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Finally we reached our terminal stop: Kashgar(喀什, formerly 疏勒 in Chinese history), the westernmost city of China, near the boarder with four neighboring countries of Middle Asia, and being closely in connection with another four. It is said over 80% of population here are Muslim Uyghurs, and less than 20% are Han people. In 2010 the city was designated as the sixth Free Economic Zone of China, so the outlook of the city would be a prosperous one.
Before making a city tour in Kashgar, we proceeded to "Stone City" somewhere in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County(abbreviated as 塔縣 in Chinese) near Pamir Mountains(帕米爾高原; I would rather call it with its traditional Chinese name: 蔥嶺). The "City", actually a large castle made of stones, having been there even long before Tang Dynasty. Now Stone City has become a well-preserved site of ruins in Pamir, a vadt mountainous area where some demarcation of the plateau is still subject to being ascertained among Tajik, Parkistan, and China.
In Kashgar there is a royal mausoleum of Uyghur ruling families which is including, reputedly, that legendary Xiang Fei(Fragrant concubine of Emperor Qianlong during mid 18 century after Qing Dynasty conquered whole Xinjiang). Well, a legend is a legend, just let dramatist and novelist give her a vivid life again.
We also spent some time in Ancient City of Kashgar, a town surrounded with four-sided walls. There are ceremonies of dancing before opening main gate to welcome tourists. We strolled along the "main" streets of the town, but soon we found it too commercialized to be worth a visit any more. So we decided to take a look on the real residential areas. But when we entered the lanes and alleys, we found we lost in a labyrinth of two-storied houses with same type and same color of yellowish brown. Then we met a little Uyghur girl about 12 or 13 years old and asked her to show us the way out. She wanted us to stay put and said she would get back to us after taking care of some errands. Five minutes later, she showed up and led us back to main street. Thanking for her help, I tried to give her ten dollars as a token of appreciation, but she declined the offer, firmly but politely. What a nice girl she is! (She can speak fluent Mandarin also.)
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