Our tour guide will collect you from your hotel at 7.00am local time and drive with you 200kms (124 miles) to Yarkand.
An hour out of Kashgar and we reach the day’s first destination at famous ‘knife-town’ of Yengisar, well-known for its hand-made knives. Here you can visit a local knife factory and see the artisans in action as they sculpt another perfect tool.
Once you arrive in Yarkand you’ll have a wholesome lunch at a very good local restaurant and begin exploring Yarkand City.
Yarkand was once the capital of several Uighur Kingdoms in ancient times and a vital station on the old Silk Road. Its history tops more than 2000 years which makes it an extremely interesting city to visit.
First off we’ll being at the Altun Mosque (Golden Mosque) which was built in 1533 during the time of Yarkand’s second Kingdom. The building was once a magnificent three storied structure that became a famous Madrassa (Islamic school) in Central Asia from 1533 to 1678. Students came from as far away as Pakistan,Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan to further their Islamic education, rightfully earning Yarkand the distinction alongside Bukhara, as one of history’s greatest centers of learning. However, trouble loomed. In 1678, Apak Hoja, the glorified head of the White Mountain Sufism Sect and Jungar Mongols, burnt the madrassa to the ground alongside 20,000 books. The tragedy is still remembered today as the greatest destruction of Uighur culture and literature in history.
Next to the mosque you will see the magnificent building of Amann
isahan whowas once the Queen of Yarkand Kingdom and the most famous female musician in Uighur history. She collected much folk music and many local songs and created the famous classic 12 mukams of music in the 17th century. She died at the age of 34 whilst giving birth.
Another nearby site of interest is the Yarkand Royal Graveyard which contains all 13 kings of Yarkand Kingdom and their families who were buried here from 1514 until 1678. Yarkand people are very proud of their heritage kings and the role of the Yarkand Kingdom in Xinjiang’s history.
Before leaving for Kashgar we recommend you visit another interesting site called the Qiltan tombs which are a very interesting non-touristy area of Yarkand called ‘Qiltalirim’ by local people. There are seven tombs inside the tomb hall belonging, it is said, to seven missionaries from Saudi Arabia who came to Xinjiang to preach
Islam a long time ago After they died, all of them were buried here and everyday many people come to pray and sacrifice animals. Some superstitious local ladies construct fake stoves with bricks to wish for a family at the tomb.
Also of interest is time spent around Yarkand old town: It is very interesting to walk around the old town area of Yarkand and drink chai (tea) in a local tea house (‘Chai hana’ in Uighur language). Whenever you’ve had enough we will head back to Kashgar with your guide and driver
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