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Sunday Bazaar

In the old districts of Kashgar, many streets have "bazaar" as part of their names. Although most of the bazaars have ceased to exist except in name, there are still some that are still in use. From the names of these streets people can imagine the past glory of this ancient trading city on the Old Silk Road.

Today's Kashgar has preserved the old traditions. On the streets one can find markets selling various commodities, such as vegetables, fruits, food, garments, tools and handicrafts.

Kashgar's markets differ from markets in other places in that most of the commodities on sale are made by the vendors themselves. Here tourists can see the handicrafts actually being made in the workshops. Wandering along an ancient street in Kashgar, it is as if one has traveled back in time. At the shoes and caps market, the caps and boots on sale are made on the spot.

Going ahead, one can hear the clanging of blacksmiths' hammers. If you hear the sound of an electric saw, then you can go and see carpenters making furniture and kitchen utensils. If you smell the fragrance of baked cakes, you will soon find an eating place serving nang, the staple food of the Uygur people. The nang is broken into small pieces and dipped in soup. It is said nang can be kept for weeks without going stale.

These markets are open every day. The famous Sunday bazaar has been operating since ancient times, and the scale has become larger and larger, attracting merchants from all over Xinjiang and neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan.

Farmers from the suburbs of Kashgar come to the bazaar early in the morning, using various means of transportation, such as bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, trucks and donkey-drawn carts. The highways leading to Kashgar are crowded with these vehicles and pedestrians on Sunday mornings, as well as with flocks of sheep.

On Sunday the whole city becomes a big market. It is hard to tell the markets from the ordinary streets. Of the 20 markets, some are comprehensive ones, and some are specialized markets selling local produce, arts and crafts, garments, knives, timber, coal or animals. Among them, the animal markets are the largest. Each day, more than 1,000 head of cattle, horses, sheep and camels are traded here.

October is the best season to visit Kashgar, as the weather is pleasant and the autumn harvest makes the markets more brisk. In autumn, many types of fruit are on sale, such as grapes, watermelons, Hami melons and figs. Other local products include Xinjiang knives and carpets, which make good souvenirs for tourists.

Uygur people make up most of Kashgar's inhabitants. On the streets, one can seldom see people of other ethnic groups except foreign tourists and tourists from other parts of China.

On the ancient streets of Kashgar there are men wearing Uygur skullcaps and women wearing brown veils. The Uygur language is universally spoken by the local people.

After visiting Kashgar's Sunday bazaar, people will understand the saying" without visiting Kashgar, one cannot say he has visited Kashgar". If you have a chance to visit Kashgar, don't miss the chance to visit its Sunday Bazaar.



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