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Holidays : China: Xinjiang : Attractions : Kashgar: The Market at the Top of the World

Kashgar: The Market at the Top of the World

Kashgar is a important hub on the Old Silk Road,a vibrant Islamic centre within Chinese territory. It is the largest oasis city in Chinese Central Asia and 90 per cent of its population of over 3,000,,000 are Uygur.Only in The city is populating 300,000. Kashgar's importance derives from its stratehic position at the foot of the Pamir Mountains, commanding access to the high glacial passes of the Silk Road routes into Central Asia, India and Persia. The weary trade caravans plodding west on the northern and southern routes met up at Kashgar, the desert hazards and demons finally behind them. Merchants bound for China thawed out after descending to Kashgar from the peaks of the Pamirs or the Karakorams, and exchanged their stolid yaks and exhaused packhorses for camles to convey their merchandese into Inner province of China.

History of Kashgar

Kashgar Has a history of more than 2'000 years. the earlist reference appeared in Persian documents referring to an alliance of Tushlan tribes, who founded their capital here. Kashgar was posibly the first of the Buddhist kingdoms of the Tarim basin. In the second century AD, Hinayana Buddhism flourished here and continued to do so until the ninth or tenth century. During this period Indian and Persian cultural influences were strong. Xuan Zang noted that the Kashgaris had green eyes-perhaps a reference to Aryan origins-and that for their writing they take their model from India....The disposition of the men is fierce and impetuous, and they are mostly false adn deceitful. They make light of decorum and politeness, and esteem learning but little.

In the first century AD, during the Han Dynasty, China lost its power over the Tarim Basin. The great General Ban Chao was dispatched to subdue the wild kingdoms of Silk Road that had aligned themselves with the Xiongnu against the Chinese. He took the kingdoms of Kashgar, Hetian and Loulan either by brute force or cunning strategy, installed pro-Chinese rulers and reopened the southern Silk Road to trade. Ban Chao remained in Chinese Central Asia for 31 years, crushing rebellions and establishing diplomatic relations with more than 50 states in the Western Regions. Accompanied by horsemen arrayed in bright red leather,he himself went as far west as Merv and made contacts with Parthia,Babylonia and Syria.

In the early seventh century,Kashgar recognized the suzerainty of Tang China, which garrisoned the city. However, the Chinese were soon forced to withdraw between 670and 694, when Tibet expanded its territories throughout the southern oases of Tarim Basin.Between the tenth and 12th centuries the Kharakhanid Khanate, a loose mondic alliance of the Qarluq Turkic tribes, controlled the area between Bokhara and Hetian from its capital in Kashgar. The Sunni Muslim, Satuq Bughra Khan, was the first king of the Kharakhanid of Kashgar; he and his successors carried on bloody jihads against the still-Buddhist kingdoms of yarkant and Hotan. These battles, along with fierce Kharakhanid internecine struggles, disrupted the caravan trade, and East-West trade was increasingly forced to relay on the sea routes.

Following the death of Chaghatai, who inherited the region from his father, Ghengis Khan,there followed numerous succession wars. Only briefly during the mid-14th century, when Telug Timur had his capital in Kashgar, was a degree of calm and stability restored,But Tamerlane's armies were soon to lay waste to the Kingdom of Kashgaria.

In the 16th century,Kashgar came under the ruler of a religious leader, or khoja, whose colleagues formed a powerful clique in Bokhara and Samarkand. A theological split saw the formation of two opposing sects, the Black and White Mountaineers,which began a bloody see-sawing of power between Kashgar and Yarkant that ended `only with Qing intervention two centuries later. The Khojas attempted to return to power in Kashgar no fewer than six times,frequently backed by the Khokand Khanate and aided by Kirgiz nomadic horsemen,bringing fearful reprisals on the citizens. An unfortunate observer of the khojas' last atempt in 1857 was a German,Adolbhus Schlagintweit, whose throat was cut because of his arrogant comment that the three-month siege of Kashgar would have taken his countrymen a mere three days.

Kashar was substantially fortified during the short but violent reign of Yakup Beg, who ruled Kashgaria from 1866 to 1877. This infamous soldier from Khokand ruled most of Xinjing, from Kashgar to Urumqi,Turpan and Hami,concluded treaties with Britain and Russia, and had the support of the Ottoman Empire. In 1869, Robert Shew, a British trader and unoffical dilomat, became the first Englishman to visit Kashgar and Kashgar, and was able to command two audiences with Yakub Beg,even though he was under virtual house arrest for the duration of his stay in the city.He wrote of Kashgar:'Intering the gateway, we passed throgh several large quadrangles whose sides were lined with rank of brilliantly attired guards, all sitting in solem silence so that they seemed to form part of the architecture of the building....Entire rows of these men (were)clad in silken robes and many seemed to be of high rank judging from the richness of their equipment.' After a leisurely three-year advance on Xinjiang, the 60,000 strong Chinese army of Zuo Zongtang suppressed the Muslim rebellions in Gansu and then moved southwest through the oasis towns, eventually ending Yakub Beg's rule in 1877. Yakub Beg fled to Kashgar where he died-rumoured to have either had a stroke or poisoned himself.In 1884,Qing government establish Xinjiang as province first.

As anti-Chinese Muslim rebellions broke out throughout Xinjiang in the 1930s, a pan-Turkic Islamic movement based in Kashgar declared an Independent Muslim Republic of Eastern Turkestan. In 1949, the three area-revolutionary army accept the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, Xinjiang entered a new construction.

The Kashgar prefecture administers 11 counties,one city with a population of over 3 million. It is one of the main agricultural areas of Xinjing,producing cotton, rice, wheat, corn, beans and fruit.

Location and Area

Kashgar is 141,600 square kiolmeters in total area and between latitude 35 20 to 40 18 north and longitude 73 20 to 79 57 east in the sourthen part of Xinjiang, is contiguous with the Taklimakan Desert on its east and borders Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to its west and southwest respectively. The city of Kashgar, a place of strategic importance in south Xinjiang, has an area of fifteen square kilometers with an average elevation of 1289.5 meters. The city is located between latitude 39 25 to 39 35 north and longitude 75 56 to 76 04 east and lies 1,473 kilometers from Urumchi,capital city of of Xinjianng Uihgur Autonomous Region.

Population and Nationalities

Kashi Prefecture has a population of 3.3 million, of which the Uygur nationality comprises 92.92 percent, the Han, 5.6 percent and the Tajik, 1.03 percent, with the other 0.45 percent made up of Hui, Kirgiz, Ozbek, Kazak, Manchu, Xibe, Mongol, Tatar and Daur nationalities.
The city of Kashar has a population of 200,000, 74.62 percent of which is Uyghur and 24.32 percent of which is Han Chinese and other minorities.

Adminitrative Divisions 

Kashar Prefecture has one city (Kashag) and eleven counties: Tokkuzak(Shufu in Chinese), Yengishar (Shule), Yengisar, Yopurga, Payzawatt, Yarkant(Shache), Poskam(Zepu), Kahilik(Yecheng), Markit, Maralbashi (Bachu) and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County,under its jurisdiction. There are twenty-six towns and subdistrict offices, 134 townships, 2,310 villagers' committees and ninety-six neighborhood committees in Kashgar.

Climate and Natural Resources

Kashgar is located in the temparate zone of a continental climate. The climate in this area varies greatly because of the varied topograghy. Specifically, the Kashgar can be divid-ed into zones plain climate, desert climate, mountain climate, the Pamir Plateau climate and the Kunlun Mountains climate. Located in the plain climate zone with the clear four seasons, Kashgar has a long summer and a short winter. The annual mean temperature is 11.7 C, with the lowest temperature of -24.4?� � in January and the hottest 40.1?�� in July. The frost-free period averages 215 days. The annual mean precipitation is 27 millimeters. The two river system of the Yarkant River and the Kashgar River in this area have five big rivers with a total annual runoff of 10.9 to 11.9 billion cubic meters. The volume of underground water in this area is about one billion cubic meters. The per capita water volume of the whole prefecture is about 5,000 cubic meters, twice the national figure. The hydropower reserves of the prefecture are about 7.6 million kilowatt, 1,2 million of which can be easily exploited. Mineral resoures in the prefecture include coal, mica, asbestos,g-ypsum, limestone, natural sulphur, vanadium, titaniun, iron copper, zinc, nickel, phosphorus, beryllium, white marble and so on. Oil deposits, in particular, are considerably large and several of oil wells have been drilled in Kasgar. Flora resources in the prefecture include mountain vegetation, plain vegetation, oasis vegetation, desert vegetation and marshland vegetation. The proportion of forested-land is 1.7 percent with 94,667 hectares of primitive forests. In Kashgar grows variety of trees,sush as poplar, willow, mulberry, narrow-leaved oleaster, Chinese scholartree, Chinese parasol, pine, China fir, cypress, divesiform-leaved poplar and red willow.

Average Temperature per month

?? Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum 0 4 14 22 26 30 32 31 26 20 10 1
Minimum -11 -6 2 9 13 16 19 18 12 5 -2 -8


The industry of Kashgar was developed very slowly. Nowdays variors industrial sys-tems have been completed, including coal, electric power, cement, building materials, chemistry, farming machinery,textile, leather products, ceramics, paper-making and food processing industries. Cotton printing and dyeing,cement producing, and hydropower are the key industrial enterprises of Kashgar. The highway network, Taking Kashgari as a hub, are:

  • Tibet-Xinjiang Highway

Tibet-Xinjiang Highway crossing the Kunlun Mountains with a total length of 1,184 kilometers.Xinjiang-Qinhai Highway (go along the southern Silk Road)

  • Famous Karakoram highway(KKH)

Highway to Kyrgyzstan via Torugart Pass and Erkashtam Pass

  • Kashgar-Urunqi Highway

Kashgar Prefecture has 415,620 hectares of cultivated land, 1.33 million hectares of reclaimable l-and and 2.26 million hectares of pastureland, of which 239,467 hectares is first rate. The content of organic substances of the soil generally ranges from 0.5 to 10 percent. Wheat, maize and cotton are the main crops.In Kashgar also grows rice, barley, highland barley, rape, sesame, peanuts and flax.


Science, Education, Culture and Communication

Kashar has two institutions fro advanced learning, one is branch of the Central Television Universiy,Kasshgar teacher's college, seven specialized secondary schools, 172 ordinary secondary schools and 1,098 elementary schools.There are fourteen professional organizations fro litireture, art, photograph, dance. Kashgar Daily is published here in Uyghur and Chinese. Kasgar has fine television broadcasting system and tlecom system.International call and internet is available everywhere.Most of the part can receive CCTVprogram in different chanels. l.


  • Id Kah Mosque


Shakesimirza, the ruler of Kashgar at that time, had the mosque built here first in 1442, in the aim to where he would say prayers to the souls of his deceased relatives. Extended and renovated time several times but keep the style, size,painting, it has finally reached its present size. The Mosque, 140 meters long from south to north and 120 meters from east to west, covers an area of 16,800 sq,uare meters and consists of the Hall of Prayer,the Doctrine-Teaching Hall, the gate tower, a pond and some other auxiliary structures. The gate of the mosque, built of yellow bricks with the joints of the brick work pointed with gysum, has distinct lines. On both side of the gate are eighteen-meter high round brick columns half embedded in the wall. On the top of the columns stands a tower where the imam would call out loudly at dawn every day to wake up the Muslims and summon them to attend service in the mosque.It is the rare sound in China. In the tree-graced courtyard,there is a pond, and on its bank many pottery pots are place(Now it is seldom seen,because water tap is fixed in the Mosque)to wash their hands ,faces,feet,and others before attending the service.. The hall's ceiling, with fine wooden carvings and colorful flower-and-plant painting patterns,is suppourted by one hundred carved wooden columns. In the middle part of the wall in the main hall, there is a deep shrime in which a stepp-ed throne is placed. During service, the First Maola stands in the shrine to lead the prayer. And on Fridays or Corban, the First Maola conducts "Wa'z," standing on the steps of the throneAfter entering the main hall, the followers would seat themselves facing to Mecca inside and out, in proper lines.

On Lesser Bairam and Corban, the biggest Islam festivals, the Uygur people gather on the square in front of the mosque to celebrate their festivals with jubilation.On those days Uyghur people dressed in their holiday best, dance"Sama," overflowing with enthusiasm, to the cheerful drum beats and music.It contrasts with Cornival in Western.

The following worning should keep in your mind!
1. Do not break a wind in the Mosque.
2. Do not speak loudly.
3. It is not a proper time visiting the Mosque when they are at service.
4. Women should cover their arms and head with scarf.


  • Apak Hoja Tomb


Apak Hoja Tomb , five kilometers northeast of
Kashgar an important cultural unit protected by
the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.As a tomb
of the descendants of an Islamic missionary,
it was built around 1640 .The legend has it
that seventy-two persons in all of five generations
of the same family were buried in the tomb.
The first generation buried here was Yusuf Hoja,
a celebrated Islam missionary. After he died,

his eldest son Apak Hoja carried on the missionary work and became the leader of the famous Islamic sect of white mountaineer during the seventeenth century which seized the power of the Yarkant for a time.Apak Hoja died in 1693 and was buried in the tomb. His reputation was greater than his father's, so the tomb was renamed "The Apak Hoja Tomb."

The tomb is a group of beautiful and magnificent buildings including the Tomb's Hall, the Doctrine Teaching Hall, the Grand mosque,smaal Mosque beside the gate,the gate tower, a pond and archard. The Tomb's Hall, with a domeshaped top of seventeen meters in diameter and covered with green glazed tiles outside, is twenty-six meters high and thirty-nine meters long at the base. The hall is high, spacious and columnless. Inside the hall, there is a high terrace on which the tombs are arranged. All the tombs are built of glazed bricks with very beautiful patterns of elegant.Grand mosque is in the west part of the tomb,Ayitijiayi by name, is the place where the Muslim believers conduct service on big days. The Lesser Hall of Prayer and the gate tower are outmost buildings decorated with colorful paintings and elegant brick carvings.

Outside the tomb there is a crystal-clear pond lined by tall trees making the place pleasantly q-uie and beautiful.

The legend goes that among the Hoja descendans buried here, there was a lady, Yiparhan by name, who was one of the concubines of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong. She was called Xiangfei in Chinese( fragrant Imperial Concubine) because of the rich delicate fragrance of flower sent forth by her body. After she died, her remains was escorted back to Kashgar by her sister -in-law Sudexiang and was buried in the Apak Hoja Tomb. So, some people call the tomb"the Tomb Xiangfei" But according to textual research, Xiangfei was none other than Rongfei, a concubine of Emperor Qian-long, and she was actually buried in the East Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Zunhua County,Hubei Province after she died.

  • Yusuf Has Hajip Tomb
Yusuf Has Hajip Tomb is located on Sports Road
opposite to Kashgar Mountaineering Association.
Yusuf Has Hajip, a Uygur poet,scholar and thinker,
was born in Balashagun)in Karakhanid Dynasty,

and later immigrated to Kashar. He wrote the long narrative phillosophic poem Kut-adku Bilik(The Knowledge of Happiness). After he died, he was buried in Badige, outside the city of Kashgar. His tomb was moved to its present site when it was threatened by the flooding of the Toman River.

  • Mahmud Kashgari Tomb

The Mahmud Kashari Tomb, located in the

Wupar Village, Shufu County, is set off with
trees and bushes. Mahmud Kashgari was born
into an aristocratic family of the Karakhanid
Dynasty in the eleventh century. An outstanding
Uygur scholar and linguist, Mahmud compiled

The Complete Turkish Dictionary. His tomb is highly respected by the Uygur people and many Islamic scholars have contributed their favorite books to the tombs; it has thus slowly become a kind of library, and people repectfully call it Haiziliti Maolamu, meaning the tomb of honorable scholars.His Turkish Dictionary has translated to 26 languages.

  • Ancient Hanoi City and the Mor Buddhist pagoda
Thirty kilometers northeast of Kashgar stands the
ruined adobe-walled city of Hanoi, which lies in
an area three kilometers long and one kilometer
wide. According to textual research, the city has
a hiatory of more than 1500 years.A few kilometers of the

north ancient city is the site of the Mor buddhist Pagoda. The pagoda has three square layers, each a little smaller than the one below it. The bottom layer has circumfe-rence of more than forty-eight meters, the second layer forty meters and the third layer thirty-two meters, while the pagoda stands more than twelve meters high.

The platform beside the pagoda was one of the central temple structures, and in its side walls were carved niches housing Buddha figurines. But now there are mo figurines left, and even the niches themselves are barely invisable.

  • Sunday Market
Sunday Bazaar, in Uygur means "farm trade market."
The bazaar in Kashgar is the biggest in central Asia.
As early as two thousand years ago,it was the colle-
cting and distributing center of goods. Nowadays,
it has become even more busy. On bazzar day
every Sunday,the traffic gets heavy on every road
with crowds upon crowsds of market-goers
coming in from all directions . There is on the
bazaar just about everything you'd expect to find,

such as various special localo products, handicrafts, articles of daily use , fruits and vegetables as well as means of production and all kinds of demestic animales. Riding donkeys or driving carts, farmers from the suburbs get downtown by early morning. It is really a scene of prosperrity with cheerful laughters and brisk buying and selling everywhere.
The fascinating parst is animal section.Here you will see test-driven of hores,bargaining,and more.After that you will get a feeling that Nothing changes over the centures.
Best time for visiting:8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Kashgar Time two hours ahead od Beijing time.

  • Bashkeram Orchard

Kashgar has always enjoyed the reputation of being a "Land of Fruits and Melons," with Bashkeram ranking first in the area. Among the great variety of fruits in Bashkeram , apricot alone has more than twenty strains, and grape, apple and pear have nearly twenty strains each.Also there are many strains of cherry, plum, peach, quince, date and so on. Each of the fruits has early middle and late ripening varieties. In May, the white, sweet and tasty mulberry ripens and , from then on, apricot, cherry, fig, sweet-kernel peach, jasper peach, flat peach , pear, apple,grape, pomegranate and pistachio and badam, the high-valued dry nut fruits in China,ripen one after another. The fruit harvest does not end until the beginning of November.You will find it easily by the help of local guide or taxi driver

  • Chini Bagh

In Uyghur,Beautiful garden,was the home of for 28 years of the most famous of British India's representatives in Kashgar,Sir George Macartney and his wife.The gardes are destroyed to make room for large tourist hotel,Chini Bagh Hotel,and behind it id the house where the Macartneys lived.Now reserved for official visitors.

  • Russion Consulate

The once luxurios Russion Consulate (now Seman Hotel) was the home of the powerful Nikolai Petrovsky,Macartney's chief adversary in the Great game.Now it is made room for tourists.If any one want to check in,have to make reservation through any organization in Kashgar

  • Three Immortal Budda Caves


It is 10km. Away from Kashgar on the road to Torugart Pass.From opposite side of Qakmak river,it is visible but it is impossible to see inside without taking special way.It is 30m above of river at the cliff.Dating from the second and third century,they are the earliest Buddist caves extant in China.However,if you are intentupon seeing them,arrangements must be made by KMA.
  • Karakul Lake
It si 190km from Kashgar om the Kara Koram
Highway with the elevation of 3600m aboe sea
level..It is on the lap of tw giants,Muztagh Ata
regardec "the father of ice mountains",Kongur
reputated with more avalanche.It is rare highland
lake in the the lake,there are yurst and
restaurant available for tourists to stop and over
night.In a fine day,You get a good view of Muz-
tagh Ata and Kongur and snow-cappad peaks ,
flocks of animals,grassland are all invertedly
reflected in the water,wich looks magistic.



There are three flights from Kashgar to Urumqi.There is also regular train to Urumqi.Buses to Pakistan is available at Tuman Hotel beside the Tuman river north,not at China Bagh Hotel.There are several buses to Urumchi at cheaper offering.They depart from Tuman river.City transport is taxi,buses,bicycle instead of donkey cart.

Post and communication

The post office is on Renmin Xilu.across the road is telecom office.Next to it,is a big e-mail bar.It opens daily from 8:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m..It is not difficult to find an e-mail bar almost every street.

Bank of China

Bank of China on Renmin Xilu has already moved to the east of the people's square opposite
to Mao's Statue.

Kashgar Minority Garden

There is a nice place worth spending some time at Kashgar Minority Garden if you are children-lover and nterested in Uyghur folk show.It is next to the wright-hand of Idkah Mosque and 80m deep in the cule de sack.

Place to eat

There are many modern restaurants and fast foots in Kashgar.Tea house on Renmin Xilu,Orda Kent in seman Hotel,One Thouthand nights opposit to Seman Hotel,Pamier,in those restaurants serve Uygur dishes.If you happen to visit Kashgar during July,August,September,there is some orchard with restaurants.It is quite and cool with local food.Best ones is located near to People,s Hospital.Night marked is also available for shish Kebab and beer.Click here to see Uyghur food gallery.



The Id Kah Mosque,in uyghur means Square of festival,Typical Uyghur structure,regarded biggest in China,located in the center of Kashar, has a history of more than five hundred years.100,000 worshippers attend religios service at the same time.