to be careful if you do.

In an effort to prevent the smuggling of cultural heritage, Uzbekistan has a law banning the export of antiques over 50 years old unless permission has been granted by the Ministry of Culture and Sport.

If you’re unsure whether the antique you’re eyeing is legal, skip it.

Buying dried fruit and nuts can also cause issues for tourists shopping in Uzbekistan. Check your country’s local import laws to make sure those sweet apricots and inexpensive almonds won’t be taken on your arrival home.

As a general rule of thumb for US citizens, fruit and nuts that have been cooked, baked, or otherwise processed are usually fine to bring back. Uzbekistan’s candied almonds and dried tea are totally okay—mine were declared and left alone.

Embroidered suzani blankets, one of the best Uzbekistan souvenirs to buy.

Shopping in Uzbekistan: FAQ

What kinds of shops are popular in Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan has a mix of small souvenir stores and boutiques, as well as open local markets with vendor stalls and modern indoor shopping malls.

Is Uzbekistan a good country for shopping?

Uzbekistan’s unique ikat silk, hand-embroidered suzanis, and other local goods make it an amazing shopping destination—as long as you know what to buy. It’s easy to get a good deal on high-quality items in Uzbekistan. However, some are better left purchasing in other countries as many souvenirs are imported.

How expensive is Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan is an inexpensive country to travel to if you are a Western tourist as the US dollar and the Euro are strong compared to the som, the country’s local currency. Hotels and restaurants are generally very affordable, as are popular souvenirs such as ikat robes, silk scarves, and hand-embroidered goods.

Follow:
Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.