Kashgar (known in Chinese as Kashi) is an oasis city with an approximate population of 350,000. It is the westernmost city in China, located near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kashgar as a rich history of over 2,000 years and served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Route between China, the Middle East, and Europe.
Located historically at the convergence point of widely varying cultures and empires, Kashgar has been under the rule of of the Chinese, Turkic, Mongol, Arab, Persian, and Tibetan empires. The city has also been the site of an extraordinary number of battles between various groups of people on the steppes.
Now administered as a county-level unit of the People's Republic of China, Kashgar is the administrative centre of its eponymous prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which has an area of 162,000 square kilometres (63,000 sq mi) and a population of approximately 3.5 million.The city's urban area covers 15 km2 (5.8 sq mi), though its administrative area extends for 555 km2 (214 sq mi).
Kashgar is predominately peopled by Muslim Uyghurs. Compared to Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital and largest city, Kashgar is less industrial and has significantly fewer Han Chinese residents.
The Kashgar's Old City has been called "the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in Central Asia", although it is being largely razed by the authorities to make way for 'modern development'. It is estimated to attract more than one million tourists annually.
The city has a very important Sunday market. Thousands of farmers from the surrounding fertile lands come into the city to sell a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Kashgar’s livestock market is also very lively. Silk and carpets made in Hotan are sold at bazaars, as well as local crafts, such as copper teapots and wooden jewellery boxes.
In order to boost the economy in Kashgar region, the government classified the area a Special Economic Zone, the sixth one in China, in May 2010.