With over 2000 years of history, a mesmerizing selection of goods and a fascinating blend of cultures, Kashgar’s Grand Bazaar is one of Silk Road’s must see attractions.
History and Background
The history of Kashgar’s Grand Bazaar can be traced as far back as 120BC when the famous Chinese explorer Zhang Qian visited Kashgar. Zhang Qian was acting as the envoy to Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty when he arrived in Kashgar and was surprised to see such a large and prosperous market.
Through out the history of the Silk Road, Kashgar’s Grand Bazaar was used by merchants from western kingdoms such as India, Persia and even Rome to exchange goods with merchants from kingdoms in the west of China and Chinese merchants. Trade on the Silk Road was not continuous and goods normally changed hands many times before reaching their destination. The Grand Bazaar at the cross roads of the Silk Road was the main center for the exchange of goods and the largest market in Asia.
The bazaar is enormous with a reported area of 250 Mu (Chinese Imperial unit) which is approximately 166,000 square meters and holds around 5,000 booths and stalls and has an annual trading volume around 125 million RMB. The busiest day for the bazaar is Sunday where crowds can reach over 100,000 people.
You can buy literally anything from the bazaar with the goods available ranging from sports clothing and tea to household electronics to antiques. The bazaar is divided into 21 specialized markets and the most common goods on sale are
Dried fruit such as dates, figs, raisins and grapes
Assorted goods such as confectionary, knives, hats, boxes
Kashgar Grand Bazaar Trivia
-Bazaar means market in the local Uighur language
-The official name for the bazaar is East Gate Grand Bazaar or东门大巴扎 in Chinese
-Kashgar has over 20 bazaars and the Grand Bazaar is the biggest
-Be VERY careful of pickpockets who have been practising their craft for centuries
-For serious shopping, avoid Sunday when the bazaar is insane
-Also visit Kashgar’s Sunday market (live stock)
-Allow at least two hours to visit the bazaar, more if you plan on shopping
Location and Getting There
The Kashgar Grand Bazaar is at the east gate of Kashgar which is north east of the city center.