Monday, October 18, 2010

Seductive Ancient Silk Road (5) Kashgar

And finally we come to the end of our journey along the Silk Road, or at least the Chinese part of it. Having started in the old imperial capital Xian, of Tang dynasty fame, we end up in a totally different world in Kashgar. Kashgar (Kashi in Chinese pinyin) is a wonderful city, full of surprises, the most westerly- but by no means westernised, yet - city in China. It's a city within China but somehow so unlike the rest of China.

You just have to walk around and see the buildings and markets and mosques to appreciate that.
Traditional handicrafts and metalwork can be seen on the streets.

Old Uyghur farmers bring their produce in to the city to sell, as they have been doing for hundreds of years.

There are of course more modern articles for the tourist market, inevitably.
We were in time for the pomegranate season, and the fresh hand-pressed juice was just delicious, not to mention the sweet figs, almonds, nuts and local street food!
The famous old quarter, home to Uyghurs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, is being restored and renovated for the benefit of the local residents, and for the tourists - I just hope they get the balance right between commercial/tourist and residential areas. It was sad to see a lot of demolition going on as well - you should see it soon before it all becomes modernised. 
We were treated to a traditional lunch at a Uyghurs friend's home, it was sumptuous! The picture shows just the starters!

This impressive building is the family Tomb of Abakh Hoja, one of whose grand-daughters, Xiangfei, became the famous fragrant concubine of Emperor Qianlong. After her death in the 18th century, the journey back from Beijing to Kashgar took 3 years.  

And we couldn't miss the famous bazaar, which has been a meeting point for traders around the region for hundreds of years. 

You should start planning your holidays for next year in this region, allow at least 2 weeks to do it justice. Let me know if you need any more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment