We arrived, after our adventures, in time for a late lunch in Tashkurgan.
It was surreal coming across a proper town after all that wild, wide-open nature. Paved, tree-lined roads, street lamps, shops, infrastructure, even a museum, scraped together and placed on this rugged landscape.
Traffic circle in Tashkurgan. The eagle is apparently a symbol of the Tajik people.
We had less than 24 hours to spend here. After checking in at the hotel, Yusef took us to see the Stone City, a small but beautiful ruin that looks over pasture lands and the ring of mountain ranges that circle Tashkurgan’s horizons. From Lonely Planet: “(it) has a murky past but is believed to be a 1400-year-old fort built by a Tajik king.. (and) was one of the filming locations for the movie Kite Runner.”
View of the fort from below
And a view from atop the fort
After wandering around the quiet, golden rocks, we headed down to the pasture, where a windy boardwalk had apparently recently been constructed by the Chinese government for the benefit of tourists. The local kids seemed to enjoy the extra space to play and it didn’t appear to hamper the movement of the animals across the grazing area, but it did look and feel pretty out of place.
The brand new boardwalk and stage…
The rest of the afternoon was spent with relaxed exploration through the town. We were leaving before dawn the next morning in order to make it back to Kashgar for the Sunday livestock market, so it was an early night for the four of us!
A few more photos from our wander through Tashkurgan
Walking the cow home
Ladies’ hats at a shop selling traditional clothing
We’d seen loads of bikes in Xinjiang with the “rug” style seat cover, but furs as an accessory was a new one!
Rakes for sale
Lovely flowers along street