Introducing “stan” countries or what is Central Asia? 

If you ever wondered what is Central Asia and where it’s a mystery location, you are on the right page. Grab a world map and right at the core of Asian continent, you may find the region of Central Asia, rich in history and culture.

The mystery behind Central Asia

Its territory spreads from the well-known Caspian Sea in the west to western China in the east, extending from southern Russia on the north to the borders of Iran, and China on the south. The region has been historically connected with nomadic people and Great Silk Way. It has served as a crossroads for the movement of people and exchange of goods and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia and East Asia. Silk Road was a connection between Muslim lands and people of Europe, China, and India.

Central Asia
Central Asia. Silk Road. Kalpak-travel.com

Todays’ Central Asia consists of five former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, united by shared history becoming a part of Tsarist Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century later to be a part of Soviet Union in the 1920s.

It is also colloquially referred to as “the stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan“, meaning “land of” (Wikipedia)

As a result, today’s Central Asia is a culture pot of national identities that have been carefully cultivated through many centuries. It brings together different ethnic groups and nationalities which makes this region even more attractive to visit. Sit tight and keep reading cause we are going to have a closer look at each and every country.

Kazakhstan

The world’s largest landlocked and ninth-biggest country is the most economically advanced in the region mostly due to oil resources and other valuable minerals. A home to apples, tulips and domestication of horses among its wonders has a phenomenal lake called Balhash with two inseparable parts: salted and pure water. And it never mixes.

Astana, Kazakhstan
The marvellous capital of Astana. Photo credit: Andrei Pugach.

Kyrgyzstan

Famous for mountainous terrain, virgin nature places, and proud nomadic traditions. It’s an active network of homestays and visa-free access makes this country the gateway for travelling in Central Asia region.

Little amount of people know that walnut originally came from this country. Coming back from the battle, Alexander the Great ordered to gather local fruits, where one of them was a walnut. When they reached Greece, people tasted it and it became well known there. On the territory of Kyrgyzstan, you can find the biggest walnut forests, namely in Arslanbob valley.

Kyrgyzstan
Virgin Naryn river. Kyrgystan

Uzbekistan

Most populated and popular for travelling country of the region is the core of the culture.

Lonely planet features this country as the proud home to a spellbinding arsenal of architecture and ancient cities, all deeply infused with the bloody, fascinating history of the Silk Road.

Dinozzzaver / Shutterstock

Tajikistan

A cradle to several ancient cultures and empires is ruled by people of different faith and cultures, including wildly known Darius I and Alexander the Great.

93% percent of the smallest country of CA is up-land. Lake Iskanderkul in Fann Mountains is named after Alexander the Great. Iskander is the Persian pronunciation of Alexander, and kul means lake in Tajik. The main peculiarity is that the color of water always changes.

Western Pamir, Tajikistan © Michal Knitl |/Dreamstime.com

Turkmenistan

Have you ever known that citizens of Turkmenistan get free natural gas since 1993? That’s because the country possesses sixth largest natural gas resources.

Most of the country covered with dessert, namely Karakum (Black Sand) dessert, and oases. In Darvaza, in the middle of the dessert, you can witness the burning crater, also known as “The Gates of Hell”

“The Gates of Hell” Denis Grygoriev.

Blogger and traveler Georgii Krasnikov claims that Turkmenistani people are probably the happiest people.

Are you wondering, why haven’t you heard about these places and they are not on your list yet?! Here are some 2 known reasonable explanations provided by experts of Kalpak Travel:

REASON 1 CENTRAL ASIA AS PART OF THE USSR

Being a part of Soviet Union until 1991, the region was known to be closed to mass tourism. Different spots such as mountains of Pamir or Issyk-Kul, beautiful mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan, were popular among Soviet citizens for recreation. Silk Way remains attracted archeologists and scientists. But western tourists didn’t generally hear much about the region due to its position among the republics of Soviet Union. Five mentioned countries of Central Asia were behind the Iron Curtain. Only occasional tourists might want to dare and explore it.

Charyn canyon, Kazakhstan

REASON 2  NEW INDEPENDENT STATES SINCE 1991

The relative obscurity of the region too much of the world made young post-Soviet countries after gaining independence not prepared for tourism. And it’s not wildly known for tourism yet.

During all these years, local people were working in earnest to create pleasant travel destinations and improve service, while Westerns have identified the region as a tourist destination.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here