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Samarkand Local Customs: 12 reviews and 16 photos
Bread really is regarded in a special way in Uzbekistan, and the bread from Samarkand is held to be the best of all. It is recorded that Temur took not only bakers but also flour from Samarkand with him when he went on campaign, so highly did he regard the bread from the city. Nowadays, when young men leave home to travel away, their mothers break a piece of a loaf to be shared and the rest of the loaf is then kept until their safe return.
Here in Samarkand's bazaar, the bread is stacked high, each loaf having been shaped by hand and marked with the individual mark of the maker. The extra-large loaves the woman in the photo is selling are special celebration loaves - decorated with good wishes spelt out and baked on in the dough and sprinkled with coloured sugar - it's called shirmon-non
Making good bread is a matter of great pride and, just as with other arts and crafts, the art has been passed down from father to son for generations. Seeing the typical round loaves you probably think one's the same as another but every Uzbek housewife knows the difference - evevryone likes rich patyr-non but hard yopkan-non is an acquired taste and there are others. Whatever the loaf, it will have been baked in a round clay oven in the open air and the first thing any guest to an Uzbek home is offered is green tea and bread.
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