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Surprising Central Asia: A Themed Collection of Images

Themed Collections

20 March 2018

Posted by Philip Mowbray

The region of Central Asia, often known colloquially as the 'Stans', comprises the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and is considered to be one one of the last-remaining truly adventurous travel destinations on the planet. For many, conjuring up an image of Central Asia brings to mind desolate landscapes with harsh and unforgiving seasons or scrupulous communities living under some of the world's last true dictatorships. Whilst this remains largely true in many ways (and especially the latter), the reputation of this former-Soviet bloc of countries is somewhat undeserved: the region offers so much more. 

Central Asia is a land of surprises; as well as the vast expanse of yellow-coloured steppe which makes up the great Kazakh and Uzbek plains, the region is also home to some of the most lush and untouched mountain ranges found on Planet Earth, flourishing with nature. You'll also find unexpected cosmopolitanism in some of the region's largest cities; with groundbreaking and pioneering architecture nestled alongside traditional nomadic dwellings and friendly hospitable locals. And speaking of tradition, let's not forget Central Asia is home to some of the finest and most iconic Islamic art the world has to offer, by way of the network of ancient Silk Road cities, including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

The majority of the 'Stans' over the last few years have also significantly eased their entry requirements for travelers; making this fascinating region more accessible than ever before. Don't be fooled, however, Central Asia is still a highly challenging area to traverse, but the rewards for those intrepid travelers are truly worth it.  Don't believe us? Just take a look at our themed collection of images. 🇰🇿 🇰🇬 🇹🇯 🇹🇲 🇺🇿

A rain storm approaches a yurt camp at Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan

A rain storm approaches a yurt camp at Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan Read less

by Chris Rohner View Store

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The infamous Pamir Highway as it heads out of Khorog, Tajikistan, east towards the Chinese border.

The infamous Pamir Highway as it heads out of Khorog, Tajikistan, east towards the Chinese border. Read less

by Jamie Lafferty

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The panorama of mountain landscape of Ala-Archa gorge in the summer's day, Kyrgyzstan.

The panorama of mountain landscape of Ala-Archa gorge in the summer's day, Kyrgyzstan. Read less

by Mariusz Prusaczyk

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Burning gas in Turkmenistan

Burning gas in Turkmenistan Read less

by kapelki

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Road to Song Kol Lake, Parrot Pass, Naryn province, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Asia

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People of Kyrgyzstan living in the highland.

People of Kyrgyzstan living in the highland. Read less

by Abd Halim Hadi

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Mountain lake in Kazakhstan

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Horseriders cross the plains of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia in the Tian Shan mountain region. August 2008

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by Kathryn Miller

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Horseman riding in Kurumduk valley, Naryn province, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Asia

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A herd of camels rests on the shores of Song Kol in central Kyrgyzstan

A herd of camels rests on the shores of Song Kol in central Kyrgyzstan Read less

by Chris Rohner View Store

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this guy rode the horse like it was his own limb, effortless

this guy rode the horse like it was his own limb, effortless Read less

by Sarah Hardy View Store

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Itchan Kala, the walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan.

Itchan Kala, the walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan. Read less

by Anton_Ivanov

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One morning in Bibi Khanum, Samarqand, Uzbekistan

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by Mazlim

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Tomb of Amir Timur in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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by Ben

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The Kalyan Mosque is considered one of the most ancient in Middle Asia.

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by Martin Probert

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Local male pushes a cart through the backstreets of Bukhara

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by Martin Probert

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Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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Ornate door of one of the mausoleums at Shah i Zinda, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

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by Catriona Gray

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Lady in doorway of Mausoleum

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by Steve

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Baiterek Tower, Astana, Kazakhstan

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by Eric Lafforgue

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Goosestepping at Arch of Neutrality, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

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A wedding procession hrough the monuments and alleys of the Kunya Ark citadel in Khiva.

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by Martin Probert

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Tajik girl playing in old cars wrecks, Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region, Khorog, Tajikistan

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by Eric Lafforgue

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A stack of water melons for sale, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

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Beautiful vivid oriental market with bags full of various spices in Osh Kyrgyzstan.

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BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN - SEPTEMBER 27, 2015 : Woman selling Asian style bread in local market.

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN - SEPTEMBER 27, 2015 : Woman selling Asian style bread in local market. Read less

by Mariusz Prusaczyk

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Turkmenistan's 20th independence day celebrations

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Turkmen students celebrating the harvest in an official event near Ashgabat.

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An old Turkmen man talking to his friends

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