Old Town

Old Town information

Lonely Planet review

Sprawling on both sides of Jiefang Lu are alleys lined with Uighur workshops and adobe houses right out of an early-20th-century picture book. Houses range in age from 50 to 500 years old and the lanes twist haphazardly through neighbourhoods where Kashgaris have lived and worked for centuries. It’s a great place for strolling, peeking through gates, chatting up the locals and admiring the craftsmen as they bang on tin and chase copper.

Sadly, the Chinese government has shown little affection for the old town and has spent the past two decades knocking it down, block by block. During our short stay we witnessed dozens of old homes bulldozed.

The shrinking pockets of old neighbourhoods that do remain tend to be hard to spot. Check out the streets southeast of the Night Market or the craft stalls on Kum Darwaza street, north of the post office. The nearby Ostangboyi Teahouse at the main crossroads is one of the last traditional teahouses in town.

Avoid the residential area to the north of Dōnghú Park by the ferris wheel, as it has been turned into a tourist trap complete with entry ticket.

At the eastern end of Seman Lu stands a 10m-high section of the Old Town walls , which are at least 500 years old.