Tajik People of Xinjiang: Picture of the Week

March 11 | 9 Comments

Three Tajik people of XinjiangTajik Trio

The Tajik people are one of the 56 official ethnic groups in China that primarily reside in Xinjiang. They have their own Autonomous County that borders Tajikistan near Kashgar and their nomadic population of 41,000 is majority Muslim. From the photographer 62lofu:

These are ethnically Tajik people, the girls were dressed-up to perform in a village dance, but many of the other villagers nipped home to dress-up just for the photos. If you look closely you can see that the man in the middle of the shot has clearly just put on his best shirt, you can still see the fresh fold lines in the cloth. And the hat is not an every-day hat, this one would be the equivalent of his Sunday-Best.

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Interesting Facts about the Tajik of Xinjiang:

  • According to the CIA, there are more Tajiks living in the US than in China.
  • Most Tajiks in Xinjiang speak the Sarikoli language, which oddly isn’t what is spoken in Tajikistan
  • If you’ve traveled the Karakoram Highway to Taxkorgan, you’ve probably met a lot of Tajik
  • Tajik, like the Uyghurs, don’t celebrate Spring Festival, they celebrate Nowruz.

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. I can't be for certain because I didn't take this picture, but the photographer seems to indicate that it is, in fact, a Tajik. Hopefully they can drop by and clarify.

    A lot of the minority groups here in Xinjiang do tend to have a European bone structure which might explain why this man's face looks so familiar to you.


  2. That's an area of Xinjiang I'd like to visit on my next trip. I also wouldn't mind visiting Tajikistan–I lived in Dushanbe's sister, Boulder, CO. They have a really cool Tajik tea house there.


  3. The name is confusing, but the Tajiks of Xinjiang are different than the Tajiks of Tajikistan. Sarikoli (and the other Pamiri languages lumped under "Tajik" in China) is an East Iranian language while Tajikistan Tajik is a West Iranian language very closely related to Persian.

    Evocative photo.


  4. Not surprising that the man in the middle has strong Caucasian features. Tajiks are related to Persians, fairest of Aryans. Persians in Iran had too much Arab admixture.


  5. sir, I am from India, can i travel through karakoram highway to kashgar, please let me know the visa details, I have visited china once
    but not to xinjiang
    suresh Babu


    Josh on June 14th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    You can, but only during the summer months. It will require a visa from both Pakistan and China, which you will need to get through the appropriate consulates in India.

    I hope you’re able to get all the paperwork for such a fun trip!


  6. Amazing they look so much apart from each other.
    I was going to say he looks Russian , but it’s in China not Tajikestan!