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Kashgar Introduction

Kashgar, XinjiangWith 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.

History
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.

Minority Nationalities
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.

Festivals
The most important festivals for Muslims are the Corban Festival in December and Eid al Fitr in October, on the Muslim lunar calendar. Every December 12th of the Muslim lunar calendar, people will clean the room and prepare cakes for the festivals. Muslims will gather at mosques and participating meetings and prayers. Each year, Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar holds great ceremonies. Grand performances will also be shown in the squares of cities and in the countryside. Eid al Fitr means 'finish the fast' since September on Muslim lunar calendar is the Ramadan. During that period, Muslims are allowed no eating and drinking during the daytime. When dusk comes, bells in the mosques ring. People can have a feast with relatives, friends, neighbors and evening strangers passing by. After the Ramadan, great ceremonies and performances will be held to celebrate Eid al Fitr. Other important festivals for local people are the Nadam Fair in July and August, the Lantern Festival in August and New Year's Day in the Spring Equinox.

 Attractions: 
Abakh Khoja Tomb, Bazaar, Id Kah Mosque, Karakuri Lake, Three Immortals Buddhist Caves


Weather
Kashgar City has a long summer and short winter with an annual average temperature of 11.5 oC (52.7 oF). August and September are the best time for a visit due to the mild climate and ripe fruits. Come to Kashgar during the time traditional festivals are held, such as the Corban Festival, Eid al Fitr and the Nadam Fair, because there will be great ceremonies and performances at that time. Just remember to respect local customs and their religions.


 Transportation
Kashgar is an important city in southern Xinjiang, thus it is quite convenient to get in and around. Kashgar Airport is just 10 km (6.2 miles) north to the downtown area and people can take direct flights to other Chinese cities and overseas cities. Kashgar Train Station is the terminal of South Xinjiang Railway and trains to Urumqi can be found daily. Long-distance coaches can take passengers to every corner of Xinjiang as well as Dunhuang, Golmud, Ngari, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc. Visitors can take buses and taxis while traveling in the city. Otherwise, hiring a bicycle is also a good choice.


 Dining and Local Products
Food: Flour-made Nang, noodle, pilau, steamed stuffed bun……
Products:Carpets, hats, pottery, jewelry, headgear, knives……

Recommended China Tour with Kashgar