Markets and Souvenirs
Find everything from dried fruit and nuts to local handicrafts!
You’ll know you’re truly in Central Asia when you visit the markets and bazaars in Osh, some of which have been in continuous operation for hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of years! As an important stop on the Great Silk Road, Osh welcomed traders, merchants, and travelers as an oasis of hospitality, rest, and economic activity. That spirit still lives today.
No Central Asian traveler should leave the region without experiencing the bustle and hum of activity at a local bazaar. And for the truly curious, head to an early morning animal market as locals engage in lively negotiations that are sure to entertain. Whether you’re in search of the perfect souvenir, a bag of nuts or dried fruit for your upcoming trek, spices to take home with you to make plov at home, or if you’re simply guided by curiosity, you’ll find a friendly welcome and all you need at our markets and souvenir shops.
Also referred to as the Osh Bazaar, this is one of the region’s oldest marketplaces, dating back 2,000 years and representing the trading legacy of the Silk Road, where traders, merchants, and travelers have converged for millennia. Wander the alleys today and you’ll still feel the unique blend of cultures as peruse stalls flush with fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, nuts, local textiles (look for the colorful Uzbek ikat designs), traditional clothing, handicrafts and souvenirs, musical instruments, and much more. This market is a welcoming place for travelers — show your curiosity and you’ll be treated to smiles and an opportunity to taste before you buy. The market is huge, so don’t be surprised if you get lost a few times — that’s half the fun! That said, pick up a free Jayma Bazaar map from the Destination Osh Visitor Center for detailed information and a suggested route to experience the best of the the bazaar.
What to Buy:
Dried fruits and nuts, spices, Kyrzyz and Uzbek-design fabrics and clothing, Kyrgyz musical instruments, handicrafts and other souvenirs.
One of the oldest streets of Osh is located under the northern slope of Sulaiman-Too and is known locally as "Craftsmen Street." This is where local craftsmen of varying trades — from leather to handmade knives and other metal works — set up workshops. Take a walk along this street (formerly known as Alibastorov Street) and the nearby mahalla (traditional neighborhood) to meet the different masters, including Zakir Jon who has been making handmade knives here for almost 60 years. These handmade knives also make a great gift for friends or family members who love to cook.
What to Buy:
Handmade leather, knives, and other metal works.
If you haven’t yet experienced a Central Asian animal market, then you should certainly make time for it in Osh. Animal markets are a place where shepherds, farmers, and ordinary citizens gather to buy, sell, and trade cattle. It’s entertaining to witness the negotiations, as languages, cultures, and opinions collide between locals. The final moment of the negotiation — a vigorous and hard-won handshake — seals the deal. It’s a unique and memorable experience that is best visited before midday at locations both in and around Osh. Tip: Wear shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty as this is akin to visiting an active farm! Animal market locations: Sunday mornings in the outskirts of Osh. Monday mornings in Uzgen. Thursday mornings in Kashgar village (about 13km from Osh, just beyond the airport).
What to See:
Animals in every color, shape and size and feisty negotiations between locals.
Locals sell their own home-grown fruits and vegetables at this local agricultural bazaar, which makes for a fun experience to see the seasonal items grown in home gardens. Even in the city, the Fergana Valley’s rich soil allows local to grow an abundance of fresh food. If you’re cooking a meal while in town, or hoping to stock up on seasonal fruits like cherries, apricots, and more, then head here to shop like a local and truly experience the pace of life in Osh.
What to Buy and Eat:
Fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables and local milk products
This bazaar is convenient to many of the guesthouses in Osh and has a range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and bread. Although it’s not a classic Central Asian bazaar, it’s open late into the evening (unlike the other bazaars in town). You’d do better to shop for bargains at Jayma Bazaar if you have the time as it features better prices and a fun vibe, but Frunze is still a great alternative (and fresher than the local supermarkets).
What to Buy:
Fresh fruit, vegetable, and other groceries.
Incredibly, this shop is the first one to open in all of southern Kyrgyzstan. It is conveniently located at the Sulaiman-Too National History and Archeology Museum Complex (not the one on top of the mountain). The shop offers souvenirs inspired by the Museum’s collections and exhibits, each one made of silk, leather, wood, felt, and metal. Local artisans and craftsmen contribute designs and the ultimate collection offers an interesting variety of beautiful textiles and products that are sold nowhere else in Kyrgyzstan. Location: behind the three-story yurt in Alymbek-Datka Park and within the Sulaiman-Too National Historic-Archeological Museum (at the base of the mountain). You can also purchase Museum Shop souvenirs at the Destination Osh Office (15 Gapar Aytiev Street, Osh).
Saimaluu Tash Art Gallery
If you’re looking to buy quality Kyrgyz handicrafts made by local artisans, stop by the Saimaluu Tash Art Gallery. Although many of the designs, fabrics and embroideries are traditional (from both Uzbek and Kyrgyz cultures), they are often displayed and presented in modern and unique ways. In addition to larger wall hangings, weavings and embroideries, there are also many handbags, pillows, dolls, hats, and other smaller items. You'll want to take them all with you!
A small gallery and souvenir shop in central Osh filled with local handicrafts, including dolls, embroidered and woven wall hangings, instruments, purses, paintings, ornaments, and much, much more. A shop for finding something special to bring back with you from Osh.
If fashion and clothing are your thing, then be sure to seek out ikat fabric and get something custom made, or take a look around at one of the several shops in town that offer pre-made ikat jackets and other items. Ikat is traditionally an Uzbek style of fabric that has its origins in 18th century Bukhara (now Uzbekistan) and then spread to Samarkand, Tashkent, and the Fergana Valley (including Osh). You can always easily spot ikat textiles because of their bright, saturated colors and patterns. The designs kind of "blur" around the edges, as if one bleeds into the other in beautiful symmetry. It's possible to find ikat fabrics at the Jayma Bazaar, but get in touch with Destination Osh for shops that sell pre-made ikat clothing or information on tailors in town to make custom made jackets, vests or other clothing items. You can learn more about designs and history ikathere, including how Oscar de la Renta used ikat designs in his collection.