The next destination along the Silk Road lays within the Xinjiang region of China with borders near to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; the city of Kashgar.
The Karakorum and Pamir mountain ranges span on three sides while the Takalman Desert seals the other side of the city. Despite Kashgar’s remote location, the dust, sand and the high altitude mountain ranges, this desert oasis that has been a hub for travelers for centuries. It connects China with Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan via two different mountain passes.
The Central Asian locale is home to the Uyghur people, who despite being in China do not consider themselves Chinese. The Uyghur’s even look differently from the typical Han Chinese and speak their own language. They in fact have a long history of resisting the Chinese, which is immensely prevalent to this very day.
The fashion culture of the Uyghur people holds flamboyance when it comes to their headgear. Hats and caps are a major fashion statement but they also hold significance when it comes to indicating ones societal status; pray caps, married caps, unmarried caps, newlywed caps, skull caps, fur lined caps, etc.
The most common cap is called a Doppa, a round or square cap with intricate needle work that originates from the Caucasus and are worn by Uzbeks, Uyghars, Kazans, Tatars and Tajiks. The designs on the caps are seemingly identical to that of the rugs of the region hence the nickname ‘rug caps’.
The famous Kashgar Sunday market is a magnet attracting Central Asians from all directions and is the social and economic apex. While there are markets sprawling throughout Central Asia the bazaar in Kashgar hosts people from all over Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan , etc. they come with their colorful and intricate carpets, clothes, jewelry and of course hats.