To raise awareness of the destruction of historical Kashgar and to petition to protect what remains of the city. Please add your voice to our appeal: www.petitiononline.com/silkroad/petition.html

Kashgar is one of the most important oasis cities located on the northern route of the ancient Silk Road in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. Architect and historian George Michell described Kashgar as "the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in central Asia."

As much influenced by European, Islamic, and Persian cultures as Chinese, the city has been known to exist in this area since the Han Dynasty (ca. 202 B.C. – 221 A.D.). Today, it is still an important connection point on routes between China and northern Pakistan over and around the Taklamakan Desert.

Kashgar is a city that has been occupied by dozens of cultural groups, and influenced by countless more. The Uyghur culture is particularly tied to the site. The Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group, predating the advent of Islam, are one of China's largest ethnic minorities and Kashgar is considered to be the heart of their culture. “Here, Uighur culture is attached to those raw earth buildings. If they are torn down, the affiliated culture will be destroyed," said Wu Dianting, a professor of regional planning at Beijing Normal University's School of Geography, who did field research in Kashgar last year.

So far two-thirds of Kashgar has been demolished and over the next few years the destruction will reach up to 85% of the old city. The demolition is part of a government plan to relocate Uyghur residents from their earthquake susceptible homes to safer locations.

For more information on Kashgar and the Uighur Culture:

1. To discuss and spread the word about the demolition of this culturally significant site by the Chinese Government.

2. To demand a clear and definite plan for the preservation and protection of what remains of the city.

3. To create a greater awareness of the situation in Kashgar and other endangered heritage sites throughout the world.

4. www.petitiononline.com/silkroad/petition.html

5. Photos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/savekashgar