Kashgar is an oasis city located west of the Taklamakan desert, at the feet of the Tian Shan mountain range in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (39°24’26” N. lat., 76°6’47” E. long.).
Located in the plain climate zone with the clear four seasons, Kashgar has a long summer and a short winter. The annual mean temperature in Kashgar is 11.7 C, with the lowest temperature of -24.4 C, in January and the hottest 40.1 C, in July. The frost-free period averages 215 days.
It is 1.2km (4043 ft.) above sea-level. Situated at the junction of routes from the valley of the Oxus, from Khokand and Samarkand, Almati, Aksu, and Khotan, the last two leading from China and India, Kashgar has been noted from very early times as a political and commercial centre.
Previously the city consisted of two towns, Kuhna Shahr or “old city”, and Yangi Shahr or “new city”, about five miles apart, separated from one another by the Kyzyl Su, a tributary of the Tarim river. The division is now less distinct.
Kashgar is home to an important Muslim community (Uighurs).
With the overthrow of the Chinese rule in 1865 the manufacturing industries of Kashgar declined. Silk culture and carpet manufacture have flourished for ages at Khotan, and the products always find a ready sale at Kashgar. Other manufactures consist of a strong coarse cotton cloth called kham (which forms the dress of the common people, and for winter wear is padded with cotton and quilted), boots and shoes, saddlery, felts, furs and sheepskins made up into cloaks, and various articles of domestic use. A curious street sight in Kashgar is presented by the hawkers of meat pies, pastry and sweetmeats, which they trundle about on hand-harrows just as their counterparts do in Europe; while the knife-grinder’s cart, and the vegetable seller with his tray or basket on his head, recall exactly similar itinerant traders further west.
Weather in Kashgar
How to Go to Kashgar
There are flights and a rail connection from Urumqi.
The Karakoram Highway runs from Pakistan into China. Kashi is the nearest major town on the Chinese end.
One of the best sights in Kashgar is the Sunday Bazaar. There are actually two markets:
* the Mal Bazaar is the livestock market, where locals from all the surrounding villages come to town on that day to buy and sell animals. It’s held on an open (but fenced) ground. It’s popular with tourists, but the market is so big it still feels like a working bazaar.
* The Yengi Bazaar is the handicrafts, cloths, carpets and anything-else-you-could-expect market. This market is actually open daily and is less crowded on weekdays. Bargain hard!
One of the most famous mosques in Xinjiang is in Kashgar. It is called Id Kah Mosque. First built in 1442, it is very distinctive for its yellow walls and Central Asian architecture.
All pictures by the author
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