Kashi (Kashgar) is
located in southwestern
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region -
a far west province in China.
Here is a report from
Kashi published on China Pictorial for your information about the
city of Kashgar:
I visited the city several years ago. It was 6 p.m. when I stood in the
square in front of the Aitika Mosque in the city, in southwestern
I met a group of farmers of the Uygur ethnic group. Wearing skullcaps
embroidered with flower and fruit patterns and bluish gray Western-style
suits, they were posing at the gateway arch of the mosque for a picture.
The expression of their eyes showed the staunchness, pureness, and
devoutness of their hearts. I thought it had to be a long-cherished
desire for them to visit Kashi.
Kashi, the westernmost city of China, is a fascinating place not only
for them. It was for me as well.
After arriving in Kashi, the excitement in my mind calmed down.
Since I am from Beijing,
far from Kashi, I was curious about everything I had seen there. The
people there have a high-bridged nose and yellowish-brown eyes.
They speak Uygur, with trills, a language that belongs to the Turkic
group of the Altaic language family. To me, it sounds like one bunch of
grapes after another. Billboards along the streets are all designed in
Uygur and Chinese.
The old district in Kashi especially impressed me and gave me much food
for thought. It has retained the appearance it had in the Middle
Ages--old low brick or adobe houses, sound of the clanging of
blacksmiths' hammers, the elderly sitting in repose with their eyes
closed at the entrance.
The residents in the old district are good-natured and hospitable. I met
several children who were playing and running about in an old street.
When they saw me, they ran toward me and said, "Hello" and, "How are
you?" Standing up straight, the children asked me to have their picture
taken. After shooting, they cheerfully run away.
In the old district, there are many mosques, big and small, restaurants,
groceries, food stores, tailoring shops, and nang bread stores.
Dwelling houses are linked together by winding lanes. Entering the old
district, I felt as if I was entering a city several centuries ago. One
of the most beautiful cityscapes are the
Uygur women in colorful skirts.
My guide was Aiguli, an extraordinary girl. Although she was a fourth
grade student, she was as clever as a grown-up. Her elder sister
followed her like an attendant.
I asked Aiguli to show me some places of distinctive characteristics in
the old district. First, she took me to a shop that produces and sells
Later, I learned this shop was owned by her relatives. I didn't blame
her for taking me there. I liked her because she was commercially minded
and clever, and also the pottery wares were so wonderful. I selected
several gifts for my friends in Beijing.
Following Aiguli, I strolled around the streets in the old district. We
stopped at a dwelling house of the
Uygur ethnic group that was open to tourists.
There, I met Maimaiti Yiming, a fifth-generation maker of musical
instruments in Kashi. I took a great interest in Maimaiti and his
musical instrument shop.
I followed Maimaiti to his shop, which produces 28 instruments, most of
which belong to the Uygur ethnic group. His father and grandfather
worked at a musical instrument factory in Kashi in the 1960s,
establishing the present shop in 1985, one of the first group of
privately owned small enterprises in the city.
The family became rich very quickly. According to Maimaiti, his family
is one prone to longevity. The first generation lived to 137 years, the
second 117 years, and the third 99 years. His father is now 69 year old,
and he is 36. He has two sons, aged 7 and 5.
"I want to send my sons to study abroad in the future," Maimaiti said.
During our talk, Maimaiti took up a ravap, a stringed instrument, and
played traditional Uygur music.
Facing many instruments hung on the wall and enjoying the lively rhythm
of the music, I felt that my whole body was dancing.
Like that music, everything in Kashi goes on methodically. Although the
city is not very rich, its people are very satisfied with their
lives--colorful, peaceful, and happy.
They have their own traditions, relatives and friends, religious service
buildings, delicious food, and bustling bazaars.
Kashi is an enchanting city, and I'll visit it again.
Kashi in Uygur means a "a place of jade." Located in the southwestern
part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it is the westernmost city of
Kashi has a history of more than 2,100 years. Since ancient times, it
has been an important city in northwestern China.
The central, southern and northern routes of the ancient Silk Road
joined there. From the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.) through
the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was the political, economic, cultural,
military, and religious center of western China.
There is a saying: "Without visiting Kashi, you cannot say you visited
Xinjiang." With buildings, bazaars, historical relics, and handicrafts
of the Uygur ethnic group, Kashi possesses a mysterious charm.
Kashi is a sacred place of Islam. Situated in Aitika Square in the
center of the city, the magnificent, splendid Aitika Mosque is the
largest mosque in China.
On important festive occasions, more than 30,000 Muslims worship on
bended knees inside and outside the mosque.
Kashi is mainly inhabited by
Uygurs, who are Muslim. They are hospitable and often
entertain their guests with delicious food, such as hand-pulled noodles
and boiled mutton that is eaten by hand.
Five kilometers northeast of Kashi is the famous Apak Hoja Tomb, an
ancient Islamic tomb complex, dignified and splendid. The entire tomb is
covered with blue, green and yellow glazed tiles and bricks.
Kashi has long been a trading city connecting central and western Asia.
The Grand Bazaar in the northeastern part of the city, the largest
garden-like comprehensive market in Xinjiang, is very famous.
It known as the Commodity Fair in Central Asia, as well as the
International Trading Market in Central and Western Asia.
The bazaar sells a great variety of goods, including clothing material,
garments, general merchandise, handicrafts, furs, dried fruit, timber,
and secondhand goods.
Aviation: There are daily flights between Kashi and
Urumqi, the capital city of the
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Railway: Kashi is the terminal of the railway in southern Xinjiang.
There are trains to
Urumqi once every other day.
Producing a great variety of products of the characteristics of the
Uygur ethnic group, Kashi is called the Center of Folk Arts. The main
products include rugs and carpets, Yengsiar knives, Adilis silk,
skullcaps, wood block printed cloth, pottery, jewelry, and musical
Kashi is a famous producer of fruit, including pomegranates, badan
apricots, figs, grapes, and muskmelons. One kilogram of pomegranates,
sweet and sour, costs only 7 yuan (US$1.00).
When shopping in Kashi, haggling over the price is a common practice.