Yusuf Khass Hajib Mausoleum
Kashgar, Xinjiang, China
Just south of the bustling bazaars and markets of Kashgar lies a peaceful garden and mausoleum built in the honor of an important figure to Kashgar and the region. Yusuf Khass Hajib is the name, an 11th century poet and philosopher originally from a city in Kyrgyzstan under the period of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, a Turkic kingdom that ruled Central Asia in the Middle Ages. As the son of a wealthy and well-known merchant, Yusuf became educated and took on many interests. The culmination of his life's work was Kutadgu Bilig (Blessed Knowledge), the first book written in Muslim Turk language. Unsurprisingly, this work, and Yusuf in general, remains a great source of pride for the Turkic people around the world.
Yusuf was said to have died in Kashgar, in which a mausoleum was later constructed to honor his life. The tomb itself is not large, but beautifully decorated with blue tiles around a dome and tall minaret. A statue of Yusuf stands guard at the entrance, reminding all visitors of the former philosopher and poet. Pilgrims come from around Xinjiang and Central Asia to visit his tomb.
Kashgar, largest town of southern Xinjiang and historic crossroads of the Silk Roads.
Yusuf Khass Hajob lived in the 12th century, although the tomb itself was constructed a few hundred years later.
To shelter the remains and honor the legacy of Yusuf Khass Hajib.
The grounds and the tomb itself can be visited, just south of the heart of Kashgar. 30 RMB entrance fee
From the Id Kah Mosque, or center of Kashgar, a pleasant 30-minute stroll south through the streets led us to the gate of the mausoleum. Beautifully cultivated grounds of grapevines and trees welcomed us in the small courtyard. I found it most enjoyable inspecting the detail of the mausoleum, with thousands of tiles shimmering in the sun. It is representative of the architecture and style of this region in Xinjiang. A modest fee brings visitors into the tomb. Visiting the site is worthwhile if interested in diving into the Muslim history of the region or looking for a peaceful respite for the often-times bustling Kashgar.