Kashgar's Animal and Cattle Market

Located on the south-western part of Xinjiang, the city of Kashgar developed itself in a hostile geographical environment. Encircled by the imposing desert of Taklamakan, considered as one of the most inhospitable of the world, and nestled in the impressive Karakorum mountain range, Kashgar was, still recently, a very difficult town to reach. Thus, it acquired a famous name in all Central Asia.

But this notorious city of Xinjiang however profits from a rather very exceptional situation - which contributed to its rise and its huge historical importance. Indeed, Kashgar was close to the borders of Kirghizstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, making it a commercial crossroad on the Silk road for many centuries.

Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China

Though the city was gradually sinicized because of the Chinese government's will to increase its control on this remote area, Kashgar preserves its true identity: that of a commercial Uyghur city above all. The animal Market, which is held every Sunday outside the city, still remains a splendid example of the activity of this region. Here, the trading tradition, exchanging and bargaining, kept all of its importance.

Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China   Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China

Upon the first gleams of the day, hundreds of vehicles converge towards the enclosure reserved for the cattle, goats and sheep. Trucks, carts, tractors and even stock breeders coming by foot with their animals are pressing on. Everyone wishes to benefit from the best places still available for their business.

Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China  

The vast enclosure is quickly crammed. In spite of the chaotic appearance which emerges, space is perfectly well organized: the entrance is reserved to the bovines which await in company of their stock breeder for a potential buyer; at the far end, are the herds of goats and sheep which are gathered.

In a recess of the enclosed area, the many cooks work hard by themselves. Specialties have indeed to be prepared, most of them containing goat meat, in order to nourish the visitors. Here, an old man proposes his old weighing machine. For a few yuan, the buyers will thus be able to know the weight of the animals…

  Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China

The negotiations are on their way: breeders touch the animals, discuss their age, their musculature and their robustness. Indeed, they need strong animals to endure the difficult climatic conditions of the area. When a price agreement is settled, it is by a frank handshake that the business is finally concluded.

Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China   Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China

The transaction is paid in cash in front of everyone. Here more than everywhere else, honesty is required: no one would fail to keep the commercial tradition which made the reputation of this famous market.

Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China
Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China
Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China
Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China

The men who are present on this market are Uyghurs for the most part. This ethnic group originating from Central Asia was formerly a majority in Xinjiang; however, it is still largely the case in Kashgar's area which knew how to preserve its culture difference from the growing Chinese Hans.

In reaction to strong independent desires that were developing among the Uyghurs, China has been trying for a few years to control this area by minimizing their cultural identity. Though the muslim prayer call is today forbidden in the streets of Kashgar, its market, carrying all the commercial history of the Uyghur people, still preserves all of its authenticity.

  Animal and Cattle Market in Kashgar - Xinjiang, China
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