The Kashgar Prefecture, with Kashgar as capital, covers the southwestern tip of Xin Jiang, roughly west of the Yarkant River and south of the Kashgar River. These rivers are fed from the Tarakoram Range and the Pamir Plateau respectively and provide ample water for a major agriculture with wheat, cotton and grapes as main crop.

The area sports international borders with Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and historically has been a convergence point for different races, cultures, religions and states. Here,Baghdad is actually closer-by than Beijing, both in distance and culture.

The Northern and Southern branches of the Silk Road merged in Kashgar before entering the high mountains on the way to Persia and the Levant. This strategic location brought wealth and power to the region and gave the city of Kashgar the nickname “Pearl of the Silk Road”. A modern version of the Silk Road is the very scenic Karakoram Highway that connects Kashgar with Abbottabad and than further to Islamabad in Pakistan.


Ethnic Turkic Uyghurs settled in the Tarim Basin in the 9th century and their culture has since dominated the Kashgar region, as can still be experienced in old town Kashgar, and the Sunday Market.


In 2010 Kashgar became a Special Economic Zone to stimulate economic growth and has indeed developed rapidly ever since. But it also increased tensions as scores of Han Chinese from the east-coast have settled here and bought large swatches of “traditional Uyghur land”.


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Kashgar market
Kashgar old town
Karakoram Hwy