Some Pictures of the ‘Stans

“Yes, I know, objectively, that there are things wrong with my country. But I was born here; my country is like my mother, and for that, I love her and do not count her faults.” — a friend from one of the ‘Stans.

Someone recently referred to my blog as “the high mountains of Turdistan,” and I thought, “Gosh, that’s awfully unfair to the ‘Stans. What did they ever do to warrant the comparison?”

So this is a post about the ‘Stans.

1. Kazakhstan:

Astana-Kazakhsta

Yeah, I bet you didn’t know that Kazakhstan is also Middle Earth.

The Kazakhs have some beautiful cities:

Scenes of Astana, Kazakhstan's capital
Scenes of Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital

And understand the art of dramatic lighting:

Almaty, Kazakhastan's biggest city
Almaty, Kazakhastan’s biggest city

astana-kazakhstan-polo-history

Even the Kazakh flag is awesome:

kz-lgflag

 

2. Kyrgyzstan:

Kyrgyzstan has got to be one of the most obscure countries in the world. It’s also one of the most isolated–it’s landlocked, the furthest landlocked country from the sea, and its rivers don’t even empty into the sea.

What it lacks in navigable rivers, it makes up for in mountains:

Kyrgyzstan's highest mountain
Kyrgyzstan’s highest mountain

khashka-su-mountains altyn-arashan-2 altyn-arashan-1 altyn-arashan

(Pictures from Trip Advisor’s Top 30 things to do in Kyrgyzstan.)

Also, the Kyrgyz people have some great yurts (I am a yurt fan):

800px-Киргизские_кибитки_на_реке_Чу

Unique mosque architecture:

dungan-mosque

And they hunt with eagles:

800px-Ishenbek_and_Berkut_scout_for_prey._(3968888530)

 

 

Tajikistan:

Tajikistan appears to be a country on the upswing. Their homicide rate has fallen from 7.6 (per 100,000) in 1997 to a mere 1.6 in 2011. The US’s was 4.7 in 2012. (Though I hear getting enough food is still an issue.)

They have some nice architecture and monuments, though they may be overspending on them:

1024px-Dushanbe_Presidential_Palace_01

800px-Somoni_monument

And yes, of course, they have mountains:

1024px-Tajik_mountains_edit

 

Turkmenistan:

800px-Darvasa_gas_crater_panorama

The Door to Hell.

 

Uzbekistan:

Uzbekistan has high-speed rail networks with shinkansen:

1024px-Hi-speed_trains_Afrosiyab_(Uzbekistan)

And they have some of the world’s loveliest subway and train stations:

1024px-Tashkent_Station

ph142_tashkentmetr 1-1 caption Tashkent_Metro_station_Lenin_square_stamp

 

Pakistan:

be2f8bd6-f8fe-11e3-aafd-12313d026081-large

All right, I’ll admit it: people who know better than I do claim that Pakistan is a “failed state.” Or as a friend put it, “You think you have issues with the Taliban? We have to live next door to them!”

Still, I hope things work out for the Pakistanis. Especially since they have nukes.

Plus, they have some nice university architecture:

Islamia College University in Peshawar, Pakistan
Islamia College University in Peshawar, Pakistan

 

Afghanistan:

Yes, the Afghan people know the problems their country face. They’ve been invaded by the Soviets, taken over by the Taliban, then invaded by the Americans, etc. etc. It’s still their country, and chances are they aren’t getting a new one, so they’ll take their pride where they can get it.

Of course, Afghanistan is the kind of place that historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists love. The area has a history going back perhaps 50,000 years, was part of the Indus Valley civilization–one of the first civilizations in the world–and has been a major cultural meeting point along the Silk Road for thousands of years.

Geography_of_Afghanistan

Buddhist Stupa in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan
Buddhist Stupa in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

The ruins at Mes Aynak go back at least 5,000 years, making the complex one of the most valuable currently-being-excavated locations in the world. Unfortunately, the whole place is slated for destruction via mining–if you’re interested in saving Mes Aynak, go here.

1024px-Mes_Aynak_overview_East_2

Nomads' tents in Badghis province, Afghanistan
Nomads’ tents in Badghis province, Afghanistan

Well, there you have it.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Some Pictures of the ‘Stans

  1. My, from some imposing trio (1st pic), the almighty Almaty, an unusual mosque.. etc..etc.. to the very door to Hell! Now I guess I have a pretty good idea what ‘Stans’ stand for: “Stunning!” ( 🍸 for the images)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s