• Fri. Jan 15th, 2021

Traveling in Kashi, I found a large broken house in the city center: Gaotai houses, living “ruins”


Jul 7, 2020 ,

While traveling in Kashi, Xinjiang, one day I was hanging out in the ancient city of Kashgar. After coming out of the east gate, I vaguely saw a tattered house standing on the huge square opposite the ancient city.

Looking closer, it was all broken walls.

Between the sky and the ground, it is like a huge abandoned building block, which is randomly piled up there.

Some of the “building blocks” have collapsed, exposing the “clothes not covering the body” wall. There are still houses that are patched. After repeated sewing, they can no longer see the original appearance.

The weeds around the house are unattended for a long time, they grow freely and savagely, and look from a distance, like a ruin in an oasis

I was a little puzzled at the time: this is the center of the city, how could there be such a broken building complex?

There is only one reason: it must not be an ordinary ruin.

A middle-aged Uyghur man told me the answer. This place is called Gaotai Dwellings. It is a “mini city” with a thousand-year history like the ancient city of Kashgar.

I made a big circle around this old ruin and found that every entrance was guarded.

According to the “warm tips” on the roadside sign, I learned that outsiders are not allowed to enter the building during renovations and dilapidated buildings.

Fortunately, it has not been abandoned.

Although I really wanted to go in, I had to abide by the regulations, so I gave up my intention to enter the Gaotai residential area.

Take a few pictures in a hurry.

I thought it was such a regrettable departure, but found a more interesting scenery

After a few days, I came to this place again to visit Uncle Turson, the “non-legacy” inheritor of Kashgar pottery.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that at the back door of the uncle’s workshop, there is a path leading to the Gaotai residential.

So, under the leadership of Uncle Tulson, we were lucky to enter the “city”.

The interior of the Gaotai residential building is even more shabby than I imagined. The random wiring of electrical wires and the unruly street layout have added many psychedelic colors to this old city.

To prevent the house from collapsing, people used wooden planks and wooden sticks to prop up the dangerous walls.

The broken glass windows reflected the blue sky, and the newly built brick wall struggled to tell people: the city is still alive.

The city is still alive, and it is inhabited.

Although the door is simple, the concealed wooden door and the high-flying five-star red flag firmly tell people that there is our home here.

At that time, it was evening, and the primary school students who had left school were playing around in the crumbling dangerous building.

A dim light was lit in the street shop, selling some cheap snacks that children liked.

The Uighur children in the shop helping their parents to see the store looked surprised when they saw a few of us outsiders.

Kashi is divided into old city and new city, and East Lake Park is almost the junction of the old and new cities.

Beside East Lake Park, Gaotai residential houses are like a “shadow”, reflecting the large commercial buildings in the new city.

There are two important points about Gaotai residential.

One is the intangible cultural heritage here: Kashi pottery skills.

Today, there are still several pottery workshops in Gaotai houses, some of which have been passed down for four or five hundred years.

The pottery they burned was closely related to the lives of the Uyghur people in the past years, witnessing a period of historical evolution and recording the changes in Kashgar’s life.

In addition, there is a river beneath Gaotai’s dwellings, where large reeds grow.

The reeds in the center of the city have not seen such a scene for many years.

In summer, the reeds are lush, and in autumn it turns golden.

After taking these photos, I haven’t been to Kashgar for a year, and I haven’t been to Xinjiang anymore. I don’t know what is the status of Gaotai’s residences. It is reported that this place has been protected and will become an important attraction in the future.

I also believe that as the most valuable piece of ruins in Kashgar, it will certainly “live” well.

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