Kashgar or Kashi, is an oasis city in the Tarim Basin region of Southern Xinjiang. It is one of the westernmost cities of China, near the border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan. With a population of over 500,000, Kashgar has served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East and Europe for over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World.
At the convergence point of widely varying cultures and empires, Kashgar has been under the rule of the Chinese, Turkic, Mongol and Tibetan empires. The city has also been the site of a number of battles between various groups of people on the steppes.
Now administered as a county-level unit, Kashgar is the administrative center of Kashgar Prefecture, which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately 4 million as of 2010. The city itself has a population of 506,640, and its urban area covers 15 km², though its administrative area extends over 555 km². The city was made into a Special Economic Zone in 2010, the only city in western China with this distinction.
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