The region of Central Asia is often referred to as the “Stans.” That is because every country in this region ends with the Persian suffix of “-stan.”
The suffix literally means “land of.” As a region, Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan.
There are 6 republics found in this region when Afghanistan is included with the grouping. During the era of the Soviet Union, much of Central Asia was under its administrative control. During the early Islamic times, the region was primarily Iranian. At the same time, nomadic influences developed distinctive cultural identities and ethnicities. This has created a unique fusion of cultures that deserves to be explored.
Central Asia offers a varied geography to the visitor, which ranges from the high passes of Tian Shan to the hot sands of Taklamakan. The most unique aspect of this region’s geography, however, has to be the grassy steppes. Although the region is usually too dry for agricultural purposes, livestock thrive in the rural regions here, creating unique ranching opportunities.
Since the 1990s, when the countries of this region gained their independence, there has been a transition toward a market economy. At the same time, political pressures have created unique circumstances that can create certain challenges for visitors. When visiting Central Asia, it is often a good idea to work with local tour operators to ensure access to the best sites.
Central Asia may be a landlocked region, but its sphere of influence is global. As the region progresses toward modernization, even more opportunities will become available.
Below you find a list of countries belonging to the region known as Central Asia.