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Abakh Khoja Tomb 

Location: Kashgar, Xinjiang

Transportation: Bus service from Kashgar


The Tomb of Abakh Khoja, or the tomb of Xiangfei, which is more commonly referred among the Chinese, is the most magnificent tomb in Kashgar, filled with history and symbolism. The tomb is commonly known among Chinese as the Tomb of Xiangfei, a Qing Dynasty Uigur woman who was seized by the Qing and forced to marry the Qianlong Emperor. However, the tomb is actually the tomb of her grandfather Bakh Hoja and his family (including Xiangfei).


First built in 1640, all five generations of the family are buried within. There were 72 tombs until an earthquake destroyed some. The first generation buried here was Yusuf Hoja, a celebrated Islam missionary. After he died, his eldest son Apak Hoja died in 1693, buried here and his reputation was greater than his father's, so the tomb was renamed "Abakh Khoja Tomb".


Xiangfei, whose name means "Fragrant Concubine" is a great symbol to both the Uigur and Han peoples for different reasons. The Uigur see her as a Uigur herione and the Han people see her as heroine of anti-Qing and anti-feudal sentiment. Nevertheless, after Xiangfei died, which according to reports was a forced suicide ordered by the jealous Empress Dowager, her body was carried back to Abakh Hoja Tomb in Kashgar over a tedious three-year journey.


The buildings of the Hoja Tomb are large and mosque-like with most of the buildings colored with blue and white and topped with a green dome and small minarets. On the dome, there is a small minaret with a crescent symbol on the top. The tomb of Xiangfei herself lies on the northeast corner of the main tomb, with her name written in Chinese and Uigur. The tomb is covered with blue glazed bricks with beautiful patterns of blue flowers on a white background. It is the holiest place in Xinjiang and an architectural treasure. During the Korban Festival, many Muslims form all over Xinjiang make the pilgrimage to the tomb. The tomb, about 3 kilometers east of the city, is easily accessible by horse cart or bicycle.