The ancient city of Kashgar is the Western Gateway to China at the intersection of the Northern and Southern Silk Road Trade Route. The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is home to 47 ethnic groups, most notably the Uyghur Muslims.
In “The Travels of Marco Polo” he writes: Kashgar was once a kingdom, but now it is subject to the Great Khan (Kubla Khan), it has villages and towns in plenty. The biggest city, and the most splendid, is Kashgar.
On May 12, 2008 a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan, Sichuan Province. Over 87,000 people lost their lives; cities, towns and villages were destroyed. Should this happen in Kashgar an entire culture would be wiped out.
The Wenchuan earthquake was a wake-up call to the central government of China. Realizing that one of the world’s most historic cities stood in danger of total collapse if – and when – another major earthquake strikes, they began a 5-year, 1 billion dollar project to reinforce or reconstruct the entire ancient city of Kashgar. These homes and businesses are built entirely of un-reinforced adobe. Kashgar has been reduced to rubble almost every 100 years, and it has been 108 years since the last devastation occurred.
In “KASHGAR” we observe how these people live, work, worship and celebrate various aspects of Muslim culture. We talk with residents about the government plan, and with local government leaders, architects and historians about the plan to protect nearly 200,000 people from certain death.
“KASHGAR: PEARL OF THE SILK ROAD” was produced by US Plan B, inc. in cooperation with Viewpoint Productions in Beijing, and China Intercontinental Communications Center.
Directed and filmed in High Definition by Marc Curtis
Edited by Larry Frank
Music provided by Arken Abdulla