The visit to Xinjiang province is incomplete without a look at Kashgar. Kashgar has a rich history of over 2,000 years and served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East, and Europe. Kashgar is surrounded by some impressive nature, Taklimakan Desert is to the east, the Karakorum Mountains to the south, Pamir Plateau to the west and the Tianshan Mountains to the north. The nature around Kashgar is wild and very beautiful…. Uighur are the main inhabitants in Kashgar, but there are also other ethnic groups as Han, Hui, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek. We jumped in the sleeper bus in Kuche, and after long ride we finally arrived in Kashgar in western Xinjiang. My wife was tired so was I when we arrived at our hotel, but we didn’t want to rest and we urged into the streets of the old City.
Kashgar the main square
From the day one we were hooked and amazed by the sounds and the smell of the old alleys, of the people in the streets, selling their goods, drinking their tea, smoking their pipes. Forget chopsticks, red lanterns and ideograms, this place isn’t like the rest of China. In the streets of old Kashgar it all looks like an old living painting, each old house, each wooden window, each old street lamp, the children’s laughter, everything just another brush stroke placed carefully on a big screen, that this old city is constantly projecting.
Old traditional houses
Alley in Kashgar
Daily scene in the old city
Shop with music instruments
We enjoyed very much our strolls in the old streets, all these traditional homes, little shops selling traditional goods, craftsmen working in the streets, etc etc. Walking the small, mud-brick alleyways of the Old Town is an exciting adventure and the old Kashgar has a lot to offer.
Interior of the Uighur house
Naang bread is the daily diet for Xinjiang people
The mutton soup we tried in Kashgar was the best mutton soup in Xinjiang
One of our best places to relax was this traditional Uighur Tea House not far from the Id Kah Mosque. Sitting on the carpet, drinking Xinjiang tea and eating freshly baked naang (local bread) inside this very beautiful tea house was for us an ultimate experience.
Traditional Uighur tea house
One of the places one has to visit while in Kashgar is Apak Hoja Tomb (also known as the fragrant princess tomb), which has a very beautiful Islamic-style architecture, where the beloved concubine of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Apak Hoja, was buried. It is located few kilometers outside the city in the Ayziret village surrounded with very peaceful gardens and trees.
Apak Hoja Tomb
Another place worth a visit is a Id Kah Mosque on the main square of Kashgar. It’s the biggest mosque in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which consists of the Gate Tower, the Courtyard, theScripture Hall and the Prayer Hall. The garden inside the mosque is very peaceful and beautiful.
Id Kah Mosque
For shopping the famous Grand Bazar is a place to go. Everything from Uighur art and craft can be found here. Beautiful carpets, silk scarfs, traditional musical instruments, The animal market which we visited on Sunday morning is a place where live stock is brought from surrounding villages and farmers try to buy or sell their animals. Even if you are not going to buy a sheep or a horse, it’s interesting to see how the local people bargain with traders. The whole market is very big, noisy and very dusty, and it feels like the time has stopped here. I have never seen such big livestock market before.
Live stock market
No doubt Kashgar is one of the cities in China that has its own unique character, city that never stops impressing and surprising and makes the traveler wants to visit this timeless City over and over again.