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The Chinese Part of the Silkroad (mostly Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China)

In September 2000 we travelled the Chinese section of the Silk Road from Kashgar (or Kashi) to Xian.

(Click on pictures to get a bigger version, or here to get more pictures from our journeys in China)

Karakorum Highway

   


Karakuri Lake

The Karakorum Highway goes from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Kashgar, China, through incredible scenery. It crosses over Khunjerab Pass, probably the worlds highest international border crossing.

As it was fall, the shepherds brought the sheep down to lower elevations.

     

The Sunday Market in Kashgar

 
Kashgar is located in the southwestern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Kashgar has at least 2000 years of history as a trade center on the Silk Road. Every Sunday large areas of the city turns into a huge market, where thousands of animals are traded.

© 2000 Zwia Lipkin

© Zwia Lipkin


© 2000 Zwia Lipkin
Some of the animals are for immediate consumption in the restaurants at the market.


© Zwia Lipkin


© Zwia Lipkin

© Zwia Lipkin

Of course the market caters to all other needs as well...

 


© Zwia Lipkin

Demonstrations of silk production.


© Zwia Lipkin
Outside the market, Kashgar has quiet little alleys.


© Zwia Lipkin

 

 

Tiles in the Abakh Khoya Tomb


© Zwia Lipkin

     

Desert and Irrigation

   
In Kashgar, the Silk Road split into two arms - following the edge of the Taklamakan to the north and south.

Irrigation in Kashgar
Life around the Taklamakan is only possible thanks to thousands of years old irrigation systems.
2000 kilometers of underground channels (Karez) bring bring ice-cold water from the Tianshan mountains to Turfan. They have to be underground as otherwise the water would evaporate on the way.
This system is 2000 years old.

Grape Valley
China's best grapes
     

Turfan (Turpan)

 
The Oasis of Turfan is some 260ft under sea level. Around Turfan are quite a few historic sites  
Jiaohe was circled by rivers, hence the name of 'Jaohe' (the city of joining rivers). Built on a loess plateau thirty meters high, the ancient city is 1,650 meters long and 300 meters wide. The city has no walls and is protected by the natural fortification of the precipitous cliffs. Unfortuantely Genghis Khan's flattened it in the thirteenth century on way down to Myanmar.
     
The thousand buddha caves of Bezeklik was a Monastery for Buddhist monks.The vast majority of statues and wall paintings have been destroyed, or cut out by European and American explorers...
The city walls of ancient Gaochang - close to the "Flaming Mountains" - are still standing. The crisscrossing streets and the city moat are still visible.  
     

Dunhuang

   
The northern and the southern arm of the Silkroad that split in Kashgar rejoin in Dunhuang. Dunhuang is home to some 500 caves, with some 45,000 square meters of frescos, some 2500 painted statues and five wooden-structured caves. The Mogao Grottoes contain priceless paintings, sculptures, and some 50,000 Buddhist scriptures, historical documents, textiles, and other relics that first stunned the world in the early 1900s. As in Bezeklik, some of these treasures have been removed by western explorers.
     

Xian

   


The Bronze Carriage

Xian, the ancient capital of China, the endpoint of the Silk Road.

Xian is not only the home of the Qin Terracotta Army, built 200 BC, but also of the Forest of Steles, a library consisting of texts on stone plates.The library itself was built in 1090 AD, to conserve much older texts.
 
Steles
 
2000

1998-2003 Louis Perrochon. All Rights reserved. (See details)