While our Volkswagen Tiguan was being inspected at the Chinese-Kirghiz border, we had some time to take a breath and look around in the western capital of China – Kashgar. And first of all we certainly decided to visit the local market. To our surprise, there was nothing amazing there in comparison with the recently visited markets in other countries. And that’s the main peculiarity of the western part of China – there are not as many Chinese as we could expect. Multiethnic population of the western part of China and particularly Kashgar is dominated by Uyghurs – Turkic indigenous people of the Eastern Turkestan. And it is followed by Han Chinese as far as population size is concerned. As a consequence, there are many Muslims here, and the atmosphere seems more “Asian” than “Chinese”. Moreover, almost all signs are both in Chinese and Arabic.
Especially remarkable is a large number of policemen on the streets and total security control: metal detectors are located at entrances to various stores, markets and venues, and you can see policemen with shields, batons and other weapons everywhere, but it does not cause any discomfort.
One of the peculiarities are Uyghur clothes slightly resembling embroidered shirts as well as live scorpions used for medical purposes.
Kashgar's Old City is an important place on Marco Polo's Silk Road where merchants were deciding which route they would take. In recognition of this fact, the monument of the camelcade was erected on the square near fantastic walls of the Old Town.
We feel that we are on the right track.
When we had some time to see the city in the evening, we visited the night market, walked along the streets of the historical center and even rode electric scooters – the best way to move around Chinese cities.
Meanwhile, our Volkswagen Tiguan was successfully inspected, and Rainer took it from the customs office in order to continue our journey next day.
Author: Dmitry Makarov