“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle...” - Albert Einstein
.Day 10: 31 May 2013
Kashgar - Urumchi
|(Kashgar Grand Mosque - A carpet design)|
|(Signage to the tomb)|
|(The tombs in the mausoleum)|
This morning we visited Abakh Khoja Tombs at the northeast suburbs of Kashgar at Hanhao Villages, around 5 km away from the city. The environment in that area is tranquil and beautiful with lush green vegetation, dense forest. The grand tomb is heavily sheltered by the ancient poplar trees which grow around the mausoleum.
|(Other unidentified tomb)|
The mausoleum served as the family tomb of Abakh Khoja, the powerful white sufi ruler of Kashgar in the 17th century who was revered as a holy man. It was first built in 1640 and contained 72 members belonging 5 generations of the family.
|(The colorful tiles at the entrances)|
|(Renovation in progress)|
Entering the main gate, visitors will see a big rectangle-shaped courtyard, which contains a gate tower, higher and lower worship walls, Doctrine-Teaching Hall, an orchard and the main tomb chamber. The gate tower is small while very brilliant. Close to the gate tower is a small mosque, which is used as a daily service hall for the local Muslims. Muslims from South Xinjiang Province will come here to do massive liturgy before they go to worship the Abakh Khoja Tomb each Friday or on important religious festivals. The building complex is majestic and mosque-like with dome-toped buildings, minarets and wooden fences integrated harmoniously.
|(The prayer hall)|
|(A group photo of the ladies)|
The tomb chamber in the east of the cemetery is the main building in the complex. It is the largest dome-style architecture found in Xinjiang. Of the 72 royals in the tomb, the most famous resident, however, is a Uyghur concubine of Qing's emperor Qianlong. The site is thus well known among Chinese as Xiangfei Tomb.
|(The clock tower at the entrance of the old town)|
|(Shoe repair at the horsesmith)|
|(Pottery and clay pots)|
|(The new wider street)|
|(A typical street in the old town)|
Our next visit is to historic sites in Kashgar Old Town. It was a wonderful walk through the narrow alleys visiting homes, grocery shops and seeing some of the workshops with hand-made goods. Old mud-brick buildings were slowly being demolished but it’s good to observe that most parts of the old town are rebuilt with same old style where Islamic culture and architecture still exist and best preserved.
|(Uyghur ladies walking among the debris of old buildings)|
|(Old mosque being demolished)|
|(Newly built building with intricate wall carvings)|
The Sunday market and Sunday animals market are also the best places to see in kashgar old town. The old section is the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in Central Asia.
|(Sacks of large dried chilies)|
|(Old man selling nuts and spices)|
|(Nan bread street vendors)|
|(Local produce, tomatoes and chilies)|
We visited the Grand Mosque of Kashgar also known as Idkha Mosque and performed our prayers. It is said that more than 15,000 jemaah pray in that mosque every Friday. While waiting for lunch time we listened to our guide narrating the history of Kashgar and its importance in the Silk Route.
|(A visit to the carpet shop)|
|(Various musical instruments - A carpet pattern)|
After a short visit to a carpet shop we had lunch at a nearby rooftop restaurant. The men went to the mosque to perform Friday prayer while the ladies prayed in a special room in the restaurant.
|(Kashgar Grand Mosque)|
|(The prayer hall)|
After Friday prayer we visited the Grand Sunday bazaar and purchased unique souvenirs and local handicrafts.
|(Kashgar Sunday Market on a hot afternoon)|
|(Local patterns - vibrant colors)|
We had early dinner at Salman Restaurant and were later transferred to the Airport for our onward domestic flight to Urumchi. We arrived Urumchi at 23:00 and stayed the night at The Mirage Hotel.
|(The imposing statue of Mao Tze Tung)|