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With an area of 8,818 square meters (94,916 square feet), Erdaoqiao Market is the largest retail and wholesale market for ethnic minority goods in Xinjiang. It’s 135 meters (443 feet) long from west to east and 40 meters (131 feet) wide from north to south with Aiyuemanyuan Hotel in the south, Urumqi International Bazaar in the east and Hetian Jade Trading Center in the north, where the architecture complex is decorated in a traditional Uyghur style.
Erdaoqiao Market is a six-storied building. The first, the second and the third floors of Erdaoqiao Market serve as the commercial area, where the ethnic minoritymerchants solicit customersfrom all corners of the world with their unique handicrafts and local dried fruits.
The fourth floor is used as a comprehensive banqueting hall, where the traditional Xinjiang dishes such as Roast Whole Lamb and Boiled Lamb are served. The fifth and the sixth floors are used as offices, where banks and post offices are stationed for the convenience of the locals.
Erdaoqiao Market offers a mind-boggling array of goods, ranging from local dried fruits to expensive Hetian jade to rare antiques to ethnic clothes to Pakistan bronze wares and then to musical instruments.
The market also offers a good opportunity to practice your bargaining skills for all the goods are negotiable. For those who are not so keen on bargaining, then bargain huntingand jostling with the locals is reason enough to visit. The night scene at the market is especially interesting. The whole area is lit up with colorful lights creating a very impressive scene.
The market has a history of over 130 years with many transformations. It used to serve as a trading hub for goods from both Xinjiang and central Asia. In 1982, a covered market was opened, 330 meters (1,083 feet) long and covering an area of 6,756 square meters (72,721 square feet).
More than 660 stalls sell over 1,600 kinds of Uygur goods there and each day more than 20,000 people, including vendors, merchants, visitors and customers, make this place a part of their lives.In 2001, a new market, generally called New Erdaoqiao Market, was set up as an extension of the existing one.The new Erdaoqiao Market and the old market form a lively tourist and trading center in Urumqi.Now Erdaoqiao has turned into a place bustling with trade in foodsand handicrafts together with dancing and all sorts of activities.