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Kashgar, Xinjiang

With the Takla Makan Desert to the east, the Pamirs to the west, Mt. Tianshan to the north and Karakoram Range to the south, Kashgar lies at the most western point of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as well as China. Bordering Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kashgar covers an area of 162,000 sq km (40,031,036 acres) consisting of mountains, desert, rivers and oases. Tracing its history back to 2100 years ago this important hub on the ancient Silk Road, has been significant in cultural and economic exchanges between the West and China. Boasting a long history and splendid culture, there are various kinds of cultural relics scattered in and around Kashgar City. What's more, high mountains, glaciers, lakes, hot springs, deserts, springs etc make the area a perfect place to enjoy distinctive natural beauty. Hospitable local nationalities with different cultures and customs will entertain tourists with great dancing, singing and delicious grapes, watermelons, guavas and many other fruits.

Ancient history records show that as early as the Qin (221-206 BC) and the Han (206 BC-220 AD) dynasties, Kashgar started dealings with the merchants from inner China. In 60 BC, Han established the West Region Protectorate in Xinjiang and Kashgar became a part of China. Until the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Kashgar was the important military and commercial center of Xinjiang. During the Five Dynasties (907-960) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it was under the control of the Qarakhanid Dynasty (a mysterious dynasty of which the founder is still unknown) and the Liao Dynasty (916-1125). During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) China was unified again and Kashgar was the most important port on the Silk Road until the 15th century.

Kashgar is home to many nationalities. According to 2003 statistics, there are altogether 31 nationalities residing in the Kashgar area, including Uygur, Han, Hui, Tajik, Khalkhas, Uzbek, Kazak, Russ, Mongol, Manchu and Tatar. Most Xinjiang people believe in Islam, which makes a great impact on their daily lives and thoughts. Kazak people are mainly nomads while Tatar people are good at commerce, entertainment, singing and dancing. Russ has a relatively small population while the population of Uygur, Mongol and Hui are much bigger. The hospitable Khalkhas are one of the ancient nationalities in China which is also mainly nomadic. Most Uzebek people live in cities and counties and have a closer relationship with the Uygur and Tatar people since their customs are similar. Manchu people are much like Han people and less people can speak the Manchu language now. But many special customs have been preserved.

Uygur people are the majority in Xinjiang, and there is no exception in Kashgar. Since they believe in Islam, beef, mutton, chicken, duck and fish are their favored meats. Flour-made Nang, noodle, pilau, steamed stuffed bun, etc., are their main foods. Milk tea and black tea are their preferred drinks while fruits are a necessity in daily life! Uighur people are hospitable and well mannered, but they still have many taboos. They allow no pork, donkey's meat, blood of animals and animals that are not butchered according to Islamic doxy. While sitting, one has to not stretch the legs. No dirty things are allowed to be taken into mosques and mausoleums. While visiting a Uygur family, one has to wash one's hands and wipe them with a towel before dining. Nang should be broken into pieces by using fingers and thumb first. Food should be eaten using the right hand as the left hand is considered unclean.

Recommended China Tour with Kashgar

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  • Replybetty
    2009/1/6 9:42:00