WildChina’s local partners in Xinjiang have confirmed details in an article written by Paul Mooney in The National on the recent destruction of 2/3 of Kashgar’s Old Town. Over the past few weeks, bulldozers have moved into the area, tearing down large swaths of the Old Town, a place 40% of Kashgar’s residents had called home.
Kashgar’s Old Town
According to our partners, the Old Town is not being completely torn down – one part will remain as a historic site, complete with entrance fee to enter. A small pocket of the “authentic” Old Town will also remain.
While it’s certain that the Old Town section of Kashgar shared many of the same infrastructure problems as Beijings hutong neighborhoods (see previous post for more information), it was also a vibrant heart of the city where many ethnic Uighurs lived and worked.
I personally think it’s unfortunate that, in this case, the cost of modernization was the destruction of a historic quarter and way of life. However, Kashgar will remain a fascinating and lively part of Xinjiang. Despite the news, I can’t wait to visit.