It may not be the most famous destination in the World, but Central Asia has a certain charm that makes it worth traveling to.
This region of the World was once an important part of the Silk Road, where the roads between Europe and Asia met, as well as a home to many nomadic tribes.
While it is not the wealthiest region on Earth, and its landscapes are rather rough, it is a very interesting spot on the map of the World.
It is formed by five former Soviet states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and lays between the Caspian Sea, China, Russia, and Afghanistan.
While 88% of the country is located in Asia, 12% is in fact in Europe. It borders five countries and has access to the world’s largest lake – the Caspian Sea.
The western and central parts of the country are lowlands. The northern part is occupied by the Turgay Plateau, cut by the alley of the Turgay Gate. On the eastern side are the isolated highlands and the mountains.
Due to its isolation in the heart of the continent, its climate is extremely continental, with extremely high variations of the temperatures between summer and winter, as well as day and night.
The main cities of the country are Astana, Almaty, and Karaganda.
Astana is the capital of the country. It is home to many important buildings, such as the National Philharmonic, various museums, theaters and other cultural centers. The main symbol of the city is the famous Bayterek tower. The city is the main industrial, cultural and scientific center of Kazakhstan with buildings such as the Academy of Sciences and numerous universities located inside of it.
Karaganda is home to the coal mining, machinery, chemical, and food industries. There are several higher education institutions in the city. University (established in 1972), medical university and polytechnic, as well as several research institutes, museums, theaters and botanic gardens.
Natural sights worth seeing while in Kazakhstan are definitely the Charyn Canyon and the Big Almaty Lake. Both are absolutely stunning.
It borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, but unlike Kazakhstan, it doesn’t have access to the sea.
Mountains occupy 93% of the territory of the state. Its highest peak is the Victory Peak at 7439 meters above sea level.
Located in the mountains of Tian Shan is also the largest lake of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk Kul, which is also the second largest mountain lake in the world. The main river of the country is Naryn.
The climate of the country is predominantly continental and dry. Some of the higher lying areas are covered with permafrost.
Kyrgyzstan offers amazing opportunities for anyone interested in trekking and camping, especially in the southern Osh.
The largest city and at the same time the capital of the country is Bishkek. It is a city full of wide boulevards and marble public buildings as well as residential blocks made in Soviet style.
Just like Kyrgyzstan, it has no access to the sea. And just like in the case of Kyrgyzstan, nearly all its surface is occupied by the mountains.
More than half of it is also above 3000 meters above the sea level. The main mountain ranges of the country are the Pamir Mountains and the Alay Mountains. They separate the country’s two main population centers – northern and southern.
Its climate is also very dry and extremely continental, and earthquakes occur here.
Among the most famous places in the country are definitely Pamir Highway and Lake Alexander.
The Pamir Highway, officially known as the M41, is perfect for all the adventure lovers who wish to try their driving skills in extreme conditions. While most of the road is paved, some mountains passes are not, and many of its parts were damaged by earthquakes, avalanches, and landslides.
Lake Alexander (known as Iskanderkul) is a mountain lake of glacial origin located in the Fann Mountains.It is absolutely stunning and worth
Turkmenistan is located between the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darya. The country stretches for 1110 km from east to west and 650 km from north to south.
Approximately 90% of the country is located in the Turan Plain. The territory of Turkmenistan is mostly covered by the Karakum desert, where the famous Door to Hell, natural gas crater lies.
The desert area is virtually uninhabited, and the settled areas are found mainly on the Kopet-Dag foothills in the south of the country and in the river valleys in the southeast.
The highest peak of Turkmenistan is Rize at an altitude of 2942 m.
Within the country, there are several depressions, of which the deepest is Akjagaýa (81 m below the sea surface).
Turkmenistan has an extreme continental climate, with the exception of the coastal areas of the Caspian Sea and the mountains. The average annual temperature ranges from 12 ° C to 17 ° C.
Definitely worth visiting is the capital of the country – Ashgabat. With white marble buildings and many national monuments, it is truly lovely. The Ruhy Mosque as well as the central Artogrul Gazi Mosque, modeled on Istanbul’s Blue Mosque complete the picture.
It is one of the two doubly landlocked countries in the world, which means that not only does it not have access to the sea, but also none of its neighbors are bordering the sea.
Uzbekistan is located between two great rivers – Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. Its surface is mostly flat. Only 20% of it is formed by mountains and foothills.
In the east and north-east of the country lies the Altai Mountains and Tian Shan mountains, where the highest peak of the country – Khazret Sultan is located. The central part of the country is occupied by the Turin Plain with the vast Kyzylkum desert, where a few oases and valleys of the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya can be spotted.
The continental climate is extremely dry, with warm winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures of up to 45 ° C.
One of the most beautiful places in Uzbekistan and the entire Central Asia is Samarkand, city known for its mosques and mausoleums. Most important landmarks of the city include the Registan plaza, and Gur-e-Amir, the towering tomb of Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire.
All of the countries listed above are unique in their own way, and despite not being as popular as many other destinations, they truly are worth your time.