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Published: July 12th 2022
Kashgar (Kashi) Ancient City
I think that I may have fallen in love with Kashgar.
This is a city in the dry arid country in the far west of China. It is close to the borders of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. You could also throw Afghanistan and Pakistan into that "close to" list. It does not feel like China. It has architecture, sights , sounds, smells and food that remind me of Arabia, Turkey, Mediterranean Africa even Zanzibar. With Moorish architecture and mud brick buildings and the oppressive heat.
On our first day we explored the Ancient City. This has a wonderful feel to it. I must say that it is now almost a caricature as it has been remodeled and decorated and upgraded for the tourist trade. It still retains enough authenticity however to not be kitch or overdone. At the entrance our tour guide was insistent that we watched a traditional dance performance. We arrived at what must have been an interval. We waited, and waited, we were bored. Yet the tour guide encouraged us to stay. By the time the dancing started the crowd was so deep that I could not see anything. I ended
up holding my camera above my head, hoping to get some pictures to review later. Eventually we insisted and the tour guide took us to another entrance to enter the ancient town. Members of our group went separate ways. I explored the streets and back alleys. There were rich displays of the dried fruits and nuts that are a specialty of this region. I saw the best, ripest, juiciest tomatoes that I have seen in years. Carcasses of animals hung from racks and the meat was cut straight from the animal for consumption. Copper pots were being beaten into shape and pottery was on display. The doorways were ornate and richly painted, buildings were faithfully restored.
This whole province attracts a lot of domestic tourists. I understood that as international travel has been virtually eliminated during Covid, the whole province has benefitted by a lot extra domestic tourism. I met people from many different parts of China while here.
Highlights of the day included Kashgar Coffee, drinks in an ancient Tea House, local food and culture, having a fruity beer at a café and talking with the wonderful family and simply just enjoying the different atmosphere of the
There were two happy coincidences in our trip to Kashi. Firstly we had a person from Turkey on tour, secondly our Hotel was literally next door to a Turkish restaurant, I guess the third coincidence was when Turkish food was mentioned as an evening meal there was unanimous agreement.
So we went to the restaurant (trying to find the name of it..) that evening. We went overboard on food and stuffed our stomach's. We went overboard on wine which complemented the meal brilliantly. Turkish Pide, Salads, Fish, perfectly cooked lamb, dips and accompaniments.
While plenty of other options existed the the meal was so good we also went there again the following night.
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