Central Asia is the heart of the Asian continent stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. Comprising five independent republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, it covers an area of nearly 4 million square kilometres and includes some of the most sparsely populated regions on earth. Its terrain varies from the vast grassy steppes of Kazakhstan in the north and the Aral Sea drainage basin in the south to desert regions, agricultural land and high mountain ranges.
With its medieval blue-domed cities, crowded bazaars and dramatic landscapes, Central Asia encapsulates the romance of the Silk Road like nowhere else and is home to some of the world’s most legendary cities - Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva - as well as the archaeological remains at Merv of one of the least-known civilisations.
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