We’ve arrived in Xining, in Qinghai province, which sites on the outermost edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Historically, it served as a minor branch of the Silk Road, having been a regional trading centre since the sixteenth century. Much like Kunming, it is undergoing rapid development as it prepares to open up to more tourism.
The Silk Road’s influence on the city is quite evident in its feel as well as the people, many of whom are Muslim. We visited the DongGuan Great Mosque, originally built in 1378, which encloses a large public square where worshippers congregate. The architecture is a fascinating combination of Arabic and Chinese styles, with minarets and domes clashing with pagodas and Tibeten prayer wheels on the roofs, gifted by the monks of Labrang Monastery.