Archives Февраль 2018

Central Asia

Central Asia

Central Asia, central region of Asia, extending from the Caspian Sea in the west to the border of western China in the east. It is bounded on the north by Russia and on the south by Iran, Afghanistan, and China. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.Central Asia’s landscape can be divided into the vast grassy steppes of Kazakhstan in the north and the Aral Sea drainage basin in the south. About 60 percent of the region consists of desert land, the principal deserts being the Karakum, occupying most of Turkmenistan, and the Kyzylkum, covering much of western Uzbekistan.

Most of the desert areas are unsuitable for agricultural use except along the margins of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya river systems, which wind their way northwestward through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and eastern Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan after rising in mountain ranges to the south and east. Those two major rivers drain into the Aral Sea and provide most of the region’s water resources, though northern Kazakhstan is drained by rivers flowing north into Russia. On the east and south Central Asia is bounded by the western Altai and other high mountain ranges extending into Iran, Afghanistan, and western China.

As part of the Soviet Union until 1991, the region was generally closed to mass tourism. Popular among Russian alpinists and explorers, Central Asia had the highest mountain peaks in the Soviet Union. Issyk-Kul, the enormous mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan, was a popular destination for beach holidays among Soviet citizens. Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan attracted archeologists and scientists. But western tourists did not hear much from the region because of its position among the republics of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were just one of the Soviet countries behind the Iron Curtain. There was only the occasional tourist – rare and daring – who would explore, experience and maybe write about Central Asia Tour.

There is another reason that Central Asia has taken so long to appear on the world scene: the decline of the Silk Road. Throughout its history, Central Asia has not been a single distinct political entity with defined borders. Rather, the region has been a crossroad of different cultures, home to nomads who were born to move from one place to another. The Silk Road was a trade route that enabled nomadic people to transport goods – and ideas – across the region over an interconnected matrix of roadways.

Central Asia, Silk Road

Trade was possible as people settled in cities along the route and established bazaars with countless goods for exchange between sellers and buyers. Several main routes of the Silk Road – and many more interconnections – traversed the territory of Central Asia. With the golden age of the Silk Road, the region flourished until the sixteenth century. Central Asia

After, alternate trade routes were established – faster sea routes from Europe to India and China. The region became unstable as many Silk Road empires simply ceased to exist, and clan-based kingdoms rose and fell until the twentieth century.Central Asia bazaar

Each country in Central Asia has maintained a strong national identity, and each country seeks to bring to bear its own historical significance on the continued development of the region. There have been varying definitions of Central Asia throughout the ages based on historical connections, geographical borders, and cultural peculiarities. Let’s discover in which context you might come to know Central Asia.Central Asia landscape

The modern idea of Central Asia as a region was introduced by famous Prussian geographer, Alexander von Humboldt, in 1843. His definition included Afghanistan and Western China because of the geographical connections and cultural interrelations. But the prolonged conflict throughout the 1800s between England and Tsarist Russia over control of the region, called The Great Game, resulted in the 1895 division of the territory of the Pamir mountain area, overseen by the Pamir Boundary Commission. The political annexation of the territory resulted in the population of the Pamir mountain area to be split between Afghanistan to the south and Tajikistan to the north. To this day, there are still Tajiks living in Afghanistan as a minority. But the territorial division split more than just the land. Afghanistan today is completely different – not related culturally, economically, or politically – to Central Asia, and Kashgar, in Western China, looks more Central Asian than the rest of China.

The Pamir Mountain

The Pamir Mountain

Pamirs, also called Pamir “The Roof Of The World”, highland region of Central Asia. The Pamir mountain area centres on the nodal orogenic uplift known as the Pamir Knot, from which several south-central Asian mountain ranges radiate, including the Hindu Kush, the Karakoram Range, the Kunlun Mountains, and the Tien Shan. Most of the Pamirs lie within Tajikistan, but the fringes penetrate Afghanistan, China, and Kyrgyzstan. The core of the Pamirs is in the highlands of Tajikistan, with the highest mountains in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous oblast (province).

The Pamir Mountain
The Pamir Mountain range is part of the Western Himalaya and features several peaks over 7000m. The terrain is diverse from towering peaks to high altitude desert plains and climate conditions can vary from +35C to -40C depending upon the time of year. The Pamir Highway follows paths forged long ago by the ancient Silk routes, when that precious commodity travelled from China to European and Arabian markets and traded goods returned in its stead. Legacies of those forgotten times can still be seen with cliff top fortresses and ancient caravanserais.
The highway winds over 2000km from Samarkand in Uzbekistan through Dushanbe (capital of Tajikistan) and the Pamir mountains to Osh in Kyrgyzstan and then on to Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan) through the Tien Shan mountain range.
The peoples of Central Asia hold hospitality as a value of great importance and travelers are warmly welcomed whether the visit is planned or otherwise!

The word pamir in the language of the region denotes the high undulating grasslands of the eastern portion of the mountains, especially where they abut Afghanistan and China. Deep river valleys mark the boundaries of the Pamirs in the north beyond the ridges of the Trans-Alai Range, and the valleys of the Vākhān region (Wakhan Corridor) of Afghanistan form the southern limit. The Sarykol pamir in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in western China bounds the eastern margin, and a series of southwestern-aligned valleys that eventually drain into the Vakhsh and Panj rivers serrate the western boundary.