World of Second-Hand

Yangiabad is the largest and the most famous flea market in post-Soviet, located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It changed it’s name and place several times, but it is still the legendary Tezikovka, “the place where you can buy everything”, as Solzhenitsyn wrote. It was named after neighbouring villa of russian merchant Tezikov, but about a decade ago the market was moved to remote Tashkent district Yangiabad, though everybody still calls it Tezikovka. Here people sell plane parts and surgical instruments, porn DVDs and grandparents’ chinas, toilet bowls and photo-cameras, wedding dresses and canaries. This place was always about the absurdity of the things offered for sale and their prices. You always can hear stories like someone “traded a nazi teaspoon with swastika for two bottles of soda”.

This is the only place in Tashkent where you can meet at the same time wealthy collectors, hunting for rare antiques, young hipsters, looking for stylish vintage clothes, and the poorest people, who make ends meet by selling their own belongings or looking for goods they can afford. This is the place where you can bet on cock-fight battles, eat the cheapest food you ever seen (tasteful though), and order everything you may be somehow in need, from black-and-white film reels to dogs grown for being eaten.

Tezikovka exists for more than a hundred years now, but it became huge and very important place during the Word War II, when more than a million people fled to Tashkent from European part of Soviet Union. They often had to sell last things they owned to buy some food and survive.

The second golden age of Tezikovka happened in the 1990-s, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the Iron Curtain fell. Almost half of the population of Tashkent migrated from the country in just several years. The enormous amount of household belongings poured out on all the improvised second-hand markets, popped up all around the city. But most of them ended up at Tezikovka. Well, it’s safe to say this period is not finished. Since people still leave the country for good. So you still have a chance to find your trophy teaspoon, but, I’m afraid, not so cheap as it used to be.


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