Woman sitting on a bench in Tashkurgan in Xinjiang, Western China. Photo taken in 2006 by Rhett A. Butler
Tajik woman sitting on a bench in Tashkurgan in Xinjiang, Western China.
Tashkurgan is a Chinese town situated near the borders of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. It was once an important trading center along with ancient Silk Road, but today commerce is dominated by sheep, wool, and tourism (Tashkurgan is known for for its stone fort). The majority population in the town are ethnic Tajiks, rather than Uighurs or Han Chinese.
Xinjiang, an autonomous province dominated by Muslims, lies in the heart of the ancient Silk Road, a trading route used since ancient times to transport good between East and West. Xinjiang is characterized by rough terrain, with dry deserts accented by some of the highest mountains in the world. Xinjiang is the largest political subdivision of China, accounting for more than one sixth of China’s total territory.