We were still on the road to Kashgar after a long day already where we had woken up in the desert and then learned how to make mulberry paper. By the time we arrived at Yarkant after 9pm Beijing time (7pm local time) I was tired and hungry and overall a bit miserable after a day spent in the car (or so it seemed to me).
So when we stopped at Yarkant I was not sure what to think of it, maybe just another mosque? But it turned out to be more. The Altyn Mosque has a beautiful tomb in its courtyard for the poet Amannisa Khan. Just imagine a female poet and she gets her own tomb. Of course not with the others inside the cemetery. But outside, way more prominent and very beautiful.
The mosque itself was big and also lush with flowers and trees in the inner courtyard but what impressed me the most was the cemetery in the back of. Most of the graves we had seen so far were plain and without names. Just different shapes so that you know if a man, woman or a child are underneath. But here there were also graves with telephone numbers. Interesting, no? It’s not a dating hotline for the dead, rather it is the hope that relatives get informed in case the Chinese government wants to put an office complex on the site. Apparently this has happened a lot in the past, so by writing a phone number on the tomb people hope for a call to have time to remove the bones of their loved ones.
On site are also the tombs of the Khans of Yarkands, once beautiful buildings but now decrepit and abandoned. But always some faithful keep watch at the entrance that women don’t look at something that they are not allowed too. And everywhere tombs in different shapes and sizes, some colorful, some plain. The overall feeling in this place was one of being alone and lost. Probably because the light was already fading and there was sand everywhere from the storm.
We left Yarkant and still had three hours of driving ahead to get to Kashgar. As usual we saw a lot of police in Yarkant as we had everywhere else. Here I could finally take a picture of how visible they are in the city.
When we finally arrived at midnight, there was no more dinner and another shared room waiting for us. Kind of sad after being spoiled with a single room and a tent alone the nights before. Yours, Pollybert