Doors of Xinjiang: Photo Journal

April 25 | 2 Comments

When your home is made of mud-brick, sometimes it’s hard to decorate.

At least, that’s my theory when it comes to Uyghur homes in Xinjiang, China. It’s for that reason (I believe) that the locals in almost every town along the ancient Silk Road put a lot of time and thought into their doors.

That’s right. Their doors.

Perhaps you’ve noticed it during your own travels to Xinjiang, but I’ll admit that their beauty completely escaped me for the first couple years I traveled the region. But once I noticed one, I couldn’t stop looking for cool doors.

Below is a mix of my favorite Xinjiang doors that I ran across in Turpan, Kashgar, Urumqi…and pretty much anywhere else in Xinjiang.

A beautiful Uyghur-style door in Turpan, Xinjiang

 A door in Turpan within the Emin Minaret complex

A Uyghur wood door in Tuyoq Valley near Turpan, Xinjiang

My favorite door of all time in Turpan’s Tuyoq Valley

A Xinjiang door in the Uyghur part of Turpan

A door in the Uyghur part of Turpan city proper

An interesting painting on a Uyghur door in Turpan, Xinjiang

Another Turpan door. Can’t you tell from the painting?

An open door in Kashgar's Old City in Xinjiang

An open door in Kashgar. Beautiful woodwork!

Kashgar Old City padlocked door in Xinjiang

Nothing special, but this door in Kashgar’s Old City actually had nothing behind it. So why the padlock?

The door to a Kazakh Yurt near Karakul Lake in Xinjiang

Not the greatest photo, but I love the doors to Kazakh yurts!

About Josh Summers

Josh is the author of Xinjiang | A Traveler's Guide to Far West China, the most highly-reviewed and comprehensive travel guide on China's western region of Xinjiang. He lived, studied and run a business in Xinjiang, China for more than 10 years, earning recognition for his work from CCTV, BBC, Lonely Planet and many others.

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  1. Wow, the carvings on the wood doors are AMAZING! I hope these carpenters continue to have disciples, so they can keep this sort of artwork going for future generations.


  2. Hi There:

    These doors really show the amazing history of Uyghurs as crafts people.
    Maybe you can also add some of the older Han dwelling as well? A lot of them have Uyghur aspects as well due to cultural proximity. It would be interesting to see how Uyghur architecture influenced Han architecture in Xinjiang in older times.