Uighur Driver

Our journey to leave China began at the crack of dawn, six a.m. Xinjiang, eight a.m. Beijing. We piled out of our hotel quietly, trying not to attract police attention. The streets were deserted. A few taxis petered past us. We waited outside one of the bus stations where shared taxis gathered. The few cabs …

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End of Ramadan

  They will not allow us to dance tomorrow. For five years, we have not been allowed to dance to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.” – Uighur Tour Guide commenting on religious repression. Since riots in 2009 in Urumqi, the Chinese government has severely restricted religious expression. Though the government has not ended the sermon at the …

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Id Kah Mosque

The Id Kah Mosque is the largest mosque in China, with a capacity to allow 20,000 worshipers in on its most important holy days. It is also one of the oldest mosques in China, having been built in 1442. Through its long history, it has seen much. Islam had already arrived in Kashgar and the …

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The Gray Lady at the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum

Yesterday I did a post on our visit to the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum. A few months ago, the New York Times did a story on the same Mausoleum. Their story did not completely jive with what we saw, though, I would still recommend reading it there. The author of the Times story suggested that bus …

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Fragrant Concubine…Or Iprahan

In Chinese, it is called the Fragrant Concubine’s Tomb. In Uighur, it is called the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum. The difference says a lot about the problems in Xinjiang. Afaq Khoja was a political and religious leader based in Kashgar in the 1600’s. His teachings started a brand of Islam, and his family remained influential in …

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Uighurs Playing Dutars in Touristy Restaurant

I talked about the Dutars a couple of days ago. We got to see them ‘in action’ at this tourist friendly restaurant, the Uighur players sitting around a plate of some sort of traditionalish breaded noodles.

Tomb of Yussuf Khass Hajib

The Tomb of Yussof Khass Hajip was in a quiet, leafy part of town, south of the city center. The entrance to the tomb was lined with grape vines, with shaded arbors on either side of the main passageway. At the entrance, there was a hulking block of carved chalk looming, for some reason, behind …

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A Small Matter

  “During this time, I have witnessed many of the so-called great national events; but, in my heart, they left little impression…but there was one small matter which did mean something to me.” – Lu Xun, A Call to Arms, “A Small Matter” The mother was short, but she wore strappy, light blue wedges to …

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What Remains of Kashgar

The hilltop neighborhood stands like a mud lamp standing erect over Kashgar, looking out over the city. This hilltop neighborhood is the last remaining architecture preserved of this ancient city which Marco Polo once wandered through, seven centuries before. View from above Kashgar sits on a flat plane, punctuated by this small hill. The neighborhood …

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Faces of Kashgar

I’ve talked a lot about how different the Uighurs are from Han Chinese and how distinct Kashgar is from places farther east in China. But nothing does a better job of demonstrating that than Galen’s photography. Here are some of the portraits that Galen did while in Kashgar, mostly in the Sunday Market: