From Ürümqi, I took the night bus to Kuqa (库车, Kuche), which was a 761km bus ride.
The license plate of the bus was made out of paper.
Kuqa is a small city of about 70,000 inhabitants. The city offers interesting bazaars and is located in the middle of the desert. The once thriving city-state was a major centre of Buddhism and was famed in Tang-era China for its music and dancers.
The ruins in the nearby Subashi were an ancient monastery hosting more than 5000 monks.
I strolled over the bazaar in Kuqa and experienced, what the hostel boss in Ürümqi already told me: the Nang (馕) bread in Kuqa is the biggest in Xinjiang. And it’s also super delicious!
Additional, the bazaar offered many kinds of fruits, such as very fresh figs. I have to admit, that it was the first time in my life to see and eat fresh figs.
Since most of the people in the bazaar were Uighurs, it was hard to communicate in Chinese, so I just ordered the same dish as the guy next to me in the bazaar. It were noodles with meat inside. As usual, I got a free tee on plus.
On my way back to the hotel, a guy with fishes was waving heavily towards me and forced me to take a photo of him with his fishes. Well congratulations man, you made it into my blog!
The remaining afternoon I spent by strolling to a mosque, in the end I’m not quite sure which mosque exactly it was, but these kind of mosks I already saw a lot in Xinjiang.
The courtyard of the mosque was remarkably beautiful though, since I could relax in the shadow of the grapes there, super nice.
In the evening I went to a barbecue place that was recommended by a friend. Not only the food was extraordinary good there, but also the people who worked there were super friendly, they even treated me free drinks and bread. Thank you!
The next morning I went down to the reception desk of my my hotel to check out and in order to ask how to get a taxi to the ruins of the ancient monastery, when suddenly I overhead a foreign middle-aged couple struggling to ask the receptionist desk how to find the swimming pool. The reception desk lady didn’t understand any English, so I helped out to solve the issue. I soon found out the couple was a German-Austrian couple and they were also planning to go to the ruins. They already booked a car to go there with an uighur tour guide. They asked me whether I wanna join for free and of course I agreed. I didn’t meet Germans (and German speaking people) now since several weeks.
We had a great time at the ruins and the best thing was, the local tour guide was also able to speak excellent German! How lucky I was!
The ruins were nice, but actually I’ve already seen so many ruins of ancient cities in China, that it failed to blow my mind. Anyway, it was nice to see and listen to the stories about it.
Afterwards we drove to an ancient beacon tower, that was used to warn the citizens from aggressor. It’s quite impressive that it remained there untouched for hundreds of years in the desert. The good condition of the tower is due to the fact that it seldomly rains there in 库车, so it’s still very well preserved.
The setting there was super beautiful, in the middle of the desert, even though it was unbelievably hot.
The next part of my travel will lead us even more south, to the atmospheric city Kashgar, close to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.