Kashgar is an oasis city in Xinjiang Province. It is one of the westernmost cities of China, located near the border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. With a population of over 500,000, Kashgar has a history of over 2,000 years and served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Road .
Ptolemy (AD 90-168), in his Geography, refers to Kashgar as “Kasi”. Its western and probably indigenous name is the Kāš (“rock”), to which the East Iranian -γar (“mountain”); cf. Pashto and Middle Persian gar/ġar, from Old Persian/Pahlavi girīwa (“hill; ridge (of a mountain)”) was attached.
Located historically at the convergence point of widely varying cultures and empires, Kashgar has been under the rule of the Chinese, Turkic, Mongol, and Tibetan empires. The city has also been the site of a number of battles between various groups of people on the steppes.
Kashgar Cross Roads though History
Today, Kashgar forms a terminus of the Karakoram Highway, whose reconstruction is considered a major part of the multi-billion dollar China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, The highway is a popular tourist attraction, and is one of the highest paved roads in the world, passing through the Karakoram mountain range, at the Khunjerab pass. The summit of the road is higher than any mountain top in the continental United States, an elevation of 4,714 meters (15,466 ft)
The earliest mention of Kashgar occurs when a Chinese envoy traveled the Northern Silk Road to explore lands to the west.
Another early mention of Kashgar is during the Former Han (also known as the Western Han dynasty), when in 76 BCE the Chinese conquered the Xiongnu, Yutian (Khotan), Sulei (Kashgar), and a group of states in the Tarim basin almost up to the foot of the Tian Shan range.
Ptolemy speaks of Scythia beyond Han dynasty the Imaus, which is in a “Kasia Regio”, probably exhibiting the name from which Kashgar and Kashgaria (often applied to the district) are formed. The country’s people practised Zoroastrianism and Buddhism before the coming of Islam.
In the Book of Han, which covers the period between 125 BCE and 23 CE, it is recorded that there were 1,510 households, 18,647 people and 2,000 persons able to bear arms. By the time covered by the Book of the Later Han (roughly 25 to 170 CE), it had grown to 21,000 households and had 3,000 men able to bear arms.[ The Book of the Later Han provides a wealth of detail on developments in the region.
Silk Road to See in Kashgar
Id Kah Mosque
Located in the central square of Kashgar, the Id Kah Mosque is the largest and according to many, the most beautiful mosque in China. In Uyghur language, it translates to “place for festival” or “place of worship”.
Islam was first introduced into Northwest China by Arab merchants and travelers in the mid-7th century. The original mosque was built in 1442 by Saksimirza, the ruler of Kashgar, and since then it has been through continuous reparations and extensions to its present shape and size.
Today, the Id Kah Mosque attracts thousands of worshipers everyday. It serves as the center for Islamic festivals and activities of the entire Xinjiang province, playing host to major religious festivals and celebrations such as the Kurban Festival and the Ramadan Festival.