Colorful doors break up the muddy walls. Flowers spill over the rooftops. Neatly placed bricks created the road. If you look close enough you may see the footsteps of Marco Polo. From the skies comes a very unique sound. Sounds of a string instrument and tambourine fill the air. A man bellows deep notes in a foreign language, letting me know that I am neither in China or any western country. Maybe the middle east. Looking up to follow the sound of the melodious rhythm, I see the most inviting balcony of all my travels. I’m looking up at the 100 Year Old Tea House.
First look at the balcony and I know that this is where I am going to spend the next undefined amount of time. What better place to escape the arid heat than this delightful cultural deck with amazing music and looking down on the street bazaars below. The town used to be filled with these tea houses that brought in men all over town and visitors to discuss anything and everything. Men would congregate over a few smokes, fresh bread, and of course tea.
On my particular visit, the porch was jammed with Uyghur’s also taking refuge from the heat enjoying the stiff breeze and the melodious songs of their ancestors. These folk songs are played on the Uyghur version of a guitar called the rawap, accompanied by the dap, their cowhide drum with metal rings to give it a rattle. Meanwhile, the inside is still bustling with activity as groups congregate on the carpeted steps to catch up on the local gossip. I spent close to three hours drinking a seemingly endless supply of tea, listening to amazing live music, and watching the buzz of the bazaar below.
Highly recommend stopping in this old tea house to beat the killer afternoon heat in the Kashgar old town. The music was going from at least 12:30, when I was lured in by it, until about 2:30. Tea will cost about 10 RMB per kettle, unless you want to try much fancier varieties for up to 50 RMB.