Positioned between China and the Middle East, Central Asia has become a crossroad for much of civilization and human history. The country is best known for its five central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. These five Central Asian Countries have gained popularity as being the primary artery of Ancient Silk road trade routes. It connects the old civilization to the west and east.
The Central Asia region was more than only a connector between Europe and China. Central Asia’s flourishing culture and remarkable history attract many visitors every year. When you step into Central Asia, you will see beautiful mountains and places to visit. If you seek adventure, then you should visit Central Asia once.
Central Asia mainly consists of the five Central Asian Republics we mentioned already. To know the true history of Central Asia, we need to start from the beginning. We need to talk about all the Central Asian leaders back then. At the beginning of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to include Kazakhstan in Muslim Central Asia. The former Soviet Republics said that Kazakhstan shares similarities with Siberia and Russia. However, today Kazakhstan has become a vast part of Central Asia.
Ashgabat and Tashkent, the capitals of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, contain long urban histories. But, later, Bolsheviks created three other capital cities, including Almaty, Dushanbe, and Bishkek. So, you can see a tremendous Russian influence in the past due to the supremacy of the Soviet Union. The major innovation that took place in the Central Asia area was the invention of the wheel. Most of the Central Asians were nomadic back then in history.
Before you travel to the iconic Central Asian States, you must know some facts about the region, right? Therefore, we have listed some interesting facts to help you know the region better.
When visiting Central Asian countries, you will learn more about the Central Asian region. So, for that, you need to explore the hidden gems from different Central Asian countries. So, it’s time to pack your bags to uncover the history and find amazing facts about this region.
Are you looking for the top countries to explore in Central Asia? Below, you can find a piece of brief information about the same.
Currency: Armenia dram (AMD)
International Airport: Zvartnots International Airport.
Do you want to explore the best part of Central Asia? If yes, then you must visit Armenia. This country in Asia is a former Soviet republic. Officially it is known as the Republic of Armenia. Have you heard of the Caucasus region? Armenia is a part of that region. It sprawls over 11,484 sq mi and has a population of approximately 3,000,756 people. People prefer to visit this country because it has a great history, culture, cuisines, and landscapes.
Currency: Azerbaijani Manat (AZN)
International Airport: Heydar Aliyev International Airport.
In the long list of Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan is quite popular among tourists. Officially, it is regarded as the Republic of Azerbaijan and spreads over 33,400 sq mi. This country located on the boundary of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. This country is famous for mulberry groves, vineyards, mountain ranges, and popular attractions.
Currency: Georgian Lari (GEL)
International Airport: Tbilisi International Airport.
Central Asian countries also count Georgia at the intersection of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The country shares a boundary with Russia in the west and Armenia in the south. Do you know what the official language of the country is? It is Georgian, and another recognized language in the country is Abkhaz. The country is famous for its hospitality, peaches, the birthplace of Martin Luther King, and popular attractions.
Currency: Kazakhstani tenge (KZT)
International Airport: Almaty International Airport.
Kazakhstan is a Central Asian country officially regarded as the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is a dominating region of Central Asia in terms of politics and economics. Do you know what makes Kazakhstan so popular? The Caspian Sea, architectural marvels, lakes, and other stuff make the country famous among tourists.
Currency: Kyrgyzstani Som (KGS)
International Airport: Manas International Airport.
Home to alpine meadows, deserts, glaciers, and mountains, Kyrgyzstan is a well-known country full of pristine beauty. However, the best part of visiting Kyrgyzstan is that it offers much more than landscape pieces. If you want to come close to nature, this is the place you should visit. Another best part of visiting this place is its native people. They still follow nomadic tradition and offer great hospitality to all visitors.
Currency: Tajikistani tenge (KZT)
International Airport: Almaty International Airport.
Untouched and unrivaled, Tajikistan is among the oddly-shaped landlocked countries. It lies between China to the east, Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, and Kyrgyzstan to the north. This country grabs visitors’ attention with its natural beauty and beautiful mountains. Moreover, it has gained popularity because it offers several beautiful lakes. So, this is heaven for nature lovers.
Currency: Turkmenistan Manat (TMT)
International Airport: Ashgabat International Airport.
Turkmenistan is an ancient land full of rich traditions, great spirituality, and natural beauty. Though, the strict law of the Central Asian Governments may discourage visitors. However, you can still access many places in this country. The country is mainly known for the Karakum desert, but it offers a lot. On top of it, the hospitality you will get from the natives ensures you return to the place again.
Currency: Uzbekistani Som
International Airport: Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport.
Uzbekistan is another beautiful country that is rich in history and culture. It offers several locations for visitors to explore. The rugged terrains and architectural wonders attract visitors every year to the city. So, it is a great place to visit in Central Asia.
Generally, the weather in Central Asia is hot and humid. So, the best time to visit the Central Asian area is autumn or spring. During this time, the weather feels very comfortable, and you can get affordable tickets. On the other hand, summers are scorching in Western Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
But, if you wish to go to a mountainous region, summer is the best time to travel. On the other hand, winters are pretty cold, especially in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Though, you can visit Turkmenistan in winter. You can visit all the places during spring as the temperature feels excellent, and the roads will be in great condition.
Are you searching for the hidden gems and historical sites of Central Asia? Below, we have mentioned some places you must visit once to see the natural beauty of nature.
It is a remarkable destination that you can explore when you are in Tajikistan. It is almost 100 km away from Dushanbe. You will find mountains around this beautiful valley. It would be best if you choose a bike to get there. The native people will provide you with great hospitality.
If you wish to get away from the hustle of city life, then Song Kol is the right place. This place is a true example of nature’s beauty where you can go camping with your friends. The main attraction of this place is the alpine lake. In addition, you can stay with the local people and participate in their local games.
This place is appropriate for people who are outdoor swimmers and nature lovers. The waterfall lies in Butakova Valley, Kazakhstan. The best thing about the place is it is a year-round destination. However, if you visit this place in winter, you will see the fall freeze.
It is one of the great historical sites in Uzbekistan. The structure of Elliq Quala rose from sand many years ago. The two famous fortresses that you must visit are Ayaz Qala and Toprak Qala. So, this place is a must-visit site for history buffs.
The Charyan or Yangykala Canyon is the most famous canyon that you can explore when in Central Asia. It is a natural wonder consisting of bands of red, yellow, and pink rock. Visitors can see the rising plateau from miles away. It is a hidden destination that you can explore when in Turkmenistan.
If you never tasted any of Central Asian cuisine, then you are missing out on the fantastic flavors. So, whenever you visit this region, make sure to taste its popular food items. However, the story of Central Asian cuisine is very diverse and complex. It is so because this whole region is a crossroad of several regions. However, here is a list of some tasty food items you should try in Central Asia.
Lagman: It is mainly a soup with lamb or beef, pulled noodles, and lots of vegetables. This specific item is mainly popular in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Dungan, Uyghur, etc. People serve the dish with chilly sauces, chopped onion, minced garlic, and cilantro.
Manti: It is mainly a Turkish dish that is very popular in Central Asia. People make Manti using all-purpose flour, parsley, onion, beef, pepper, and salt. It is mainly a tiny-sized dumpling that you can have with brown butter sauce, tomato sauce, and garlic yogurt sauce. If you wish to try something authentic food item, then Manti is the dish.
Plov: Plov is another favorite food item that you can try when you are in Central Asia. However, Plov came from the Middle Eastern and Indian traditions of rice pilaf. Cumin and long-grain rice are the main ingredients of this dish. Lamb is traditional, but some prefer to have it with pork or beef. It is a fantastic one-pot meal that contains vegetables, grain, and protein.
Russian Carrot Salad: Carrot salad is one of the interesting Central Asian cuisines. The fresh, sweet, and tangy flavor will make your day. The Koreans from Russia, who migrated to Uzbekistan, first introduced this dish. People marinate the carrot with vinegar, garlic, cayenne, and coriander. The mixed flavor will intensify when they marinate the carrot for at least 24 hours.
Chorba: Chorba is also a soup that contains tomato and lamb. It is a Turkmenistan delicacy that includes chickpeas and freekeh. People serve this item with pieces of toasted bread and chopped onions. However, you should try this food once in Central Asia.
Borscht: It is one of the most popular food items in Russian and Central Asian Countries. This food item has a filling of pork or beef broth. In addition, it contains rich vegetables like beetroot, carrots, and potatoes. People serve this item with dark bread and a spoonful of sour cream.
These are some of the most famous food items in the Central Asian region. But, apart from them, you will find several delicious street foods such as Lagman, Samsa, Sashlik, Baursak, Oromo, Funchoza, and others.
Before you travel to Central Asian countries, you must keep a few things in mind.
You must note that the weather of a specific place matters a lot when traveling. It is crucial to know about the climate because we pack our bags according to the weather. Otherwise, you may encounter several problems during the journey. Also, you may not know, but climate change can affect the overall budget of your trip. So, make sure to select a season when the places of Central Asia do not receive many travelers. In this way, you can save money.
You can safely reach Central Asia through railways, airways, and roadways. Every transport is available in the different countries of Central Asia. However, select the mode of transportation wisely, as it will affect your budget. Therefore, while traveling, you must gather details about several modes of transportation to select the one that comes under your budget.
One of the best forms of transport is minivans if you want to cover medium-distance. This mode of conveyance is also the cheapest in Central Asia. A tremendous amount of local transport is taxis. So, you can easily travel around several countries using taxis. Cycling and motorbiking are other options to get around the cities.
Over decades, the countries of Central Asia have been on the list of many travelers as the best-emerging destination. This is because central Asian countries offer a wide range of places to offer a great experience. However, preparation is the key before you travel to a different country. So, before you plan a trip, you should know every necessary detail of the city. We hope that this guide will be helpful for you to make your trip worthwhile.