Kashgar, which means “The City of Jade”, located in the southwest of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is the westernmost city in China and faces the Tarim Basin in the east and the Pamir Plateau in the west.

Thanks to its privileged location, Kashgar, once an isolated oasis on a long trade route that once spanned the Asian continent, has been at the crossroads of the Southern and Northern Silk Roads for 2000 years and became a major hub. These long stages obliged the caravaneers to exchange yaks for camels here, and caravans departed for Central Asia, India, Pakistan, and ancient Persia (current Iran).

The fertile oasis allows various crops and fruits to grow. Numerous handicrafts such as cotton and silk textiles, leatherwear, and pottery are produced in the city and its suburbs.

Its 90% Uyghur population continues today as its main trade activity. Kashgar is particularly famous in the region for its Sunday livestock market, considered to be the largest and most colorful market in Central Asia, where traders from all the surrounding countries (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India) flock.

When you travel to Kashgar, the following sites are must-sees:

Grand Sunday Bazaar of Kashgar
Chinese Name: 牛羊马大巴扎
Location: in the city of Kashgar
Opening hours: Every Sunday from 11h00 to 15h30 (rush hours)
Admission: Free
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Known throughout Central Asia, it is the largest and busiest bazaar in Xingjiang and the largest cattle market in Central Asia for two millennia.

As its name suggests, it is more of a bazaar than a market. Thus, in addition to finding spices, fruits, and vegetables, products ranging from clothes to household appliances are sold there. It is a meeting point where Kashgaris, Kyrgyz, and Tajiks living in the nearby mountains, come here to buy some essential foodstuffs or sell their livestock.

In the afternoon, the stands and aisles are empty and the calmer atmosphere is comparable to that of a party that is coming to an end.

On Sunday, about 50,000 people enter the city of Kashgar to participate in the bazaar. In addition to the local minority, there are also people from all neighboring countries: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and many others.

The women are mostly veiled and their colorful outfits add an extra touch of life to the already colorful market.

IdKah Mosque
Chinese Name: 艾提尕尔清真寺
Location: Located downtown in Kashgar
Opening hours: All day, except Friday
Ticket: 20 RMB/person
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Located in the central square of Kashgar, the IdKah Mosque is an ancient Islamic building complex with a strong ethnic style. Founded in 1442 and covering 16,800 m2, it is divided into seven main sections including the main hall, outer hall, minaret, etc., and its appearance is dominated by yellow.

Offering an estimated capacity of 10,000 people who come to perform Friday prayers, it is not only the largest mosque in Xinjiang but also one of the largest mosques in the country.

This place of worship is still very active and the focal point of the religious life of Muslims in Kashgar. Several thousand faithful go there daily to come and pray. During religious holidays, all Muslims in Xinjiang gather at this sacred place.

Kashgar Old Town
Chinese Name: 喀什老城
Location: Located downtown in Kashgar
Opening hours: All-day
Admission: Free
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

With a history of more than 2000 years, the streets and lanes in the old city of Kashgar are crisscrossed with flexible and varied layouts and the winding paths lead to seclusion. Most of the dwellings are of adobe and brick construction, and many of the traditional houses are hundreds of years old, making it the only maze-like city quarter in China featuring Islamic culture.

There is a small code to know specific to the city. When both doors of the house are open, it means that the male owner is at home; if only one door is open, it means that only the hostess is present at home. If you see a curtain in front of the door, it means there are guests at home. A detail that the traveler will hasten to notice while walking in the old city of Kashgar.

If you get lost in the old town, look at the bricks under your feet which indicate the direction to follow. By following the hexagonal bricks, you can get out of the old town easily. If you walk on the quadrangular bricks, you will encounter dead ends. With this little secret, you can get by easily in this old town.

Tomb of Abakh Hoja or Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine
Chinese Name: 香妃墓
Location: 5km east of the city of Kashgar
Ticket: 30 RMB/person
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

The Fragrant Concubine, an alias for the Tomb of Abakh Hoja, is situated in the village of Haohan, about 5 kilometers on the eastern outskirts of Kashgar, and is the burial place of the Abakh Hoja family, a 17th-century Islamic leader from the Kashgar. Due to the legend that the Qianlong Emperor’s Fragrant Concubine was buried here, the name of the Fragrant Concubine Tomb was gradually spread and replaced the original name. In fact, this is a group of mausoleums of 72 members of a large family from five generations, of which the Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine is only one.

Covering an area of about 30 acres, it was built around 1640 AD and is a typical Islamic ancient mausoleum building. The main tomb (Mazha, meaning “place of worship”) is the most important building in the scenic area and the largest dome-style building in Xinjiang. The main dome is 26.5 meters high and 16 meters in diameter, and the shape is concise and magnificent. The surrounding walls are all veneered with dark green glazed bricks from top to bottom, painted with colorful graphics and Arabic aphorisms from the Koran. It is said that these glazed bricks were fired more than 300 years ago, and they are still smooth and beautiful today.

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