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|Area||4,003,451 km2 (1,545,741 sq mi)|
|Density||16.6/km2 (43/sq mi)|
|Nominal GDP (2012)||$295.331 billion|
|GDP per capita (2012)||$6,044|
Central Asia or Middle Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It is also colloquially referred to as "the 'stans" (as the six countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of") and is within the scope of the wider Eurasian continent.
In modern contexts, all definitions of Central Asia include these five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan (pop. 17 million), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8.0 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), for a total population of about 66 million as of 2013–2014. Afghanistan (pop. 31.1 million) is also sometimes included.
Various definitions of Central Asia's exact composition exist, and not one definition is universally accepted. Despite this uncertainty in defining borders, the region does have some important overall characteristics. For one, Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road. As a result, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia.
During pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was a predominantly Iranian region that included the sedentary Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and Chorasmians, and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Parthians. The ancient sedentary population played an important role in the history of Central Asia. After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia also became the homeland for many Turkic peoples, including the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Uyghurs, and other extinct Turkic nations; Turkic languages largely replaced the Iranian languages spoken in the area. Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan.
millions of USD (2015)
GDP per capita
in USD (IMF 2015)
|HDI (2015)||Capital||Official languages|
|The capital and second largest city in Kazakhstan. After Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991, the city and the region were renamed Aqmola. The name was often translated as "White Tombstone", but actually means "Holy Place" or "Holy Shrine". The "White Tombstone" literal translation was too appropriate for many visitors to escape notice in almost all guide books and travel accounts. In 1994, the city was designated as the future capital of the newly independent country and again renamed to the present Astana after the capital was officially moved from Almaty in 1997.|
|It was the capital of Kazakhstan (and its predecessor, the Kazakh SSR) from 1929 to 1998. Despite losing its status as the capital, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan. It is a recognized financial center of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region.|
|The capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the administrative center of Chuy Region, which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the region, but rather a region-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.|
|The second largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Osh is also the administrative center of Osh Region, which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the region, but rather a region-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.|
|The capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means "Monday" in Tajik and Persian, and the name reflects the fact that the city grew on the site of a village that originally was a popular Monday marketplace.|
|The capital and largest city of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat is a relatively young city, growing out of a village of the same name established by Russians in 1818. It is not far from the site of Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthians, and it grew on the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala, which was first mentioned as a wine-producing village in the 2nd century BCE and was leveled by an earthquake in the 1st century BCE (a precursor of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake). Konjikala was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the Silk Road, and it flourished until its destruction by Mongols in the 13th century CE. After that, it survived as a small village until the Russians took over in the 19th century.|
|The nation's fifth-largest city and the capital of the Bukhara Region of Uzbekistan. Bukhara has been one of the main centers of Persian civilization from its early days in the 6th century BCE, and, since the 12th century CE, Turkic speakers gradually moved in. Its architecture and archaeological sites form one of the pillars of Central Asian history and art.|
|Kokand (Uzbek: Qo‘qon / Қўқон; Tajik: Хӯқанд; Persian: خوقند; Chagatai: خوقند; Russian: Коканд) is a city in Fergana Region in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southwestern edge of the Fergana Valley. It has a population of 192,500 (1999 census estimate). Kokand is 228 km southeast of Tashkent, 115 km west of Andijan, and 88 km west of Fergana. It is nicknamed "City of Winds", or sometimes "Town of the Boar".|
|The second largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of Samarqand Region. The city is most noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic center for scholarly study.|
|The capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the region were known as Chach. Tashkent started as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the Golestan Mountains. In ancient times, this area contained Beitian, probably the summer "capital" of the Kangju confederacy.|
|The capital and largest city of Afghanistan. The city of Kabul is thought to have been established between 2000 BCE and 1500 BCE. In the Rig Veda (composed between 1700–1100 BCE), the word Kubhā is mentioned, which appears to refer to the Kabul River.|
|The fourth largest city in Afghanistan and the capital of Balkh province, is linked by roads to Kabul in the southeast, Herat to the west and Uzbekistan to the north.|
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