The sheer mention of the Bazaar of Kashgar made me restless for years already. Some called it the Market of all markets, and since markets have a special attraction to me, I wanted to go. There were plans to visit, but then something always happened to prevent me from visiting Kashgar. But this time, I decided Kashgar, and especially its bazaar, should be the goal of my overland trip through Central Asia. While preparing my trip, and also on the way east, I heard and read about the bazaar not being like before, but I first wanted to see it for myself. So, the very first morning in Kashgar, I walked all the way to the Sunday market area to find out.
I had images in my head of an outside market, a rather primitive street happening, where old men in long grey beards, and veiled women would be selling their wares. As it turned out, reality was different, very different. I almost missed the large building in which the market is housed nowadays. Yes, it looked clean, it looked well-organized, and certainly, it was more hygienic than a street market. Still, I was surprised to see a bazaar that was just a few steps from being a shopping mall. Inside, many stalls were still closed, and the ones that were open, seemed very quiet. I decided to come back later.
I did come back - several times. Later that day, the next day, and the next again. But somehow, the bazaar of Kashgar felt like a disappointment. Oh yes, there were backstreets where I could see stalls a little like the ones I expected, there were old men with beards selling fruits, nuts, and other things from carts. But inside, there was also an entire section of tourist shops selling knives and hats, even flatscreen TVs and laundry machines. But what got to me most, was probably the neat interior, the quietness, the order. I had read that here, nationalities from many Central Asian countries would gather to sell their stuff, but this was not noticeable. Considering this experience, I even decided to not wait for Sunday in Kashgar, and move east - the more so, because locals advised me to do so. Perhaps my expectations had been too high - but the market I ended up seeing, was really much more exciting. Kashgar bazaar has been modernized - and it has lost its appeal in the process.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Kashgar Bazaar (China). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Kashgar Bazaar.
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