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Kashgar’s Sunday market

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Known in Uyghur as the Yekshenba Bazaar, or Sunday Bazaar (中细亚市场, zhōngxìyà shìcháng), what was once the mother of all markets still attracts up to one hundred thousand villagers and nomads, all riding their donkey carts from the surrounding area and gathering in two sites to the east and the southeast of town. For the sheer scale of the occasion, it’s the number-one sight in Kashgar, if not all Xinjiang. Considering the large numbers of minority peoples who come to trade here, all sporting their own particular headwear, it is also an anthropologist’s delight. Knives, hats, pots, carpets, pans, fresh fruit and vegetables, clothes and boots and every kind of domestic and agricultural appliance – often handmade in wood and tin – are available, and some produce, such as Iranian saffron, has come a very long way to be sold here. The market goes on all day and into the early evening, and food and drink are widely available on and around the site.

Due to the traffic chaos it used to cause in the city centre every Sunday, the livestock market (and its thousands of animals) has been moved to an area a few kilometres south of town to Ulagh Bazaar, or Yuanfang Shichang in Chinese. Here you’ll find traders haggling over everything from camels to cattle, while sheep turn a blind eye to the food stalls on the periphery.

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