Kashgar’s always been about trade, and there’s no place better to witness the essential experience of browsing, haggling, buying and selling than at the city’s renowned Kashgar Bazaar.
Though it’s not as wild as it was before the weekend livestock market was moved to a new space a bit further outside of town, the Sunday Bazaar remains a quintessential Central Asian experience. Xinjiang residents from far and wide converge on Kashgar on market day, as do traders from distant points, all together re-enacting a ritual that hasn’t changed much since the first days of the Silk Road.
It’s a delightful place to take in the region’s diversity, as representatives of various ethnic groups and subgroups show up, often in distinctive costume. Everything from fresh melons and cabbages to bolts of local silk and hand-woven rugs shows up, along with animals, clothing, hats, knives, jewelry and pretty much anything else you might imagine, and much that you never would.
The Livestock Market is worth a visit of its own: horses, droves of sheep and cattle, and a colorful mix of humanity, with nomads in from the plains, deserts and mountains meeting buyers and sellers amidst a lot of tasty open-air Xinjiang grilling and gabbing.
Bazaar means market and trade place in Uygur language. Originally it is held on Sundays, but in fact, this is just one of the sections. Another section is ordinary district especially busy on Sundays although open every day.
The market is a kind of agricultural market, which has expanded to include anything you can think of, including clothing, knives, and more. At the fair, you can enjoy and buy various things such as general merchandise, handicrafts, livestock, local specialties, vegetables, coat, and second hand items as well as many other kinds of things from cattle and horses to needle and thread. Since Khunjerab Pass and Tuergate Port were opened, a large number of foreign merchants have come with a great deal of goods. Thus, arts and crafts of Pakistan, scarves of Turkey, dry fruits of Saudi Arabia all can be bought at a reasonable price here. Moreover, you can experience an ancient peculiar trade form – barter.
At present, there are more than 20 large scale bazaars in Kashgar, of which the one located at the East Gate of Kashgar City is the largest. As an expansion on the same theme, Kashgar is also home to a weekly Sunday Bazaar that takes place on the northeastern outskirts of the city.
Conservative estimates put that area at least 5,000 stalls that see traffic of around 100,000 people daily. Countless merchants from many parts of the world would go to Kashgar to trade and buy various wares so it was also known as “the pearl on the Ancient Silk Road”.