The bazaar was within a half hours walking distance from where we lived, we decided to learn how to get there by foot. Tamara said that we could get to the bazaar either through a main thoroughfare, Masaliev street, or cut across the Uzbek neighborhood called a mahalla. She was a little nervous about getting us lost in the maze of walls that make up the Mahalla neighborhood, but after taking a general consensus of the group she decided to walk us through.
This neighborhood was a complete break from Russian colonial and Soviet architecture found in other parts of the city. Our initial observation of this place was that it had been built in an organic way. Many of the streets were barely wide enough to accommodate automobiles. It seemed tightly knit with walls and ornate doorways, narrow and interlocking streets, fruit trees in front of walls. We spotted pomegranate, quince, apple, djida (a little fruit that resembles a small apple), fig, mulberry, grapes in vines shading buildings and rosehips. Children and women milled about the streets. Most of the women had their heads covered. The children played on the street and stared at us quietly.
As we walked through the Mahalla we were curious about what was behind the walled compounds. Each of these buildings had distinctly large doors with ornate woodwork above and along the roof line. Some of the doors were ajar and you could catch glimpses of the inner life of the houses. Each had a courtyard with buildings that faced inward. Windows with wood-paned glass reflected through the space. Tamara was able to find a woman that let us inside one of these buildings. She was the older daughter-in-law in a household of three families.
Eventually we found our way out of the labyrinth and ended up on the path to the bazaar. The path followed the river with shade trees and an old chaikhana (Tea House).
We crossed the river over an old bridge and entered an amusement park with a number of rides and attractions. We arrived at the bazaar through a small tunnel underneath a bridge. The tunnel was dark with vendors selling shoes and clothes crammed on both sides. From here we entered the noisy bazaar.