Buchara Dushanbe Khiva Xojand Merv Panjakent Samarqand Shahrisabz
|A Tajik baby
, Kashqar (Kashi or Kaxar), once a key centre of the ancient silk road,
visited by merchants and famed travellers such as Marco Polo
, lies in western China, in Xinjiang
Uygur Autonomous Region, situated in a fertile oasis at the foot of
the Pamirs near the Tajikistan borders.
Kashgar has a history of more than 2'000 years. The earlist reference appeared in Persian documents referring to an alliance of Tushlan tribes, who founded their capital here.
In the second century AD, Hinayana Buddhism flourished here and continued to do so until the ninth or tenth century. During this period Persian and Indian cultural influences were strong.
Ruined cities show a quite different culture from today, where Indo-European and Altaic peoples worshipped at Buddhist, Manichaeist or Nestorian Christian temples, expressing themselves in art that blended Kashmiri, Tibetan, Indian, Persian and Greek styles.
The Tajik people (=Persians) who had lived in various areas, of today western China, have had Kashgar as their major cultural town.
Tajiks are one of the main population in Kashgar (10-15 percent) but there are even Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Chinese and Uighur here.
|It is the
place where the ancient Tajik ethnic group has lived generation after generation.
Beside Kashgar and Tash korgan, Shache, Zepu, Yecheng and Pishan are some of the places where Tajiks live in compact communities in. Tajik population in western China estimate to be at least 90,000.
Tashkurgan (3600m), is a predominately Tajik town, where ruins of a 600 year old fort overlook green pastures that are surrounded by snow topped, desert mountains.
The main place of worship, the Id Kah Mosque (built in 1442 and enlarged in the 18th century), is surrounded by colourful bazaar streets in the center of town.
A large statue of Mao adjacent to Kashgar's central square, one of the tallest in all China, has come to symbolize the government's role in the region.The military presence is also much stronger than elsewhere in the region.
ancient tomb of Xiang Bao Bao, found through archaeological excavation
in recent years in Tashkurgan , is
a cultural relic ever discovered in the western most part of the
country. Many burial objects found in this 3,000-year-old tomb and
funeral rites they revealed show that the Tajik ethnic group has been a
member of the big family of ethnic groups in, today western China, since
Marco Polo documented its existence in 1275AD. Silk was the most important of many goods carried by traders who traveled the routes from Xian, China, through the Tarim basin and Central Asia to Persia and to the Middle East. Some goods were carried all the way to Rome. The Silk Road also served as a conduit for the spread of various religions in China including, Buddhism, Manicheism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam .
a long history of warfare and domination by neighboring nations, the
Tajiks were again subjugated by the Communists around 1950. The Chinese
subsequently sent in a large military force to keep order. Each
year since then the ratio of Chinese to non-Chinese has increased in
favor of the Chinese. The policy of the government is to move enough
ethnic Chinese into an area so that they constitute the majority. Despite
the improvements and limited autonomy proffered by the Chinese, there
still seems to be some resentment towards Chinese rule throughout West
Water from wells and from the Kashgar River supports crops of cotton, grain, beans, and fruit; hides and wool are produced in nearby semiarid grazing lands. Traditional handcrafted cotton and silk textiles, rugs, leather goods, and jewelry, produced for centuries for the overland caravan routes, remain the basis of the economy. Uygur (Uighur)s constitute a majority of the largely Muslim population.
hen the Tang (618-907) withdrew,
it was ruled for long periods by Mongols and Central
Asian empires before returning once more to Chinese
control in 1760. From 1865 to 1877 Kashgar was the capital
of an independent Muslim state established in the Tarim
Pendi by Yakub Beg. Population (1991) 174,570