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Kashgar travel guide — Kashgar tourism and travel information

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about Kashgar

Kashgar is an oasis city located west of the Taklamakan desert, at the feet of the Tian Shan mountain range in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China (39°24’26” N. lat., 76°6’47” E. long.). It is 1.2km (4043 ft.) above sea-level. Situated at the junction of routes from the valley of the Oxus, from Khokand and Samarkand, Almati, Aksu, and Khotan, the last two leading from China and India, Kashgar has been noted from very early times as a political and commercial centre.

Previously the city consisted of two towns, Kuhna Shahr or "old city", and Yangi Shahr or "new city", about five miles apart, separated from one another by the Kyzyl Su, a tributary of the Tarim river. The division is now less distinct.

Kashgar geography

The Karakorum highway (KKH) links Islamabad, Pakistan with Kashgar over the Khunjerab Pass.

Kyrgyzstan is also accessible from Kashgar, over the Torugart Pass.

Kashgar history

Kashgar was on the Silk Road during the 1st millennium AD.

Early History

The earliest authentic mention of Kashgar is during the second period of ascendancy of the Han dynasty, when the Chinese conquered the Hiungnu, Yutien (Khotan), Sulei (Kashgar), and a group of states in the Tarim basin almost up to the foot of the Tian Shan mountains. This happened in 76 BC. Kashgar does not appear to have been known in the West at this time but Ptolemy speaks of Scythia beyond the Imaus, which is in a Kasia Regio, possibly exhibiting the name whence Kashgar and Kashgaria (often applied to the district) are formed.

The Kushanas

Next ensues, a long epoch of obscurity. The country was converted to Buddhism and probably ruled by Indo-Scythian or Kushan kings. Xuan Zang passed through Kashgar (which he calls Ka-sha) on his return journey from India to China. The Buddhist religion, then beginning to decay in India, was working its way to a new growth in China, and contemporaneously the Nestorian Christians were establishing bishoprics at Herat, Merv and Samarkand, whence they subsequently proceeded to Kashgar, and finally to China itself.

The Arab Invasions

In the 8th century came the Arab invasion from the west, and we find Kashgar and Turkestan lending assistance to the reigning queen of Bokhara, to enable her to repel the enemy. But although the Muslim religion from the very commencement sustained checks, it nevertheless made weight felt upon the independent states of Turkestan to the north and east, and thus acquired a steadily growing influence. It was not, however, till the 10th century that Islam was established at Kashgar, under the Uighur kingdom.

The Uighurs

The Uighurs appear to have been the descendants of the people called Tolas and to have been one of the many Turkish tribes who migrated westwards from China. Boghra Khan, the most celebrated prince of this line, was converted to Islam late in the 10th century and the Uighur kingdom lasted until 1120 but was distracted by complicated dynastic struggles. The Uighurs employed an alphabet based upon the Syriac and borrowed from the Nestorian missionaries. They spoke a dialect of Turkish preserved in the Kudatku Bilik, a moral treatise composed in 1065.

The Mongols

The Uighur kingdom was destroyed by an invasion of the Kara-Kitais, another Turkish tribe pressing westwards from the Chinese frontier, who in their turn were swept away in 1219 by Jenghiz Khan. His invasion gave a decided check to the progress of the Muslim creed, but on his death, and during the rule of the Jagatai Khans, who became converts to that faith, it began to reassert its ascendancy. Marco Polo visited the city, which he calls Cascar, about 1275 and left some notes on it.

In 1389-1390 Timur ravaged Kashgar, Andijan and the intervening country. Kashgar passed through a troublous time, and in 1514, on the invasion of the Khan Sultan Said, was destroyed by Mirza Ababakar, who with the aid of ten thousand men built the new fort with massive defences higher up on the banks of the Tuman. The dynasty of the Jagatai Khans collapsed in 1572 by the dismemberment of the country between rival representatives; and soon after two powerful Khoja factions, the White and Black Mountaineers (Ak and Kara Taghiuk), arose, whose dissensions and warfares, with the intervention of the Kalmucks of Dzungaria, fill up the history till 1759.

Chinese Garrison

In 1759 a Chinese army from Ili (Kulja) invaded the country, and, after perpetrating wholesale massacres, finally consolidated their authority by settling therein Chinese emigrants, together with a Manchu garrison.

The Chinese had thoughts of pushing their conquests towards western Turkestan and Samarkand, the chiefs of which sent to ask assistance of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah. This monarch despatched an embassy to Peking to demand the restitution of the Muslim states of Central Asia, but the embassy was not well received, and Ahmed Shah was too much engaged with the Sikhs to attempt to enforce his demands by arms. The Chinese continued to hold Kashgar, with sundry interruptions from Muslim revolts - one of the most serious occurring in 1827, when the territory was invaded and the city taken by Jahanghir Khoja; Chang-lung, however, the Chinese general of Ili, recovered possession of Kashgar and the other revolted cities in 1828. A revolt in 1829 under Mahommed Ali Khan and Yusuf, brother of Jahanghir, was more successful, and resulted in the concession of several important trade privileges to the Muslims of the district of Alty Shahr (the six cities), as it was then named.

Until 1846 the country enjoyed peace under the just and liberal rule of Zahir-ud-din, the Chinese governor, but in that year a fresh Khoja revolt under Kath Tora led to his making himself master of the city, with circumstances of unbridled licence and oppression. His reign was, however, brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Khokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants. The last of the Khoja revolts (1857) was of about equal duration with the previous one, and took place under Wali-Khan, a degraded debauchee, and the murderer of the lamented traveller Adolf Schlaglntweit.

The 1862 Revolt

The great Ttingani (Dungani) revolt, or insurrection of the Chinese Muslims, which broke out in 1862 in Kansuh, spread rapidly to Dzungaria and through the line of towns in the Tarim basin. The Tungani troops in Yarkand rose, and (August 1863) massacred some seven thousand Chinese, while the inhabitants of Kashgar, rising in their turn against their masters, invoked the aid of Sadik Beg, a Kirghiz chief, who was reinforced by Buzurg Khan, the heir of Jahanghir, and his general Yakub Beg (surnamed the Atalik Ghazi), these being despatched at Sadik's request by the ruler of Khokand to raise what troops they could to aid his Muslim friends in Kashgar. Sadik Beg soon repented of having asked for a Khoja, and eventually marched against Kashgar, which by this time had succumbed to Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg, but was defeated and driven back to Khokand. Buzurg Khan delivered himself up to indolence and debauchery, but Yakub Beg, with singular energy and perseverance, made himself master of Yangi Shahr, Yangi-Hissar, Yarkand and other towns, and eventually became sole master of the country, Buzurg Khan proving himself totally unfitted for the post of ruler. Kashgar and the other cities of the Tarim basin remained under Yakub Beg's rule until 1877, when he died and the Chinese regained possession.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kashgar".

This city is also known as: Kashgar.

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