Kashi (käˈshēˈ) [key] or Kashgar käshˈgär, city (1994 est. pop. 190,500), SW Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, on the Kaxgar (Kashgar) River (a tributary of the Tarim). It is the hub of an important commercial district, the western terminus of the main road of the province, and a center for trade with India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan with one of the world's largest weekly outdoor markets. Wheat, corn, cotton, barley, rice, beans, and fruit are grown there. Cotton and wool cloth, rugs, leatherware, and jewelry are manufactured. In 2010 the city was made a special economic zone. From Kashi a mountain pass provides a route to Samarkand and thence to the Middle East. The city, predominantly Uigur in ethnic composition, first came under Chinese rule in the period of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 221). Romans traded there in the 6th cent. When Kashi was the capital of the Uigur Turks (750–840), it was also a center of Manichaeism. Visited by Marco Polo in 1275, Kashi was soon after conquered by Jenghiz Khan. From the 15th to the 17th cent. it was ruled by hereditary Khojar (Muslim) kings. The city passed definitively to China in 1760, but since then there have been uprisings and periods of contested control. Points of interest include the Aidkah Mosque and the Abak Hoja Tomb, bearing the remains of a 17th-century ruler; much of the city's traditional old city was razed in 2008.
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