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15 October 2011 / leggypeggy

The end of China’s earth

The old city of Kashgar.

In spite of our run-in with the thieving barber of Kashgar (see Always agree on a price FIRST in the China category), we really enjoyed our two days in this city of half a million people. Located in the far, far west of China, this oh-so-distant oasis was thought to be the end of the Chinese earth by early travellers. For us—arriving from eastern Kyrgyzstan and after many days of remote camping—it was our first taste of mod-cons in a several weeks. Oh wow, running water and flushing toilets!

Luckily, some parts of Kashgar still have a sense of history about them. The guidebooks recommend visiting the old city—which, in the past, charged admission to let you in. But you’d better be quick if you want to get a real feel for how the place looked as recently as a month ago. As we strolled through the ancient parts, we could see that demolition was underway everywhere and in earnest. It’s heartbreaking to see these old buildings go, but I suppose it’s hard to argue with people who want to move into the present century. In many of the places we visited on this overland journey, only a listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site has kept the people honouring and nurturing their past.

This slideshow has some views of the old city, but I can’t offer any detail on what’s what. I’m also going to add a post on the amazing market in Kashgar that sells absolutely everything. I don’t think there’s any chance it will be demolished any time soon.

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