As one of the popular travel destinations in Xinjiang, stepping into Kashgar is like being transported into the mysterious Arabian Fairy Tales.
This far-flung city in Xinjiang is a must-see for its beautiful scenery and intoxicating culture. Miraculous, modern China peels away to reveal the arresting sights, sounds, fragrance and atmosphere of a 2,000-year-old Middle Eastern Town.
Kashgar Old Town
The soul of Kashgar lies in the Kashgar Old Town which has a history of more than 2,000 years. Located in downtown Kashgar, the old town covers an area of 4.25 square kilometres.
It is a unique maze city with over 200 narrow alleys. If you get lost, the hexagonal bricks under your feet will lead you out of the old town. But if you walk along with the bricks with four corners, you will walk into a blind alley.
Most of the buildings here are a combination of Islamic and Uygur styles. The houses in the core area are the world's largest adobe complexes.
Tourists can get a lot of information from the doors of the local houses. If two doors are open, it represents that the male host is at home. If only one door is open, it means only the hostess is at home. And if a curtain is hung over the front door, it means a guest is visiting this family now.
Entrance fee: 30 RMB
Note: There are many entrances to the old town, some of which do not require a ticket.
Transportation: Buses No. 2, 7, 22 and 28
Id Kah Mosque
"Id Kah" means "a place of praying and celebrating in festivals." The Id Kah Mosque is the largest mosque in China, covering 16,800 square meters. The mosque was built in 1442 and is located in the central square in Kashgar.
It was once a cemetery, the Id Kah Mosque consists of a courtyard, a hall of prayer, a gate tower and other structures.
Muslims worship five times a day. There are usually 2,000 or 3,000 Muslims worshipping here, and during festivals, as many as 20,000 to 30,000.
There are some religious customs that you should pay attention to. Never stand in front of a Muslim when they worship, because they are facing the direction of the holy city of Mecca in the west.
Entrance fee: 20 RMB
Opening time: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (The mosque closes during worship time.)
Transportation: Buses No. 2, 7, 8, 13, 22 and 28
On the Pamir Plateau of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, there is a lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Lake Karakul, famous for its colour-changing water and breathtaking views, is a wonderland hidden in the mountains.
Lake Karakul is a glacial lake. It is located in Akto County of the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture, 196 kilometres away from Kashgar City of Xinjiang. It has an altitude of 3,600 meters and is the highest lake on the plateau. From the lake, three snow-capped mountains are visible: Muztagh Ata, Kongur Tagh and Kongur Tiube. All the peaks are more than 7,000 meters in elevation.
"Karakul" means "black sea" in the local language as the lake looks dark when the sun is blocked by the clouds. Surrounded by mountains, the lake is an ideal mountaineering camp for professional mountain climbers.
Entrance fee: 50 RMB
Best visiting time: August-September
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