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—  County-level city  —
Kashgar is an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Minaret close to Id Kah mosque.
Kashgar is located in Xinjiang
Location in Xinjiang
Kashgar is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates: 39°28′N 75°59′E / 39.467°N 75.983°E / 39.467; 75.983
Country People's Republic of China
Autonomous Region Xinjiang
 - Total 294.21 km2 (113.6 sq mi)
Elevation 1,270 m (4,167 ft)
Population (2003)
 - Total 351,874
 Density 1,196/km2 (3,097.6/sq mi)
Time zone +8
Postal code 844000
Area code(s) 0998
Uyghur name
kona yezik̡ (Perso-Arabic script): قەشقەر
yengi yezik̡ (Latin alphabet): K̡ǝxk̡ǝr
Cyrillic alphabet: Қәшқәр
official PRC transcription: Kaxgar[1]
pronunciation in IPA: /qæʃqær/
Uyghur Latin Yéziqi: Qeshqer
other English spellings: Kashgar
Chinese name
simplified characters: 喀什
Pinyin: Kāshí
Wade-Giles: K’a-shih

Kashgar or Kashi (Uyghur: قەشقەر‎, Qeshqer?, K̡ǝxk̡ǝr?, Chinese: 喀什 pinyin: Kāshí, Persian: کاشغر) is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately 3.5 million[2].

The city covers an area of 15 km². The altitude averages 1,289.5 m/4,282 ft. above sea level. The annual mean temperature is 11.7°C, with a low of -24.4° in January and up to 40.1° in July. The frost-free period averages 215 days.



Kashgar is said to mean “variegated houses”.[citation needed]

The modern Chinese name is 喀什 (Kāshí), a shortened form of the longer and less-frequently used 喀什噶爾 (Kāshígé’ěr). Ptolemy (90-168 CE), in his Geography, Chapter 15.3A, refers to Kashgar as “Kasia”.[3]

An early Chinese name was 疏勒 (now Shule County), variously romanized as Su-leh, Sulei, Shule, Shu-le', She-le, Shu-lo or Sha-le, which perhaps represents either an original Solek or Sorak.[citation needed]

Alternate historical Romanizations for "Kashgar" include Cascar[4][5] and Cashgar [6].


Kalmyk Archer, Kashgar Army in the 1870s

In spite of Kashgar’s position in the extreme West of China, it is comparatively well connected to major transit lines.


The Kashgar Airport has routine flights connecting Urumqi and Islamabad, Pakistan[7].


The South Xinjiang branch of the Lanxin Railway reached Kashgar in December 1999,[8] making it China’s westernmost railway station.[9] The investigation work of a further extension of the railway line to Pakistan has already begun. Proposals for a rail connection to Osh in Kyrgyzstan have also been discussed at various levels since at least 1996.[10]

In November 2009, Pakistan and China agreed to set up a joint venture to do a feasibility study of the proposed rail link via the Khunjerab Pass.[11]


The Karakorum highway (KKH) links Islamabad, Pakistan with Kashgar over the Khunjerab Pass. Bus routes exist for passenger travel south into Pakistan. Kyrgyzstan is also accessible from Kashgar, via the Torugart Pass and Irkeshtam Pass; as of summer 2007, daily bus service connects Kashgar with Bishkek’s Western Bus Terminal.[12] Kashgar is also located on China National Highways numbered G314 and G315.


Kashgar features the very rare cold desert climate with hot summers and cold winters. Kashgar is one of the driest cities on the planet, averaging only 59 mm of precipitation per year. The city’s wettest month, July, only sees on average 9.1 mm of rain. Because of the extremely arid conditions, snowfall is rare, despite the cold winters.

Climate data for Kashgar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.3
Average low °C (°F) -10.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 2.1
Sunshine hours 154.9 160.1 184.5 213.7 255.6 304.3 312.2 287.5 259.4 239.9 196.2 158.0 2,726.3
% Humidity 67 58 48 40 41 41 43 49 53 56 61 70 52.3
Source: China Meteorological Organisation 2010-03-06


Han Dynasty

The earliest mention of Kashgar is when the Chinese Han Dynasty envoy traveled the Northern Silk Road to [13]

The country’s people practised Zoroastrianism and Buddhism before the coming of Islam.


The establishment of Buddhism in the Tarim Basin probably began in the third or fourth century. When the Chinese Buddhist monk Fa Xian travelled through the region on his way to India in the late fourth or early fifth century, Buddhism already was established in several of the city states. Two centuries later when the Buddhist pilgrim Xuan Zang passed that way he encountered flourishing centres of Hinayana Buddhism. Thus despite the vicissitudes and the arrival of other religions -including Zoroastrianism, Nestorianism, Manichacanism, and of course Islam - Buddhism was entranched so well that it retained a significant foothold in the area at least till the twelfth century. Over the course of centuries Buddhist temples gradually were erased as Islam encroached on the holy Buddhist sites. Thus by the early twentieth century the physical evidence of Kashgar's rich Buddhist heritage had had all but vanished .[14]

In the Hanshu (Book of the Former Han), which covers the period between 125 BC and 23 AD, it is recorded that there were 1,510 households, 18,647 people and 2,000 persons able to bear arms. By the time covered by the Hou Hanshu (roughly 25 to 170), it had grown to 21,000 households and had 3,000 men able to bear arms.

The Hou Hanshu (Book of the Later Han), provides a wealth of detail on developments in the region:

"In the period of Emperor Wu [140-87 BCE], the Western Regions1 were under the control of the Interior [China]. They numbered thirty-six kingdoms. The Imperial Government established a Colonel [in charge of] Envoys there to direct and protect these countries. Emperor Xuan [73-49 BCE] changed this title [in 59 BCE] to Protector General.
Emperor Yuan [40-33 BCE] installed two Wuji Colonels to take charge of the agricultural garrisons on the frontiers of the king of Nearer Jushi [Turpan].
During the time of Emperor Ai [6 BCE-1 CE] and Emperor Ping [1-5 CE], the principalities of the Western Regions split up and formed fifty-five kingdoms. Wang Mang, after he usurped the Throne [in 9 CE], demoted and changed their kings and marquises. Following this, the Western Regions became resentful, and rebelled. They, therefore, broke off all relations with the Interior [China] and, all together, submitted to the Xiongnu again.
The Xiongnu collected oppressively heavy taxes and the kingdoms were not able to support their demands. In the middle of the Jianwu period [25-56 CE], they each [Shanshan and Yarkand in 38 CE, and 18 kingdoms in 45 CE], sent envoys to ask if they could submit to the Interior [China], and to express their desire for a Protector General. Emperor Guangwu, decided that because the Empire was not yet settled [after a long period of civil war], he had no time for outside affairs, and [therefore] finally refused his consent [in 45 CE].
In the meantime, the Xiongnu became weaker. The king of Suoju [Yarkand], named Xian, wiped out several kingdoms. After Xian’s death [c. 62 CE], they began to attack and fight each other. Xiao Yuan [Tura], Jingjue [Cadota], Ronglu [Niya], and Qiemo [Cherchen] were annexed by Shanshan [the Lop Nur region]. Qule [south of Keriya] and Pishan [modern Pishan or Guma] were conquered and fully occupied by Yutian [Khotan]. Yuli [Fukang], Danhuan, Guhu [Dawan Cheng], and Wutanzili were destroyed by Jushi22 [Turpan and Jimasa]. Later these kingdoms were re-established.
During the Yongping period [58-75 CE], the Northern Scoundrels [Northern Xiongnu] forced several countries to help them plunder the commanderies and districts of Hexi. The gates of the towns stayed shut in broad daylight."[15]

And, more particularly in reference to Kashgar itself, is the following record:

"In the sixteenth Yongping year of Emperor Ming 73, Jian, the king of Qiuci (Kucha), attacked and killed Cheng, the king of Shule (Kashgar). Then he appointed the Qiuci (Kucha) Marquis of the Left, Douti, King of Shule (Kashgar). In winter 73, the Han sent the Major Ban Chao who captured and bound Douti. He appointed Zhong, the son of the elder brother of Cheng, to be king of Shule (Kashgar). Zhong later rebelled. (Ban) Chao attacked and beheaded him."[16]

The Kushans

The Hou Hanshu also gives the only extant historical record of Yuezhi or Kushan involvement in the Kashgar oasis:

"During the Yuanchu period (114-120) in the reign of Emperor An, Anguo, the king of Shule (Kashgar), exiled his maternal uncle Chenpan to the Yuezhi (Kushans) for some offence. The king of the Yuezhi became very fond of him. Later, Anguo died without leaving a son. His mother directed the government of the kingdom. She agreed with the people of the country to put Yifu (lit. “posthumous child”), who was the son of a full younger brother of Chenpan on the throne as king of Shule (Kashgar). Chenpan heard of this and appealed to the Yuezhi (Kushan) king, saying:

"Anguo had no son. His relative (Yifu) is weak. If one wants to put on the throne a member of (Anguo’s) mother’s family, I am Yifu’s paternal uncle, it is I who should be king."
The Yuezhi (Kushans) then sent soldiers to escort him back to Shule (Kashgar). The people had previously respected and been fond of Chenpan. Besides, they dreaded the Yuezhi (Kushans). They immediately took the seal and ribbon from Yifu and went to Chenpan, and made him king. Yifu was given the title of Marquis of the town of Pangao [90 li, or 37 km, from Shule]. Then Suoju (Yarkand) continued to resist Yutian (Khotan), and put themselves under Shule (Kashgar). Thus Shule (Kashgar), became powerful and a rival to Qiuci (Kucha) and Yutian (Khotan)."[16]

However, it was not very long before the Chinese began to reassert their authority in the region:

“In the second Yongjian year (127), during Emperor Shun’s reign, Chenpan sent an envoy to respectfully present offerings. The Emperor bestowed on Chenpan the title of Great Commandant-in-Chief for the Han. Chenxun, who was the son of his elder brother, was appointed Temporary Major of the Kingdom. In the fifth year (130), Chenpan sent his son to serve the Emperor and, along with envoys from Dayuan (Ferghana) and Suoju (Yarkand), brought tribute and offerings.”[16]

From an earlier part of the same text comes the following addition:

“In the first Yangjia year (132), Xu You sent the king of Shule (Kashgar), Chenpan, who with 20,000 men, attacked and defeated Yutian (Khotan). He beheaded several hundred people, and released his soldiers to plunder freely. He replaced the king [of Jumi] by installing Chengguo from the family of [the previous king] Xing, and then he returned.”[17]

Then the first passage continues:

“In the second Yangjia year (133), Chenpan again made offerings (including) a lion and zebu cattle. Then, during Emperor Ling’s reign, in the first Jianning year [168], the king of Shule (Kashgar) and Commandant-in-Chief for the Han (i.e. presumably Chenpan), was shot while hunting by the youngest of his paternal uncles, Hede. Hede named himself king. In the third year (170), Meng Tuo, the Inspector of Liangzhou, sent the Provincial Officer Ren She, commanding five hundred soldiers from Dunhuang, with the Wuji Major Cao Kuan, and Chief Clerk of the Western Regions, Zhang Yan, brought troops from Yanqi (Karashahr), Qiuci (Kucha), and the Nearer and Further States of Jushi (Turpan and Jimasa), altogether numbering more than 30,000, to punish Shule (Kashgar). They attacked the town of Zhenzhong [Arach – near Maralbashi] but, having stayed for more than forty days without being able to subdue it, they withdrew. Following this, the kings of Shule (Kashgar) killed one another repeatedly while the Imperial Government was unable to prevent it.”[18]

Three Kingdoms to the Sui

These centuries are marked by the general silence on Kashgar and the Tarim Basin in general.

The Weilüe, composed in the second third of the 3rd century, mentions a number of states as dependencies of Kashgar: the kingdom of Zhenzhong (Arach?), the kingdom of Suoju (Yarkand), the kingdom of Jieshi, the kingdom of Qusha, the kingdom of Xiye (Khargalik), the kingdom of Yinai (Tashkurghan), the kingdom of Manli (modern Karasul), the kingdom of Yire (Mazar – also known as Tágh Nák and Tokanak), the kingdom of Yuling, the kingdom of Juandu (‘Tax Control’ – near modern Irkeshtam), the kingdom of Xiuxiu (‘Excellent Rest Stop’ – near Karakavak), and the kingdom of Qin.

However, much of the information on the Western Regions contained in the Weilüe seems to have ended roughly about (170), near the end of Han power. So, we can’t be sure that this is a reference to the state of affairs during the Cao Wei (220-265), or whether it refers to the situation before the civil war during the Later Han when China lost touch with most foreign countries and came to be divided into three separate kingdoms.

The Sanguoshi, ch. 30 says that after the beginning of the Wei Dynasty (220) the states of the Western Regions did not arrive as before, except for the larger ones such as Kucha, Khotan, Kangju, Wusun, Kashgar, Yuezhi, Shanshan and Turpan, who are said to have come to present tribute every year, as in Han times.

In 270, four states from the Western Regions were said to have presented tribute: Karashahr, Turpan, Shanshan, and Kucha. Some wooden documents from Niya seem to indicate that contacts were also maintained with Kashgar and Khotan also had contact about this time.

In 422, according to the Songshu, ch. 98, the king of Shanshan, Bilong, came to the court and "the thirty-six states in the Western Regions" all swore their allegiance and presented tribute. It must be assumed that these 36 states included Kashgar.

The "Songji" of the Zizhi Tongjian records that in the 5th month of 435, nine states: Kucha, Kashgar, Wusun, Yueban, Tashkurghan, Shanshan, Karashahr, Turpan and Sute all came to the Wei court.

In 439, according to the Weishu, ch. 4A, Shanshan, Kashgar and Karashahr sent envoys to present tribute.

According to the Weishu, ch. 102, Chapter on the Western Regions, the kingdoms of Kucha, Kashgar, Wusun, Yueban, Tashkurghan, Shanshan, Karashahr, Turpan and Sute all began sending envoys to present tribute in the Taiyuan reign period (435-440).

In 453 Kashgar sent envoys to present tribute (Weishu, ch. 5), and again in 455.

An embassy sent during the reign of Wencheng Di (452-466) from the king of Kashgar presented a supposed sacred relic of the Buddha; a dress which was incombustible.

In 507 Kashgar, is said to have sent envoys in both the 9th and 10th months (Weishu, ch. 8).

In 512, Kashgar sent envoys in the 1st and 5th months. (Weishu, ch. 8).

Early in the 6th century Kashgar is included among the many territories controlled by the Yeda or Hephthalite Huns, but their empire collapsed at the onslaught of the Western Turks between 563 and 567 who then probably gained control over Kashgar and most of the states in the Tarim Basin.

The Tang Dynasty

Kashgar’s Sunday market

The opening of the Tang Dynasty, in 618, saw the beginning of a prolonged struggle between China and the Western Turks for control of the Tarim Basin.

In 635 the Tang Annals report an embassy from the king of Kashgar. In 639 there was a second embassy bringing products of Kashgar as a token of submission.

Xuan Zang passed through Kashgar (which he refers to as Ka-sha) in 644 on his return journey from India to China. The Buddhist religion, then beginning to decay in India, was active in Kashgar. Xuan Zang records that they flattened their babies heads, were ill-favoured, tattooed their bodies and had green eyes. He said they had abundant crops, fruits and flowers, wove fine woollen stuffs and rugs, their writing had been copied from India but their language was different from that of other countries. The inhabitants were sincere believers in Buddhism and there were some hundreds of monasteries with more than 10,000 followers, all members of the Sarvastivadin School.

Contemporaneously, Nestorian Christians were establishing bishoprics at Herat, Merv and Samarkand, whence they subsequently proceeded to Kashgar, and finally to China proper itself.

In 646, when the Turkish Kagan asked for the hand of a Chinese princess, the Emperor claimed Kucha, Khotan, Kashgar, Karashahr and Sarikol as a marriage gift, but this was not to happen.

In a series of campaigns between 652 and 658, with the help of the Uyghurs, the Chinese finally defeated the Western Turk tribes and took control of all their domains, including the Tarim Basin kingdoms.

In 662 a rebellion broke out in the Western Regions and a Chinese army sent to control it was badly defeated by the Tibetans south of Kashgar.

After another defeat of the Chinese forces in 670, the Tibetans gained control of the whole region and completely subjugated Kashgar in 676-8 and retained possession of it until 692, when China regained control of all their former territories, and retained it for the next fifty years.

In 722 Kashgar sent 4,000 troops to assist the Chinese to force the "Tibetans out of "Little Bolu" or Gilgit.

In 728, the king of Kashgar was awarded a brevet by the Chinese emperor.

In 739, the Tangshu relates that the governor of the Chinese garrison in Kashgar, with the help of Ferghana, was interfering in the affairs of the Turgash tribes as far as Talas.

In 751 the Chinese suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Arabs in Talas; a blow from which they never fully recovered. The Tibetans cut all communication between China and the West in 766.

Soon after the Chinese pilgrim monk Wukong passed through Kashgar in 753. He again reached Kashgar on his return trip from India in 786 and mentions a Chinese deputy governor as well as the local king.

The Arab Caliphate

In the 8th century came the Arab rule from the west, and we find Kashgar and Turkestan lending assistance to the reigning queen of Bokhara, to enable her to repel the enemy. But although the Muslim religion from the very commencement sustained checks, it nevertheless made its weight felt upon the independent states of Turkestan to the north and east, and thus acquired a steadily growing influence. It was not, however, till the 10th century that Islam was established at Kashgar, under the Uyghur kingdom.

The Uyghurs

An Uyghur naan baker.

Modern Uyghurs are the descendants of ancient Turkic tribes including Uyghurs and ancient Caucasian inhabitants of Tarim basin. Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan, the most celebrated prince of this line, converted to Islam late in the 10th century and the Uyghur kingdom lasted until 1120 but was distracted by complicated dynastic struggles. The Uyghurs employed an alphabet based upon the Syriac and borrowed from the Nestorian missionaries, but after converting to Islam widely used also an Arabic script. They spoke a dialect of Turkish preserved in the Kudatku Bilik, a moral treatise composed in 1065.

The Mongols

The Uyghur kingdom was destroyed by an invasion of the Kara-Khitai, another Turkish tribe pressing westwards from the Chinese frontier, who in their turn were swept away in 1219 by Genghis Khan. His invasion gave a decided check to the progress of the Muslim creed, but on his death, and during the rule of the Chagatai Khans, who became converts to that faith, it began to reassert its ascendancy.

Marco Polo visited the city, which he calls Cascar, about 1273-4 and recorded the presence of numerous Nestorian Christians, who had their own churches.

In 1389–1390 Timur ravaged Kashgar, Andijan and the intervening country. Kashgar endured a troubled time, and in 1514, on the invasion of the Khan Sultan Said, was destroyed by Mirza Ababakar, who with the aid of ten thousand men built a new fort with massive defences higher up on the banks of the Tuman river. The dynasty of the Jagatai Khans collapsed in 1572 with the division of the country among rival factions; soon after, two powerful Khoja factions, the White and Black Mountaineers (Ak Taghliq or Afaqi, and Kara Taghliq or Ishaqi), arose whose differences and war-making gestures, with the intermittent episode of the Oirats of Dzungaria, make up much of recorded history in Kashgar until 1759.

Qing Reconquest

In 1759, a Qing army from Ili (Kulja) invaded Turkistan and consolidated their authority by settling other ethnics emigrants in the vicinity of a Manchu garrison.

The Qing had thoughts of pushing their conquests towards Transoxiana and Samarkand, the chiefs of which sent to ask assistance of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah Abdali. This monarch dispatched an ambassador to Beijing to demand the restitution of the Muslim states of Central Asia, but the representative was not well received, and Ahmed Shah was too busy fighting off the Sikhs to attempt to enforce his demands by arms. The Qing continued to hold Kashgar with occasional interruptions from Muslim-centered groups. One of the most serious of these occurred in 1827, when the city was taken by Jahanghir Khoja; Chang-lung, however, the Qing general of Ili, regained possession of Kashgar and the other rebellious cities in 1828. A revolt in 1829 under Mahommed Ali Khan and Yusuf, brother of Jahanghir resulted in the concession of several important trade privileges to the Muslims of the district of Alty Shahr (the “six cities”), as it was then called.

The area then enjoyed relative calm until 1846 under the rule of Zahir-ud-din, the local Uyghur governor, but in that year a new Khoja revolt under Kath Tora led to his accession to rulership of the city as an authoritarian ruler. His reign, however, was brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Khokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants. The last of the Khoja revolts (1857) was of about equal duration, and took place under Wali-Khan, who murdered the famous traveler Adolf Schlagintweit.

The 1862 revolt

Night interview with Yakub Beg, King of Kashgaria, 1868

The great Tungani (Dungani) revolt, or insurrection of the Uygur Turks, which broke out in 1862 in Gansu, spread rapidly to Dzungaria and through the line of towns in the Tarim Basin.

The Tungani troops in Yarkand rose, and in August 1864 massacred some seven thousand Chinese, while the inhabitants of Kashgar, rising in their turn against their masters, invoked the aid of Sadik Beg, a Kyrgyz chief, who was reinforced by Buzurg Khan, the heir of Jahanghir, and his general Yakub Beg (surnamed the Atalik Ghazi), these being dispatched at Sadik’s request by the ruler of Khokand to raise what troops they could to aid his Muslim friends in Kashgar.

Sadik Beg soon repented of having asked for a Khoja, and eventually marched against Kashgar, which by this time had succumbed to Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg, but was defeated and driven back to Khokand. Buzurg Khan delivered himself up to indolence and debauchery, but Yakub Beg, with singular energy and perseverance, made himself master of Yangi Shahr, Yangi-Hissar, Yarkand and other towns, and eventually became sole master of the country, Buzurg Khan proving himself totally unfit for the post of ruler.

With the overthrow of Chinese rule in 1865 by Yakub Beg (1820-1877), the manufacturing industries of Kashgar are supposed to have declined.

Kashgar and the other cities of the Tarim Basin remained under Yakub Beg’s rule until May 1877, when he died at Korla and Kashgaria was reconquered by the forces of the Qing general Zuo Zongtang.


Kashgar’s Old City has been called “the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in Central Asia, but it is now being razed by the Chinese government which plans to replace the old buildings with new.”[19] "The demolition of swaths of the Old Town of Kashgar is being carried out in the name of modernisation and safety. The famed trading hub on the Silk Road, on which caravans carrying silk and jade from China crossed with merchants from Central Asia bringing furs and spices, will effectively disappear. . . . A small area visited by tourists seeking a flavour of Kashgar’s rich history will be preserved."[20] At present, it is estimated to attract more than one million tourist visitors annually.[21]

  • The huge Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China, is located in the heart of the city.
  • An 18-m (59 ft) high statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in Kashgar is one of the few large-scale statues of Mao remaining in China.
  • The tomb of Abakh Khoja in Kashgar is considered the holiest Muslim site in Xinjiang. Built in the 17th century, the tiled mausoleum 5 km (3.1 mi) northeast of the city centre also contains the tombs of five generations of his family. Abakh was a powerful ruler, controlling Khotan, Yarkand, Korla, Kucha and Aksu as well as Kashgar. Among some Uyghur Muslims, he was considered a prophet, second only to Mohammed in importance.

Threats to Kashgar's Old Town

As of 2009, an effort was under way to demolish the majority of the Old City of Kashgar and construct new buildings in its place.

The old town of Kashgar, deemed overcrowded and unsafe for its residents (nearly half of the city's population lives within the old town)[22], will have at least 85% of its structures demolished. Demolitions have already begun, with many of its former denizens forced to move. The city administration plans to build high-rise apartments, plazas, and reproductions of Islamic architecture.[23]

Most of the Old City’s 13,000 resident families were to be relocated. The stated purpose of redevelopment is earthquake safety; the city’s older buildings, many of which are built from mud and straw, are considered to be vulnerable to collapse in a seismic event. The Chinese government plans to invest 3 billion yuan (US $441.2 million) on this facelift to the ancient city over the next five years.[24] The plans have been widely criticized for destroying cultural history and eliminating Kashgar’s main tourist attraction.[21][25]


Kashgar is home to an important Muslim community (Uyghurs). The area does not have the same high level of Han Chinese immigration as does Ürümqi, Xinjiang’s largest city, which is strongly industrial.

Kashgar market

Economics and society

The city has a very important Sunday market. Thousands of farmers from the surrounding fertile lands come into the city to sell a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Kashgar’s livestock market is also very lively. Silk and carpets made in Hotan are sold at bazaars, as well as local crafts, such as copper teapots and wooden jewellery boxes.

Mahmud al-Kashgari (Turkish: Kaşgarlı Mahmut) (Mahmut from Kashgar) wrote the first Turkish - Arabic Exemplary Dictionary called Divan-ı Lugat-it Türk[citation needed]

The movie The Kite Runner was filmed in Kashgar.


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kashgar is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ Guójiā cèhuìjú dìmíng yánjiūsuǒ 国家测绘局地名研究所: Zhōngguó dìmínglù 中国地名录 (Gazetteer of China; Beijing, Zhōngguó dìtú chūbǎnshè 中国地图出版社 1997); ISBN 7-5031-1718-4, p. 117.
  2. ^ [1] accessed 24 December 2008.
  3. ^ "The Triple System of Orography in Ptolemy’s Xinjiang." Étienne de la Vaissière. Exegisti monumenta : Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams. Edited by Werner Sundermann, Almut Hintze and François de Blois, p. 530. Harrowitz Verlag. Wiesbaden.
  4. ^ E.g., René Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia, ISBN 0-813-51304-9, p. 360.
  5. ^ "Cascar" is the spelling used in most accounts of the travels of Bento de Góis, starting with the main primary source: Trigault, Nicolas S. J. "China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Mathew Ricci: 1583-1610". English translation by Louis J. Gallagher, S.J. (New York: Random House, Inc. 1953). Cascar (Kashgar) is discussed extensively in, Book Five, Chapter 11, "Cathay and China: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Jesuit Lay Brother" and Chapter 12, "Cathay and China Proved to Be Identical." (pp. 499-521 in 1953 edition). The full Latin text of the original work, De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, is available on Google Books.
  6. ^ Cashgar
  7. ^ Xinjiang Airport Authority
  8. ^ Issue 21 – Analysis – Fear and Loathing split Xinjiang’s would-be Las Vegas
  9. ^ China Rail Map
  10. ^ Kyrgyzstan Daily Digest
  11. ^
  12. ^ Bus schedule posted in Bishkek’s Western Bust Terminal. Seen in September 2007.
  13. ^ Williams. Eds W. Sundermann, A. Hintze and F. de Blois. Harrassowitz Verlag. Wiesbaden. ISBN 978-3-447-05937-4.
  14. ^ International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia and Oceania By Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, Sharon La Boda, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Page 456
  15. ^ Hill (2009), p. 3.
  16. ^ a b c Hill (2009), p. 43.
  17. ^ Hill (2009), p. 15.
  18. ^ Hill (2009), pp. 43, 45.
  19. ^ George Michell, in the 2008 book Kashgar: Oasis City on China’s Old Silk Road, quoted by Michael Wines in the New York Times, May 27, 2009. ("To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It")
  20. ^ "End of the Silk Road for historic trading hub of Kashgar." Jane Macartney. June 19, 2009.
  21. ^ a b Michael Wines, To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It, New York Times, May 27, 2009
  22. ^ Fan, Maureen (March 24, 2009). "An Ancient Culture, Bulldozed Away". Washington Post. 
  23. ^ Wines, Michael (May 27, 2009). "To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ "China says police shot dead 12 Uighurs this month." Reuters. 18 July, 2009.
  25. ^ Hammer, Joshua (March), "Wrecking History", Smithsonian: pp. 24 -33 


  • Boulger, Demetrius Charles The Life of Yakoob Beg, Athalik Ghazi and Badaulet, Ameer of Kashgar (London: W.H. Allen & Co.) 1878
  • Gordon, T. E. 1876. The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint: Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company. Taipei. 1971.
  • Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1. 
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilüe 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [2]
  • Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  • Kim, Hodong Holy war in China. The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (Stanford University Press) 2004
  • Puri, B. N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi, 1987. (2000 reprint).
  • Shaw, Robert. 1871. Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar. Reprint with introduction by Peter Hopkirk, Oxford University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-19-583830-0.
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1907. Ancient Khotan: Detailed report of archaeological explorations in Chinese Turkestan, 2 vols. Clarendon Press. Oxford. [3]
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980. [4]
  • Yu, Taishan. 2004. A History of the Relationships between the Western and Eastern Han, Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Western Regions. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 131 March, 2004. Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania.

External links

Coordinates: 39°28′N 75°59′E / 39.467°N 75.983°E / 39.467; 75.983

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kashgar (喀什; Kāshí; Uyghur: قەشقەر) is in the extreme west of China and the Southwest extreme of Xinjiang. It is also at a junction between two branches of the old Silk Road.


Kashgar has been an important trading center since the days of the Silk Road, and still is today. The road from Eastern and Central China branches out to both the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the desert.

The local population is a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks, boasting a colorful ethnic variety.

The city is said to have the largest bazaar in Asia.

The Chinese government has recently begun implementing its plan to "make the city earthquake proof" by tearing down the ancient old city and replacing it with tacky Chinese modernity.

Get in

By plane

Kashgar Airport (IATA: KHG) is 18km north of the town center. Flights are available to/from Urumqi and Islamabad. Flights are now available to Hong Kong as well. A taxi to the city should cost about yen;22 by meter. Shuttle buses are available for 10RMB per person.

By train

Kashgar Railway Station (喀什火车站; Kǎshì Huǒchēzhàn) is the main train station in the city. It is on Renmin East Road (人民东路; Rénmíndōnglù). Although it is east of the town center, the distance is too far for walking. Bus 28 connects the city including Renmin Square (人民广场; Rénmín Guángchǎng), to the train station. From the train station, walk out and turn right and you will probably see a bus waiting there already. The fare is ¥1 and is paid onboard. If you do not know where you are going, get on bus 28, get off at Renmin Square and figure things out from there; the downtown is walkable and Xinhua Bookstore (新华书店; Xīnhuá Shūdiàn), is right next to the main square where you will be able to purchase the best maps of Kashgar for about ¥5-8 (however, these maps are only in Chinese).

From the train station, Qinibagh and Seman Hotels can be reached a couple of stops after Renmin Square on bus 28 and then walking uphill for about 5 minutes; the people on the bus can probably help you and most people on the street know where these places are.

If you take a taxi from the train station, do not succumb to drivers who pounce on your back asking you where you are going. They should not be asking you and by succumbing to them you are supporting this irritating practice. Instead, go for taxi drivers on the street or those who do not bother you in your face, and be blunt to the others.

Kashgar is at the end of the Urumqi-Kashgar line, so all trains departing Kashgar go toward Urumqi. Destinations of interest include:

  • Korla - takes about 13-16 hours
  • Kuqa - takes about 9-11 hours
  • Urumqi - takes 24 or 30 hours (fast train departs Urumqi 11:21, departs Kashgar 13:00ish; hard sleeper RMB340)
  • Turpan - about 22 hours by the fast train

By bus

International Bus Station is at 5 Jicheng Road

  • Korla- takes about 16 hours
  • Kuqa- takes about 11 hours
  • Urumqi- takes about 24 hours
  • Sost, Pakistan- overnight stay at Tashkurgan required at own expense
  • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan- takes about 16 hours including overnight stay (must have PSB permit and valid visa for Kyrgyzstan)

Kashgar Bus Station is at Tiannan Road

  • Hotan- takes about 10 hours
  • Tashkurgan- takes about 8 hours
  • Yecheng- takes about 4 hours

By car

The Karakoram Highway runs from Pakistan into China. Kashgar is the nearest major town on the Chinese end.

Get around

Most of Kashgar including the bus station, bazaar, main square, downtown (with the notable exception of the animal market) can be reached on foot within 15-20 minutes of each other if you are not carrying huge amounts of baggage. The train station is too far to walk but is reachable with public bus 28 which, among other places, stops at Renmin Square (人民广场; Rénmín Guángchǎng), the main square. The international bus station is near the city and walkable.

The old town and narrow alleyways are pretty much only explorable on foot.

Cross streets carefully in Kashgar as no pedestrian crossings are available.

Cycling is an option but the traffic is somewhat dangerous, so only do this if you are experienced with this kind of traffic environment. Bicycles can be rented at major hotels such as Qinibagh for typically less than ¥30/day.

  • Mal Bazaar, (Take bus 16 from Renmin Square to get there (¥1)). Sundays. The livestock market, where locals from all the surrounding villages come to town to buy and sell animals. It is held on an open and fenced ground. It is popular with tourists, but the market is so big it still feels like a working bazaar.  edit
  • Yengi Bazaar. Daily. The handicrafts, cloths, carpets and anything-else-you-can-expect market. Less crowded on weekdays. Bargain hard!  edit
  • Old Town. The warren-like old town is worth visiting for its winding streets, friendly if occasionally guarded residents and delightfully improvised architecture. A ¥30 toll is levied at the main entrances to the residential district, but this can be evaded by finding a back entrance into the area through the multitudinous back alleys that exit onto the main roads.  edit
  • Id Kah Mosque. Open 8:50AM-10PM though closed during services. First built in 1442, it is distinctive for its yellow walls and Central Asian architecture. Women are generally not allowed inside, but modestly dressed foreigners should have no problem. You should remove your shoes before entering the carpeted area. ¥20.  edit
  • Tomb of Apak Hoja, (It is 3km from the city center, and there are bus and taxi connections to Renmin Square). 8AM-5:30PM, prayer day is Friday. A massive, elegant building created in 1640 in typical Islamic style. Also a pilgrimage site. ¥30.  edit
  • Tomb of Yusup Khass Hajip. The tomb of Kashgar's much loved philosopher and poet who wrote the 13,290-line poem The Wisdom of Happiness and Pleasure in the Uighur language. ¥30.  edit
  • Tomb of Mahmud Kashgari, (About an hour's drive from Kashgar in Upal). The tomb of an Uyghur scribe, famous for compiling a dictionary of the Turkic languages in the 11th century. This picturesque complex is situated on a hillside and includes a mosque and a sacred spring. Upal boasts a lively bazaar too. yen;30.  edit


The price of everything is negotiable in Kashgar, adding to excitement of shopping. Be polite in bargaining, but be mindful that merchants will overcharge you as a foreigner especially if you do not speak Uyghur or Chinese; so bargain hard. Price differences between locals and foreigners can easily amount to several hundred yuan so be careful. Local specialties include kilims (carpets), and colorful Central Asian hats(doppa, kalpak).


There are plenty of good local restaurants and street food.

  • Food stalls. For a variety of snacks and dishes, try the food stalls opposite the Id Kah mosque. The stalls start operating during the evening.  edit
  • Sunday Market. The Sunday market also has good things to eat.  edit

It may be wise to avoid anything with ice as the ice in Kashgar is usually carried in large blocks and frequently placed on the ground so they may not be clean. During the summer months there are huge heaps of melons and watermelons - cheap, tasty and refreshing. The going price for a hami melon (哈密瓜; hāmìguā) is around ¥1 per kilogram, so in total, it costs ¥2-5 per melon depending on the size. Buying, washing, and cutting it yourself is probably the most hygenic way to eat these fabulous tasty fruits. If you are staying at a hotel, you can also easily buy a simple cutting knife at any of these markets for about ¥1-3 as well so you should be all set.


There are not as many places serving alcohol in Kashgar as in other areas of China.

  • John's Cafe, (In Qiniwak Hotel (ancient british consulate)). Offers backpacker hospitality at 1.7 times the price of other locations, and is very popular among single travellers. Managed by Jack who speaks fluent english.  edit
  • Maitian International Youth Hostel (喀什麦田国际青年旅舍; Kāshí Màitián Guójìqīngniánlǚshè), Donghulao Area, Renmin East Road (人民东路东湖老区; Rénmíndōnglù Dōnghúlǎoqū) (300m from the 11th middle school, from the Train Station you can take bus 2 or 52 to Hongshan Bus Stop (¥1) or a taxi (¥6-6.5), from the airport you can take the airport bus (¥10), bus 51 to Hongshan Bus Stop (¥1) or a taxi (¥30-35)), +86 15099003886, +86 998 2362753 (), [1]. Dorms ¥40-100.  edit
  • Qiniwak Hotel (喀什其尼瓦克宾馆; Kāshí Qíníwǎkè Bīnguǎn), 144 Seman Road (色满路144号; Sèmǎnlù) (Occupies the building that used to be the British Consulate, at the cross road with Nuoerbeixi), +86 998 2981158. Offers dorm style bedrooms in the adjacent building. More expensive doubles have free internet. Business center, currency exchange, gift shop, ticket office, karaoke, massage and sauna available. Chinese and Western Restaurants as well as coffee shop and bar. Dorms ¥50 in a three bed room; discounted rates for doubles ¥160 including breakfast.  edit
  • Kashgar Guest House, Tawaguzi Road, +86 998 2612360 (fax: +86 998 2614679).  edit
  • Chini Bagh Hotel, 337 Seman Road, +86 998 2822103 (fax: +86 998 2842299). Prices for a double start at ¥70 in the older building.  edit
  • Seman Hotel (Seman Binguan), 337 Seman Road, +86 998 2582150 (fax: +86 998 2582129). In an old Russian consulate building, the rooms are oddly-shaped with simple bathrooms, common areas have high ceilings and military-themed oil paintings, 300 rooms. Prices for a double start at ¥100.  edit
  • Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel (喀什天缘国际酒店; Kāshí Tiānyuán Guójìjiǔdiàn), 8 Renmin East Road (人民东路8号; Rénmíndōnglù), +86 998 2801111 (fax: +86 998 2802266). Four star hotel with large rooms with free internet and mini bar. Business center, gift shop, ticket office, karaoke, spa, massage and sauna available. Chinese restaurant coffee shop and room service. The restaurant is not good, but the 24 hour spa, massage and sauna are excellent. Listed rates for doubles ¥780-1,880 including breakfast.  edit
  • Karakul Lake - Scenic alpine lake, located on the road to Tashkorgan and Pakistan.
  • Kashgar is also near the border with Kyrgyzstan, which can be accessed via the Torugart Pass.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Uyghur قەشقەر (K̡ǝxk̡ǝr)


Proper noun




  1. A city in Xinjiang, China.


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