Kashgar ('Kashi') is home to one of the largest livestock markets in Asia and must-see destination for Silk Road travel, held to the east of town every Sunday. Just about everything on two and four legs is sold here, including cows, sheep and goats, meant for the dinner table (yes, they can get slaughtered in situ - I was tempted to put 'before' & 'after' shots here, but there are children reading this). Horses, donkeys and camels for transport purposes are also sold here and it's possible to see them test ridden if you're here at the right time, however, getting in the way is not advised unless you want to get trampled all over by a horse being ridden at full speed.
Other goods also get sold and a great deal of innovation is used, such as water troughs made out of rubber tyres. Back in Kashgar is one of the largest clothing and household goods market I think I've ever seen. Almost everything is bought and sold, including the famous local knifeware from around the Tarim Basin and enough skull caps to seemingly stretch all the way along the old Silk Road.
Kashgar was traditionally one of the major trading places along the old Silk Road from Xian (the best destination forChina tour deals) via the Tarim Basin and places further west such as Samarkand and Bukhara (see my 'Uzbekistan' information page for more info.) to Antioch (Turkey), where goods from east and west were traded.
Islam is the one thing that truly gives the Uygyr a separate identity to the Han Chinese and even though the young seem to be less devout than their elders (some even enjoying alcohol and a more western style of life - women & men mixing in everyday life unlike the past), it still influences most aspects of Uygyr life from dress to diet (pork is a no-no and mutton is king). It's influence here is still strong enough at the end of Ramadan to fill Id Kah Mosque on Friday, plus the square outside and some of the surrounding streets - the mosque is not big enough to cope for this key Muslim festival. That is despite the mosque and it's grounds making this the biggest place of Islamic worship in Central Asia.
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Facts of Kashgar