Toqi Telpak Furushon (in some sources – Taqi Telpakfurushon) is one of the preserved traditional indoor bazaars of Bukhara. It was built in 1570-1571 under Abdullah Khan II, one of the rulers of the Shaibanid dynasty. It was the Shaibanids who began to make Bukhara an important commercial centre, situated at the crossroads of many caravan routes. The symbol for the achievement of this goal were the trade domes that gathered traders from different parts of the world under their roofs.
The material from which the trade dome was built was ceramic tiles. This unusual structure is a kind of hexagon at the base. Such an urban design solution was very favourable in terms of compactness, as Telpak Furushon was built at a crossroads where five streets converged in one place. Its central part is an amazingly beautiful spherical dome with small openings cut through it. The dome is supported by six pylons, it has 12-sided lighting, tourists are especially interested in viewing the dome from inside.
The diameter of the main dome of Toqi Telpak Furushon is 14.5 metres.
In addition to the main dome, small domes with niches were built above the shopping mall. Around the main dome there were usually storage rooms, caravanserais for visiting merchants and warehouses for products for sale. The exit from the western passage of the Trade Dome leads to Mekhtar Ambar Street, where you can visit the ancient caravanserai of Kuleta, where travellers rested in ancient times. As a part of the historical part of Bukhara, the dome was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In the XVI century Bukhara became famous as an important shopping centre and the bazaars on its streets began to turn into large markets. The peculiarity of this period was the placement of commercial shops in different streets according to the type of products sold. In order to create the most favourable conditions for trade and merchants travelling on the Great Silk Road, the construction of trade domes – multi-ventilated vaulted ceilings at crossroads and squares called “currents” was started. Merchants from India, the Russian Empire, Iran, China and many other countries came here. It can be said that the trade domes of medieval Bukhara were a prototype of modern shopping centres, but they differed in that in each of them a certain type of product could be bought.
At first the booksellers gathered under the dome of Telpak Furushon. For this reason, its original name was Kitab-Furushon, which literally means “the dome of the booksellers”. Under the domes of Telpak Furushon, the sale of all kinds of headgear for adults and children, men and women, then began: embroidered beads, headdresses made of gold or precious stones, solid Telpaks (fur hats), fur hats, unusual turbans, chuguras (caps made of fur and sheep’s wool) and other such things. They were bought by both locals and foreign visitors. This tradition has been preserved until today. Due to the fact that at one time the direction of trade under the dome was changed, its name was also changed.
The word “telpak” is a traditional headdress made of sheep wool. Toqi Telpak Furushon literally means “the dome of the traders of headwear”.
Today tourists can visit Toqi Telpak Furushon to see a building with a long history and buy various souvenirs, antiques, clothes, scarves made by local craftsmen. In this famous place of Bukhara you can still buy a variety of scarves and beautiful hats. You can negotiate with the sellers and lower the price, although it is not as high as the tourists write.
It is pleasant to walk along the colourful eastern trade rows after visiting the madrassas and mosques of the old town. Moreover, there is always a cool shade under the covered shopping arcades and there is always a light breeze blowing. Not far from the trade dome there is a forge where knives and other tools are made using old technology.