Splendors of the Silk Road: Kashgar
Walking through the streets of Old Town in Kashgar was like going back in time. Said to be the heart of the Uyghur culture, it's an ancient town preserved in old traditions, but now facing many changes and an uncertain future. In an effort to provide better living conditions, China's government is tearing down thousand-year-old buildings and rebuilding a new "Old Town"' with a tourist center. Many Uyghurs fear their heritage and culture are being threatened, but have little say in the matter.
It was humbling to walk through the town, meeting some of the community members who have lived here for generations. Many talked of wanting to stay, how they enjoy the simple life and having all their friends and family nearby. As my guide took me through the narrow streets, artisans opened up their studios and mud brick homes to show off their works and sell their crafts. We came to a potter whose family has been making pottery for generations. He was cheerful and excited to have visitors, even with all the impending changes.
Arguably Kashgar’s most famous attraction is the Sunday livestock market. It was a shock to my senses with a great mix of trading livestock animals and people gathering to socialize. It was chaotic, mystical, and even musical to see the different men whispering their bids in the auctioneers' ears.
Changes are inevitable, and it's possible that even the Sunday market may not exist forever. But if your adventures take you to Kashgar soon, make sure you visit the market and the old Old Town—you won't be disappointed!
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Read more from the Splendors of the Silk Road blog series:
Splendors of the Silk Road: Xian
Splendors of the Silk Road: Dunhuang
Splendors of the Silk Road: Krygyzstan
Splendors of the Silk Road: Uzbekistan
For more information on this journey, visit The Silk Road: A Journey Through Time or call a GeoEx destination specialist at 888-570-7108.