If Istanbul and Xi'an are the terminals, then Kashgar can be considered the thriving center of the Silk Roads - a place of the grandest bazaars and outstanding workmanship.
Located in the extreme southwest of China and bordering several countries, Kashgar is actually closer to Istanbul or Egypt than it is Beijing or Shanghai. This fact is not only true geographically, but also culturally and spiritually. Kashgar is a bustling center of Islamic affairs, cultural clashes, and daily trading with roots tracing back to the origins of the Silk Road, lying at an ever so important crossroads of the east and west. The geographical position is also highly advantageous, with the Tianshan Mountains to the north, Pamir Mountains to the south, and the vast Taklamakan Desert to the east. Nearly all routes of the ancient highway passes through Kashgar. This is a place where travelers and merchants alike traded goods, exchanged ideas, and rested for the long and treacherous journey ahead, whether east through deserts or west through glaciated mountains. Most remarkably, Kashgar still retains a similar vibe.
Here it was often coined the Pearl of the Silk Road due to its strategic location, beauty, and value of goods. Kahsgar was, and still is, a shopping and trading paradise with an abundance of bazaars and markets. The people who are the Uyghurs a friendly people group descending from many regions such as Eurasia and the Middle East. At the center of town is the Grand Bazaar, the largest of its kind in Asia, selling jade, carpets, silk, fruits, and nuts, exhibiting the Uyghurs colorful culture. Further outside of town is the livestock market, a hectic conglomerate of animals and people looking to buy, sell, or trade their livestock. Scattered throughout the streets of Kashgar are various shops and stalls displaying the Uyghurs beautiful heritage, whether it be music, crafts, or food.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
Kashgar is firmly in the heart of Asia, thousands of miles from Beijing. We arrived by train from Turpan, a journey lasting overnight.
Walking through the old town and shopping for local handiwork. At night, the town comes alive in a grand bazaar selling delicious food, fruit and snacks.
In the middle of a blazing desert, in a labyrinth of rocks, the world's tallest arch appears. The journey itself was possibly even more rewarding, especially coming across a small glacier in a shaded canyon.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Your pack is likely loaded to the brim with the never-ending bazaars and markets in Kashgar.
Yet a vast desert looms and now every pound may determine your fate for success. Take the north route to the outpost of Kuqa or the south route through the oasis of Hotan.