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Title: Yecheng  
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Subject: Li Baochen, Altishahr, Oases of China, Sanju Pass, Baixiang County
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Bronze coin of Roman Emperor Constantius II (337-361), found in Karghalik
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 葉城
Simplified Chinese 叶城
Han Dynasty name
Chinese 西夜
Alternate Han Dynasty name
Chinese 漂沙
Literal meaning Drifting Sands

Yecheng, Karghilik or Karghalik, also known as Chokkuka, is a city in Xinjiang, China. It is 249 km by road northwest to Kashgar, and 249 km south to Mazar.[1]

Yecheng is the name of both the oasis and the town, and is situated on the southern rim of the Taklamakan desert is about halfway between Pishan and Yarkand on the southern route around the Tarim Basin. It is about 50 km north of Kokyar,[2] The rich loess terraces of the oasis are watered by the Tiznaf river and several smaller streams. They are joined to the north by a belt of cultivated land stretching about 40 km from the town of Yecheng to the Yarkand River.

The population were presumably converted to Islam soon after the new religion arrived in the Tarim Basin about 1006 CE.

In earlier times it was important as the usual starting-point for caravans to India, through the Pamirs, via Tashkurghan, or through Ladakh by the Karakoram passes.

Kargalik held a large number of foreign slaves who integrated into the Chinese state. After being freed, many slaves such as Gilgitis in Xinjiang cities like Tashkurgan, Yarkand, and Karghallik, stayed rather than return Hunza in Gilgit. Most of these slaves were women who married local slave and non slave men and had children with them. Sometimes the women were married to their masters, other slaves, or free men who were not their masters. There were ten slave men to slave women married couples, and 15 master slave women couples, with several other non master free men married to slave women. Both slave and free Turki and Chinese men fathered children with Hunza slave women. A freeman, Khas Muhammad, was married with 2 children to a woman slave named Daulat, aged 24. A Gilgiti slave woman aged 26, Makhmal, was married to a Chinese slave man, Allah Vardi and had 3 children with him.[3]

Today there is a small town with a market, some shops and a bank. The Yecheng oasis is one of 11 counties, known as the Kargilik County, included in the Kashgar Prefecture. Large-scale irrigation has transformed huge areas of desert into productive agricultural land. Yecheng is the main centre for Chinese immigration into western Xinjiang and it has become quite a large, sprawling town.[1]


Yecheng is served by China National Highways 219, 315 and the Kashgar-Hotan Railway.


  1. ^ a b Dorje (2009), p. 453.
  2. ^ Hill (2009), p. 196.
  3. ^


  • Dorje, Gyurme (2009). Tibet Handbook. 4th Edition. Footprint, Bath, England. ISBN 978-1-906098-32-2.
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [1]
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  • Mallory, J. P. and Mair, Victor H. 2000. The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. Thames & Hudson. London. 2000.
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1907. Ancient Khotan: Detailed report of archaeological explorations in Chinese Turkestan, 2 vols. Clarendon Press. Oxford. [2]
  • Watters, Thomas 1904-1905. On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India. London. Royal Asiatic Society. Reprint: Delhi. Mushiram Manoharlal. 1973.

External links

  • Satellite image of region which can be enlarged
  • Map of Yecheng
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