KYRGYZSTAN: Treasures From The Antique Bazaar

On a freezing cold Sunday in Bishkek I got up and ready in the dark (which is 7.30am) to plod through the snow to the local flea market with R, my esteemed colleague, for a treasure hunt.

Big mistake. Although The Internet say it starts at 7.00 and finishes at 11.00 nothing really opened until about 9.30, so I missed out on two hours of sleep that I’ll never get back. Thanks for that, fellow travel bloggers. Perhaps in winter things start a bit later, but I recommend staying in bed until a reasonable hour. I advise against getting up in the middle of the night as a general rule.

…but when it started it was great.

Anyway, when it did open I was pleasantly surprised with my findings. Kyrgyzstan isn’t exactly known for being a leading antique shopper’s paradise but there are a few places to get nice things. After rummaging through a great deal of junk you’’ll find a few little gems that are all the more precious for the effort.

There’s all manner of old stuff for sale at the antique bazaar, also known as the flea market or the Soviet market. You’ll find coats, vases, Russian samovars, crystal glassware, Chinese coins, Kyrgyz jewellery, stamps, Soviet pins, vases, carpets, broken guitars, antiquated tape recorders, souvenirs from Iran, watches from the USSR, fine China teacups, Turkish wall hangings, the list goes on.

Here are some of the curios that R and I acquired on our adventure:

Too cute. Anyone know what they are for? Please let me know
Old Kyrgyz currency, souvenirs for my Dad
My favourite find is this pocket knife disguised as a key. Very 007, it’s coming with me everywhere
In working order: an old Soviet army torch

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