The arcades and hanging houses common to the style owe their presence to tradition as well: Uygur inhabitants have resided here for generations, and for each successive wave of family a new story was added to the top of the old house. From the wide lanes anchoring Koziqiyabixi Neighborhood more than 50 small alleyways branch out.
On entering this cobweb of streets and lanes newcomers lose their sense of direction, but the pavements have a really simple and clever design that helps outsiders find their way out. They consist of two kinds of bricks: hexagon and strip. The roads paved with hexagon bricks lead to the outside, and the roads paved with strip bricks are blind alleys.
When a tourist walks along an alleyway in early morning, he will meet dustmen collecting garbage from door to door, Uygur students in school uniforms, or women wrapped in head scarves going shopping. In the eyes of the locals, the high rises several hundred meters away seem to have nothing to do with their life. The small alleyways are their world, and here life is slow and easy.
The East Lake Bridge opposite the hathpace residences is a tourist magnet when the sun goes down. In 2009, the Kashi municipal government dredged the East Lake and built a small island in the center of it. Now, the well-illuminated island has become a scenic destination. Standing on the bridge, one can take in a panoramic night view with strong contrasts. On one side is the traditional hathpace residences, the other a spectacle of the lake made possible by modern science and technology.
The Eidkah Mosque, known as “Lesser Mecca,” is a masterpiece of ancient Uygur architecture, and also one of the largest mosques in the country. It is the heart of ancient Kashi, concentrating the souls of Kashi inhabitants.
Every morning, Kashi is awakened by the Islamic call to prayer broadcast from loudspeakers. Soon after, inhabitants drift out of every alleyway to converge in the main street. People are calm, scurrying only to reach the mosque to practice their Islamic ritual. The mosque is open to tourists only after the prayers are finished.
The yellow brick Eidkah Mosque was built in 1442. It can accommodate 6,000 people on their knees and the minarets on both sides of the gate are 18 meters tall. In the courtyard, on a low platform is a flat-roofed house. Inside is the mosque’s main hall, its white wooden ceiling supported by 140 carved pale-green pillars. On the ceiling are more than ten sunken panels decorated with flower patterns, and the walls bear plaster relief sculptures. The floor is laden with luxurious carpets.